Sunday, June 16, 2013

from a father on Father's Day

Unforgettable lessons                  Dad probably knew the answer. But I never asked, “Why did Mom take me to my first golf lesson?” Fifty years ago, it didn’t matter.

Neither did golf. That’s why I didn’t question being with my mother and Mac Main, the pro at Glen Oaks Golf Club, at the tee on a short par four.

“Swing this way,” said the sturdy Main as he hit a draw that landed less than twenty feet from the pin. That was most of the lesson. Although I was impressed, for more than fifteen years I never took another lesson. I had no reason to; I didn’t play again until years later when my Dad surprised me.

“Son, I want you to have this,” he said, as he handed me a share of Tuscarora Golf Club stock. “You can play whenever you want.”

I remember studying that certificate, considering how it connected me to a golf course my Dad had helped create.

“Maybe you’ll want to play with us on Sunday,” he added.

Even if I didn’t accept that particular invitation, I did many times after that. In fact, for decades I enjoyed teaming with Dad at Tuscarora. Whenever we played, even well into his late seventies, I never beat him.

I never could. In time, I realized I didn’t want to. Instead, I wanted to appreciate Dad’s joy as he played, his antics and camaraderie, his sincere encouragement whenever I hit the ball. What I enjoyed was the almost spiritual aspect to Dad’s game, his kinship that had nothing to do with who won or lost.

On this Father’s Day, I won’t play a round of golf. Although I may spend a few hours watching the U.S. Open Championship, I’ll spend more time thinking about the love of the game Dad taught me.

More than that, I’ll recall the love he shared, as if golf was just one expression of an affection so genuine that Father’s Day no longer comes without its profoundly embedded memories of him.

Today, tears of recollection serve as my tribute to him, my dearest Dad.

                                                B.Koplen  6/16/13
                                                       Father’s Day

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