Golf has been with me since I was a child. Golf and family blended together and formed the man I am today. Golf will be a part of my life until the day that I die.
My first memory playing golf was at this short par 3 a few towns from where I lived. As a kid, the drive to the course felt incredibly far away as if it in the middle of nowhere. In reality it was maybe 20 minutes away. I was introduced to the game first by my grandfather. I played that first time with him and my uncle. I was young, about 5 or 6. I remember not having any idea of what I was doing. I knew I had to hit the ball and get it in the hole but the concept and depth of the game alluded my young mind.
I won’t lie to you, I was not in love with the sport since birth. I didn’t grow up with a club in my hand like Eldrick or Rory. Golf was a cool sport for me as a child but I was more into baseball, hockey, and football. These were sports I played more frequently and was better at. I was really bad at golf as a child and I hated the fact that the ball didn’t comply with my wishes like it did in other sports.
As I got older I continued to play a few times every summer with my Dad, and sometimes my uncles or my grandfather. I played golf with my Dad, my grandfather, and my younger brother on my Dad’s 40th birthday. I remember my younger brother skulled a shot while my poor old granddad was on the green going to his ball. He was paying attention but the ball came so quickly he wasn’t able to react in time. I remember seeing his leg a little bit later thinking he had swallowed the golf ball and it had come up underneath the skin on his shin.
My grandfather died when I was in the eighth grade. It was one of the first times in my life I had to deal with someone passing away, and it was amplified all the more by the fact that I grew up so incredibly close with my grandfather. He was the man who taught me how to play golf. He taught me how to mow the lawn. He taught me how to play poker. The man who taught me so much about life was gone and I didn’t understand it; one second he was here, the next second he was gone, and he wasn’t coming back.
I don’t even remember who gave it to me but some time after his death I ended up with his driver’s club head cover. The thing had to have been at least 40 years old. The sock was sewn with wool and the cover was a bulldog, eyes barely visible, hat on his head, smoking a cigar. It was such an incredibly unique cover, I always wondered how and where he got it from. From then on, every round I played, I was reminded of him when teeing off. It was a great way to remember my grandfather while playing the game we both love.
**Unfortunately, that club head cover was stolen from me along with all my clubs one week after arriving in San Diego. I have a similar club head cover now but I’ll never get back that original.
I love the game of golf because of the time I’ve spent with family and friends playing it. The game itself will always be a wave of gratifying and frustrating emotions. But the memories I have on the courses are always about the people I was with and the bonds formed there. I loved watching golf movies with my friends and family.
The last time I played Torrey Pines my family was out visiting on vacation from Boston. I played with my Dad and my younger brother just like on my Dad’s fortieth birthday all those years ago but without my grandfather. We were on the fourth hole on the South Course, which is about a 450 YD par 4 that rests right on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We were walking down the fairway towards our balls as the sun was beginning to set over the water, and a hawk came flying out of nowhere no more than 5 feet over our heads. My grandfather’s favorite bird was a hawk, and I couldn’t help but think that somehow he was there playing right along side us. That’s why I love golf.