Golfing With My Parents on July 4

On this July 4, it’s time to take a break from the World Cup, from free agency in both the NBA and NHL, and from the discussion of whether Stephen Strasburg should be in baseball’s all-star game.

Because July 4 is a day that families spend together, I’ve decided to post about the round of golf I played with my son and parents in Delaware. It was a six-hour (!) round of golf in a hot, humid, bug-infested environment.  But it was also an example of sport bringing together multiple family generations.

The golf wasn’t good. My dad shot 108, and he was at least 10 strokes better than me. I had given up scoring on the fourth hole, so I honestly don’t know my score.

The View from the Driving Range on July 4

I had some real Caddyshack moments on the course.  At first, I felt like we were at Bushwood Country Club itself when loud music blared from across the cove as I and my collared shirt grabbed golf balls from a well-formed pyramid on the driving range. Get the picture?

My son played like Judge Smails’ nephew Spaulding (Sorry, Caddyshack aficionados, that’s the only similarity). And my dad was a bit like Judge Smails himself, in that he’s a stickler for the rules and for fast play.

But, to be fair, the day was about the time we spent together.

It was about my son and his grandma riding in the same cart (she with lit Marlboro menthol in hand) and laughing as she explains what a FISH golf shot is (fuck it’s still here).

It was about my dad, just like a dad should,  telling me that it was ok when I plunked one in the water (never mind I’m 43 and didn’t really care about the lost ball).

It was about my mom, just like a mom should, telling me not to drink beer on the course because it dehydrated you (I drunk one anyway).

It was about my son, just like a 15-year-old should, actively and loudly washing his ball as his grandma tried to tee off.  His grandma said it was ok, and his grandpa took the opportunity explain golf etiquette, just like they each should.

And it was about the sneer my mom gave me when I asked if my son could drive the cart, which is against club rules, yet happily letting him drive a few holes later, just as a grandma should.

There was no family celebration over a hole-in-one or even a chip-in. There was no emotional hug on the 18th green. By the time my dad and I putted out on 18, my mom and son were safely in my folks’ air-conditioned house, having left after the 13th hole.

I left the course knowing that my son will remember this day with his grandparents, just as I remember a day driving the cart for my dad’s dad. And someday, when I play golf with him and his son or daughter, he’ll tell them about this day with fond memories.

He’ll probably compare me to my dad or my mom or both. I will probably deserve it. That will be fine with me.


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