Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. ~Marcel Proust
I am sitting out on the deck at the lodge where we vacation each summer. I never get tired of the view of the mountains, the smell of the pine trees, and the fresh air.
I grew up vacationing in Plumas County and my husband and I have carried the tradition along in our family, our boys making their first visit to the Feather River region as infants. It is the perfect place to hike, fish, swim, and play golf – all of which we typically do as a family.
Yesterday, my older son wanted to play golf. It was Father’s Day and my husband wanted to spend the afternoon relaxing in the hammock; my younger son wasn’t up to playing, so it was just the two of us.
The weather was perfect: the temperature hovered in the mid-eighties, the sky was a brilliant blue, dotted with huge, white, puffy clouds that changed ever-so-slightly in the breeze.
My son and I hadn’t played golf together in two years; he had become frustrated with his swing and deemed the sport “boring” but this year after having a great baseball season, he wanted to play.
He slid into the driver’s seat of the golf cart with confidence and ease. The first hole on the 9-hole course is a short par 3. I stepped up to the tee box with my 6-iron and took a practice swing before hitting the ball about 165 yards, landing perfectly in the middle of the fairway.
“Nice hit, Mom!” he exclaimed.
My son stepped into the tee box and took a few practice swings before setting up to his ball. My mouth dropped open as I watch him swing, hit, and place the ball a few feet of mine in the fairway.
“Wow! What a beautiful shot!” I told him.
He grinned, said thanks, and told me he had used his pitching wedge. He’s a power hitter.
We moved on to the second hole, a long par 5 that always cripples me psychologically: it doglegs to the right but right before that the fairway is very narrow and there is a small creek that divides the fairway and the short grass that leads to the green. I like to play it safe and lay up to the water, then pitch up toward the green, rather than try to clear the water, the bushes and the huge tree that stands in the way. My son had another amazing hit off the tee and on the fringe of the fairway.
As we drove along the course, my son and I enjoyed amicable conversation about golf, school, and life in general. We were relaxed and comfortable; there was no sulking from him, no nagging from me. It was pleasant.
My son seemed surprised at how well I was playing and as we drove along the course, I told him how, before he was born, my career allowed me to play golf several days a week with vendors and clients. I was fortunate enough to play courses like Pebble Beach, Poppy Hills, and Spyglass on a regular basis and I played when I traveled to Hawaii, Seattle, and Las Vegas for work. It had been a lot of fun and it seems crazy that it was part of my job.
“It must have been nice, Mom,” he said.
“Mmm hmm, but it’s not the same” I replied. I don’t think he heard my comment as he lined up his next shot.
It doesn’t matter; he’s too young to understand the joy I have playing a small 9-hole course with him. I look around: we don’t have a caddy, there isn’t a beverage cart roaming the pathway, nor are there 90-degree cart rules to follow. There aren’t any rakes because there aren’t any sand traps, nor is there a notice that shows the day’s pin position on the green. We’re not playing on a fancy course, Instead, we are on our own, determining pin placement, yards to the green, and following proper golf etiquette. It’s a team effort.
Although we kept score, it didn’t matter, it was the best round of golf I’ve ever enjoyed: bonding with my son, watching him swing the club, his graceful shots and just being with him, were far better than any golf outings I had ever played when I was working – and is what will bring me out to play with him again.