I woke this morning to several inches of snow on the ground. One of my first thoughts was about my father who passed away four years ago today. My next thought was the time Dad challenged me to a round of golf at Mill Creek Park golf course. Dad was an avid golfer who’s skill was at a level of a scratch. (A scratch golfer always shoots around par or better) My level was, well, let’s just say that I get my moneys worth.
In an attempt to lesson my beating I accepted his challenge but changed the terms of the game. Instead of playing the long hole course which was close to professional level play, I suggested the Mill Creek short hole course. My long ball is horrendous with my tee shot unpredictable. Once my first shot went awry and targeted the parking lot. Another time deep into the park woods. Even another time my ball smacked into a tree and came careening back towards me. I instinctively put my hand out and caught the ball, dropped it back on the grass and took another swing. Yes, my long ball was that bad.
My Dad agreed to the terms and we got in the car and went to the park. I parked the car and opened the trunk for Dad to get his clubs. i didn’t have clubs, I just rented the clubs at the sign up area. For short holes, you only needed a putter, a nine iron, and 7 iron. My Dad only selected his putter from his golf bag. I asked why only the putter. he replied that was all he needed to beat me.
We paid for 18 holes and I selected my clubs and the cashier asked my Dad if he needed any clubs. My Dad replied, nope, my putter will do. The cashier looked at him quite peculiar like and replied thank you back to him.
On the first hole Dad allowed me to go first. I used my 9 iron for the 90 yard or so hole. My swing was true and the ball stopped rolling about 20-25 feet from the pin. I smugly looked at Dad and said to beat that. Dad slowly walked to the tee, placed the ball on the grass, looked over at me and back to the back and swung away. The ball whizzed down the fairway barely traveling more than an inch or two above the grass. (I think I actually heard the whizzing of the ball) Several seconds later, the ball stopped about two feet from the pin. Dad just looked my way and began walking toward the pin.
It took me three putts to get the ball to drop while Dad tapped his in with one putt. Score for the first hole, Me a four, one over par, and Dad a two, one under par. For the rest of the game, Dad beat me at every hole. With. Only. His. Putter.
That was a long time ago but I still remember Dads smile, his laugh, his feel for the game, his zest for life. Dad said the key to golf was to have fun but play within your abilities. He also said that about life as well. I listened.
Rest In Peace Dad.
LURKING ON THE GRASSY KNOLL