National Golf Day: Golf’s Impact On My Life

Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports /

My National Golf Day reminiscence has taken me deep into my soul as well as my memory.

I’m fairly new to this writing gig but I bet it will seldom be the case that any one assignment causes the soul searching and self reflection this National Golf Day piece has instigated. Defining the impact golf has had on me is an impossible definition for me to properly communicate. Impact is woefully inadequate in description of how significant the sport is, has been and will be in my life.

As I prepared myself to write this article I came to a reality about what all my life encompasses and what my life has directly and indirectly revolved around ever since I can remember. With all due respects to Christianity and Christians everywhere including myself, golf is my religion and golf is what fulfills and renews my spirit and soul.

I may well find myself having to answer for that statement someday. That’s OK. It’s the truth and besides that I bet if I offer God two a side he will forget I claimed that! Maybe.

I can tell you golf stories for days on end that were influential on me. There is one thats probably the most all encompassing.

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Let me provide some basic background information as a foundation to better understand why this moment and memory I’m about to share have played such a significant part in transforming a game my father introduced me to immediately upon my arrival to the significant and prevalent role the game now has in virtually every aspect of my life today.

My father was the greatest man I have or will know as well as my best friend. He has been gone 10 years now and even a decade later it is not uncommon for me to have a very tearful meltdown by merely passing our old home club as I drive down the Freeway that borders it on one side. My father was a highly successful business man, the very best card player and gambler around, and the worst golfer for a man that played 6 days a week in history.

To this day that is something I can’t explain. The man was a success at everything in life, but what really made him happy was winning 50 bucks on the golf course. It was irrelevant that for every 50 bucks won he probably lost $1000. Unless, of course, he wasn’t the one doing the playing.

I was10 or maybe 11 years old. The school secretary came over the intercom system requesting my presence in the school office. (I’m familiar with the procedure at this point and know it’s never anything good.) Much to my surprise my Dad was waiting for me when I arrive.

“Come on – I got somewhere I wanna take you,” is all he said.

My Dad had befriended two guys that at the time were on the Texas Tech Golf team. They both had a whole lot of golf game but not a lot of their own money. These two fellows had found a couple locals that made their living off Tech kids or anyone else with a set of clubs and cash in their pocket who thought they could beat them.

My old man wasn’t stupid. On a deal like this one he wasn’t willing to gamble but he didn’t mind investing. He had to have known he had the best of it or he wouldn’t have considered it. He was staking the Tech boys for half the action. He was also about to provide a truly all-inclusive golf lesson for his son that was damn sure more of impact on him than what was being taught in 4th grade that day.

We got in a cart and spent the afternoon following the match with Dad explaining to me all the way around the course what was going on. I was hooked from that day on. I wanted to be out there playing with my Dad following me. I already knew the Tech guys a little bit. Today they are both highly successful people. To this day they are two of my closest friends in the world and one of them became in fact my de-facto big brother-pseudo father after I lost the man who had that job first.

On a side note, maybe 20 years later I was the one being followed, playing against those same two guys. I watched my Dad and what became two of my best lifelong friends and their “investment” that day.

I’ve spent a lifetime around the sport of golf. I’ve played on some of the finest courses in the country and with and against some of the finest players there are. Golf was a bond that held my father and me together and will likely be what salvages a fractured relationship with me and my son.

Rather it be a physical lesson that leads to improved scores, or a life lesson such as what Sergio Garcia provided us all with in this year’s Masters, golf has impacted me more than any school, church, or any other type institution ever could.

Next: Dad, Tiger Woods, and Growing Up With the Game

I know a great deal about several topics. The golf course was and is ground zero for every bit of who I am and what I know. That’s way past something having an impact. I’d say when anything is interwoven in someone’s life to the extent golf is mine it makes it ones religion.