This post originally appeared on Facebook on Father’s Day 2017. I’ve modified it just a bit. Yes, thematically it’s at least a little similar to yesterday’s post.
My father loved to play golf. In his 20s and 30s he got out on the links as often as he could–he frequently reminded me about the time he played 54 holes in one day at Devou Park! Dad very much wanted to share his passion with me; I remember getting a small set of clubs when I was six or seven, and being taken out occasionally to play holes #1, 2, and 9 at Dix River Country Club just outside of Stanford. My game slowly advanced as I grew, and while I never got quite as good as Dad was in his prime, I’ve long enjoyed it. It’s something I’ve shared with Ben, though not nearly as often.
One of my favorite memories of golfing with Dad came in late June 90. He’d had a mild heart attack about fourteen months earlier and was still taking it a bit easy. I made a quick home-and-back-in-one-day trip from Illinois for his birthday. We had lunch on the Mike Fink, a riverboat restaurant on the Ohio. Later, he, Amy, and I got nine holes in at World of Golf in Florence. It was a gorgeous, rare, cool and low-humidity day for that time of year; it was simply so good to be out there with him.
A couple of years later I moved back to Kentucky. Dad more or less regained his previous strength and resumed somewhat regular play; the two of us got out two or three times a year. I now usually nipped him by a few strokes. As the years passed by, I have to confess that I would sometimes wonder while we were on the course if that would be the last round we shared. I actually don’t recall anything about whenever that final game together was. Eventually his shoulder just hurt too much to play anymore.
Somewhat toward the end of his playing days Dad did manage to have a hole-in-one. He was out by himself at World of Golf. Hole #6 isn’t very long, a little less than 100 yards. The green is slightly elevated from the tee box and when the pin is on the left side you can’t see the hole. There’s a sloped bank to the left of the green–if you pull your first shot into it, there’s a decent chance the ball will carom onto the putting surface. Well, Dad’s drive did go left, and because of the pin placement he couldn’t see what happened next. But when he walked up to find out, sure enough he found the ball in the cup. You can tell, no doubt, that he made sure to share all the details with me!
While cleaning out my parents’ townhouse after they both passed away, I found a golf ball with a receipt wrapped around it in a drawer of his dresser. It didn’t take much brainwork to figure out what it was. I keep it on top of my dresser now.
Love you always, Dad.