Golf is a lot of things to our family. Golf is the first thing I heard about your mom when someone who was setting us up told me her family had a golf course they played league night at once a week. Golf is the thing that bonded us, since the test to her was whether or not we could play 18 holes together. Golf is all your mom knew growing up, and golf is at the heart of the best stories and experiences of her younger life.
Golf is not something that I was born into. Golf is not the first sport I fell in love with, and if you ask your grandma what my favorite sport would become when I grew up, golf is not something she’d have put at the top of that list. But golf is something I found that was all mine.
But just as golf is something that grows on you over the years, golf is something that grows inside of you as well. Golf is something that used to be boiled down to a score, a result, or a handicap number we use to compare ourselves to others. When you’re young, golf is a test of your character and a teacher of patience, persistence, and humility. But dig deeper, and golf is magical. Golf is spiritual. Golf is communal.
Golf is a collection of moments and memories that will live with you forever. Golf is a time machine. I’ve forgotten a lot about being young, but I can tell you about the 3-wood I hit into the green of the fifth hole that set up my first eagle at Kyber Run when I was a freshman in high school. I asked your grandpa to marry your mom on a golf course, and before he let me ask the question, all the while knowing what I was going to ask him, he asked me if I brought my clubs and if I wanted to play (I did, but I also had to go pick out a ring since I was playing hookie from work that day to surprise your mom).
Golf is what brought us to our house. Since your mom grew up on a golf course, her dream was to give you boys a life where you would too. Now, I doubt you can steal hot dogs and candy bars from the grill like your mom did growing up, but at least you’ll have access to golf and the driving range whenever you want it. We actually joined Kinsale briefly when Reagan was a newborn. I remember sitting in the grill room, seeing two kids roll up to the bar, order milkshakes on their parent’s account, and take off. I think I saw the dream that day, and I hope you two get to do that with your friends as you grow up.
Golf is connection and a preservation to nature. Golf is travel, a link to the past, and a window into the future. Golf is equal parts maddening, joyous, easy, the hardest thing in the world, meaningful, meaningless, and everything in between. Golf is the excitement of playing you boys in a scramble in ten years and the memory of playing your grandparents in one ten years ago. Golf is the dream of seeing your children grow up and learn the game that means so much to me.
Golf is funny. If you play it long enough, you’ll probably hear some of the funniest things from the most unlikely people. You’ll probably have a near-death experience with a friend who isn’t very good and shanks one off the hosel of his sand wedge right at your head. It will miss buy it’s something you’ll remember every time you see him. Golf is playing with two old guys, both named Jerry, and gut-laughing with your best friend about having played a round with the Jerry-atrics.
Golf is an escape. No matter what you have going on outside of golf, be it school, work, a fight with a girlfriend or spouse, when you stand over a shot, that is all there is. That shot into that green is the only thing that matters. Golf is not going to make your problems go away, but golf is going to remind you that it’s OK to exhale and take time away for yourself every so often.
Golf is that one shot, when everything comes together and your hands release at just the right time, then watching the ball rocket away from you just like you imagined. Once you feel that feeling for the first time, you will never be able to get it out of your head.
Golf is not something that everyone loves, and if you two decide you have other interests or passions, your mom and I will support and encourage you to do whatever it is that you love. But as you grow, golf is going to be something you’ll be around a lot, hear your mom and I talk about a lot, so you might as well just buy in and accept the fact that golf is just going to be a big part of who you are as well, for better or for worse.
Love you both.