While still in the last few weeks of the golf "off season" my mind wanders to golf people, places, and things that have influenced me. There are many that come to mind, but lately I've been thinking about my friend's Dad, Bob. Bob is what I would describe as the "classic golfer". He had his ‘regular guys' that he played with, was active in the leagues, had respect for the rules and the courses he played, and he wore his passion on his sleeve (literally, too - he had great golf clothes!). Bob was also one of those guys who could pull off the Greg Norman straw hat (now that's a classic golfer!). He didn't need the latest and greatest of everything, but he invested in clubs that would best suit his game. (He was the one who got me hooked on Callaway, his "go to" club was his Heavenwood.)
Before Bob retired and moved to Arizona, I saw him a lot at our golf course. I'm thinking now, we didn't golf enough together! But we had some fun rounds...I'm visualizing his swing...more "around" than "up", and an abbreviated follow-through - but it worked for him. When I worked at our local course he was great supporter and he encouraged others to support us, too. It meant a lot.
He was also a stickler for the rules and wasn't afraid to tell golfers to keep their carts on the paths or keep play moving (that was the educator in him!). He, like me, loved a great golf shot - it didn't matter who hit it - but he also let out his frustrations when execution didn't go as planned. He was a competitor, too, and he liked to win. If I had to guess, he was a high single digit handicap - his strengths were keeping the ball in play, a great bump and run shot, and a hot putter.
Bob had many other interests and activities to keep him busy, but golf was a true passion for him. He had his yearly golf trip with "the boys" (I loved the Myrtle Beach stories!), and I don't think there was a question that he and his wife would be moving to "warmer climates" when he was able to retire. Bob was one of the people that taught me that golf is more than just a game. And for that I will be forever grateful.
If what you've just read reminds you of someone you know, why not give them a call today and just thank them for being a great ambassador for golf, and better yet, set up a time to go play together. If this story reminds you of you, well then, THANK YOU for being you! And if you're wondering where you might find a great person like Bob, stop and take a look in the mirror - let Bob be an example to you to get out there and share the passion for golf with other people. Get involved in your club, invite a few new golfers to go play, or just make a commitment to get out with your buddies whenever you can.
Bob lost his battle with cancer just short of two years ago, and even though I miss him, I carry his passion with me and try to share it whenever I can. Golf is so much more than Tiger or Phil, Titleist or Ping, or acres of grass. Golf builds character, teaches and tests patience, rewards practice and skill, throws a little luck (good or bad) our way, and us gives the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of nature...and, most importantly, the beauty of friendships. I know life is busy, but it just can't be too busy for all of that. Bob embraced all that golf has to offer and he never took it for granted. I hope I continue to do the same thing. I hope you do, too.
Filed under: Easter, character, commitment, passion, Masters