My father taught me how to play the great game of golf for which I will be forever grateful (and my runner’s knees will be, too). When I was younger, my dad worked long hours – and still does – in order to save for his three kids’ college educations. If he had time off in the evenings or on the weekends, he loved to play golf. So in an effort to accumulate some valuable father-daughter time, I often accompanied him on those warm Minnesota summer evenings to the driving range.
At first, I wasn’t so into the sport. I don’t recall actually despising it, but I do remember being quite bored and whining to be taken home very often. My dad, determined to hit at least a full bucket of balls after a day’s work, usually sent me off on a “hunt” for tees. I delighted in finding the colorful ones. For some reason, they seemed to be worth more. On the weekends, we sometimes played a few holes before dark. He would play two balls, and I would scurry along behind him, brutally whacking away at a pink golf ball with a beat-up old putter.
At some point, I must have begun to like the game, because I ended up with a full set of clubs and a trip to junior golf camp. But my favorite golf outing was still a trip to the range with my dad and his best friend Buzzy (“Uncle Buzzy” to me). Over the years, I became more competitive in the sport, joined the high school team, and competed in the State tournament twice. The more I played, the more I realized just how lucky I was to have my dad as my “coach.” He wasn’t like the other dads who hovered over their daughters on the range critiquing every minute detail of their swing, or who lived vicariously through their daughter’s talent – often to the detriment of her game and her social life.
Eventually, I went on to play golf at Amherst College and continued as an assistant coach after graduation. Golf opened up a world of opportunity for me…It instilled in me a deep appreciation of the outdoors (the sights, smells, and sounds), walking, talking and making friends. Some of my best friends and biggest role models are golfers: Michelle Morgan, Steve Myhro, Meg Sullivan, my husband, Carolina Gonzalez, Buzzy Hermann, both of my grandfathers, and of course, my Dad. Happy Father’s Day, and thanks for teaching me the game.