Golf’s a lot like life.
Take my friend Stan for instance. Last week we were completing a round of golf at The Valley in Tumwater and he turned to me, saying, “Joe, I know you like stories. I’ve got a good one for you.”
A friend for decades, Stan’s part of golf’s one percent club, that is he’s a low handicapper, a player 99% of all other golfers look up to.
Like his fellow obsessives, he’s constantly working on his game … he golfs when possible, practices when it’s not and seeks golf professionals for lessons on the practice tee from time to time.
He surprised me when his story started. It was intensely personal.
He told me about growing up under a tyrant, a blue collar father who drank too much and beat him up too often. He told me about how deeply he resented his father, and how much he’d suffered from bouts of clinical depression in adulthood.
He also told me about how golf had sustained him through some of his dark times. How it was a respite from the psychological burdens he carried, and a balm for wounds that never healed.
He went on to tell me about a recent trip he took to a spectacular resort in the Rockies, a place with world-class everything, including golf courses and an acclaimed teaching professional … who just happened to have a last minute opening.
Stan booked it immediately.
When the appointed hour arrived, the pro observed a just a few of Stan’s swings and stopped him. he asked, “Why are you so angry? You swings are angry, very angry man. Why’s that?”
The comment took Stan aback. “I don’t know,” he replied. “I guess it has something to do with my dad.”
“Yeah! That’s probably it!” he mused, and when, a few days later Stan paid a rare visit to his 92 year old father, he confronted him with the lesson tee lesson.
Hearing the story, his dad broke down right in front of Stan. He started to cry and to sob.
“I don’t know, son, I don’t know. I tried to be a good father, but I just couldn’t help it. I don’t know why I failed so badly, but I did … and I’ve been sorry about it for a long, long time.”
Tears started flowing in both directions with that.
Stan took a deep breath and looked the old guy straight in the eyes, “Dad,” he said slowly, pronouncing each word deliberately and clearly “I forgive you.”
That made his father cry even harder, but Stan had something else to say.
“Dad” he continued, eye to eye again, “I only have one request … can we be friends?”
The man said, “I’ll try son. I’ll surely try!”
Neither of us had much to say for a minute or so after Stan finished his story, but as soon as my vocal chords became functional again I responded, “That’s great, man! That’s fantastic! Good for you!”
And then I added, “Did it work?“
“Nope. Not at bit,” he replied, “but missing a shot now doesn’t bother me as much it used to.”
As I said, golf really is a lot like life.
I HOPE YOU ENJOYED THIS POST. IF SO, WHY NOT CONSIDER SHARING IT WITH YOUR FRIENDS? AND, IF YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS ANY NEW POSTS, SIMPLY CLICK THE “FOLLOW” BUTTON ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THIS PAGE