It all started innocently enough. My son Chris called and said "Hey Dad, let me tell you a story" The innocuous nature of that simple phrase concealed the repercussions it would have on my life.
He went on to tell me the story; it was about a friend who wanted him to go play golf. My son is in the Navy, and he is stationed in Norfolk, VA. To my knowledge he had never been interested in golf. As the story was relayed to me, my son had borrowed a set of clubs that belonged to another friend who had transferred out of town and had left the clubs in my son's storage shed. When my son got to the golf course he grabbed a club and that's when he was reminded that his friend, and subsequently the borrowed golf clubs, were left handed. After a laugh and surviving the grief he took from his new golf buddy he went on to play, sharing his friend's clubs. And he loved it.
As we talked, he went on about each hole and each shot and how he needed to do this and his friend told him to do that. I think he told me he shot 120 something. But he was hooked. When we hung up he was talking about getting his own clubs.
Something else happened that day. As he told me about his first time out playing golf, I remembered my first golf outing. Much like his, it was on a lark. A neighbor asked me to go play. I went, club less and clueless. Using the clubhouse rental clubs I whacked my way around the Lake Junaluska Golf Club in eastern North Carolina. And I loved it. I went back a couple weeks later and played another round lowering my score by 10 strokes.
I knew I had to get my own set of golf clubs, and since the game had also tweaked my competitive side, I knew I needed to take some lessons to play my best. I had no dream of turning pro; I just wanted to play the game to the best of my ability. I was hooked.
The thing was, I had a young family to support on a working man's salary. I also knew that to play my best would cost more than my meager blue collared remunerations would support. Another trait of my personality is, if I can't do something well, as a rule I don't do it. It's a curse I know, but I really want to be able to do things to the best of my ability. Eventually, I threw out the golf magazines along with my thoughts of playing golf.
Fast forward 20+ years. 50 years old now, kids grown and out of the house and doing marginally better fiscally, the conversation with my son sparked an ember that had been smoldering in a deep dark place in my soul. It was an ember that had been suppressed so long that it was now suppressed largely out of habit. I asked myself what's to stop me from taking up the game now. The main reason I could think of was time, or lack thereof. But time was manageable.
My son and I talk several times a week when his duties allow. His conversation of late, and fine by me, always turned to golf and his last outing, his new clubs and his latest scores and the wedges he was thinking about purchasing. And in one conversation he said them, the words I knew he would eventually say, the words I secretly hoped he would say, "Hey Dad, you need to get a set of clubs so we can go play when I come home..."
I thought, ok, why not?
To be continued...