As the Masters wrapped up over the weekend, I decided to write about one one sport I am not good at, golf. Despite my lack of ability I enjoy watching the sport and playing mini golf.
Mini golf along with a few par 3 courses is all I have ever played. So I
am not really a golfer at all. I did take a team sports class in college where we played golf, tennis and badminton. Badminton was my best and I would say it was a toss up between golf and tennis as to which I worse at. Despite being a fairly good athlete (or at least I thought I was) I was not very coordinated with these sports for whatever reason.
That being said I have so many great family memories of mini and par 3 golf. My dad did not like to venture out much but this is one outing he would willing participate in. We would often go to the challenging but beautiful mini golf course at Pine Creek. Since I struggled with putting it was often a close match between my brother and dad for the best in the family. My mom was good at many things, sports was not one of them, but she always played as well.
I will note that scoring became questionable when my brother kept the score so maybe some of these matches were closer than the really should have been. It was always a fun family night out that often ended with a stop at Cream King for ice cream on the way home.
We also played par 3 golf a few times. One of our most memorable outings was from a par 3 course in Maine, located across the street from a restaurant we would always eat at ironically named Shain’s (pronounced the same as our son’s name but spelled differently.) We used to spend a week in Maine each summer and this dinner/golf outing became one of our annual outings.
My dad, brother and I still laugh and laugh at my mom’s infamous swing one summer. This was a par 3 course so while yes you need to swing and not just putt, you don’t need a full swing to reach the next hole.
We were on one of the back holes of the course and my mom does a full swing driving the ball all the way to the other side and out of the course into the parking lot. In addition to cracking up we were all like what are you doing? Why were you taking a full swing? Maybe mom was showing off because it was a rather decent drive, just not for a par 3 course. Another great family memory.
Another great golf memory comes from Father’s Day nine years ago. The US Open was being held at the Merion Golf Course outside Philly and my dad wanted to go as long as we go with him. That is what he wanted for Father’s Day. So Chris, my dad and I went to our first ever PGA event on Sunday, the final day of the tournament.
In order to see the 18th hole or any specific hole you would basically have to sit in the stands the entire time. We wanted to walk around and follow some of the leaders as the tournament went on.
We lucked out and got to stand along the ropes by the first tee and saw the second half of the golfers (the ones in contention) walk right by us as they were announced to tee off. It was great and so cool to see these golfers up close. We got to see Mickelson, Kuchar, Rose, Fowler, Poulter, Day to name a few.
We also got to see Tiger and Sergio (this was the year of the fried chicken comment) when we first got there as they were out of contention and already started play and ironically were paired together. (It’s easy to spot Tiger in his Sunday red.) They had a massive group of fans follow them to every hole as well as someone yelling out fried chicken every time Sergio teed off.
If you think golfers are out of shape (yes a few are) seeing them up close made me realize how cut a lot of them are. These guys work out a lot.
Another observation is there’s a lot of walking involved. We walked around most of the course and I was wiped out and sore when we leaving. These guys have to be in good shape just to walk the course and all the holes.
It was a close finish with Rose winning and edging Mickelson. We got caught in a brief downpour towards end of tournament. And despite being soaked, it was such a great day.
The chance to do this on Father’s Day made it extra special and that much more memorable. I liked golf and the PGA Tour but this made me really appreciate the skill and talent of these golfers as well as the unique etiquette of the sport. This was my dad’s first time at a PGA event and I’m glad I got to be there with him at my first PGA event too.
That summer Chris and I went to the LPGA ShopRite Classic in Galloway, NJ so we could see what a golf tournament was like before heading to the US Open later that summer. This event allowed much greater access than the PGA. We could stand fairly close to holes and got to see some of the women’s best players including Michelle Wie. Another great golf memory.
The beauty of mini golf is that people of any age can play. Chase loves mini golf and over the summer would go with Grandpa once a week to play. He did so well he won a free game on the 18th hole in his last summer outing with Grandpa this year. We also got to go mini golfing with Pops down the shore over Labor Day weekend. Shane and Reese also played that day and it was so great that both grandfathers have been able to share one of my favorite family traditions with my kids.
So for being a sport I’m not very good at and don’t play often, golf holds a lot of great memories for me and I look forward to continuing the tradition my dad started with me and my brother with my kids.