Letter to Dad
I wish you could be here to see the changes in golf in the last thirty years. You’d be so impressed by the young women who can hit the ball 275+ off the tee, and they might be only fifteen years old! Even my driver distance improved with the new technology in golf clubs and golf balls. When I was fifty-five I could still hit the ball farther than I did at eighteen. I’ve kept my old persimmon MacGregor woods as a reminder of the beauty and difficulty of times past, but the heavy leather bags that tore at my shoulders have long since been given away.
This summer while playing in the WOGA Stroke Play Amateur at Dornick Hills, one of your old favorites, I saw an old woman playing golf. She swung the club exactly like you might have taught her, a smooth rhythmical swing that looks effortless, but judging from the distance I watched the ball fly, she hit the ball at least 10-30 yards less than a younger women. This old woman played the cliff hole like an aging tree, moving stiffly in the wind. I felt the cracks of her spine that reflected the rugged cliff facing her.
Her 8 iron could no longer carry the cliff, her eyes seemed to have tears in them, but her resolve moved her stubbornly to the next shot and the next until her ball found its way to the top and onto the green. Only then did I realize that I was that old woman, not someone I could point to and say, “When I’m that old I’ll ….”
I sobbed silently that day, but kept my head steady and putted with skill and focus to make up for the lost yardage.
Dad, you’ve been on my mind constantly this summer because I remember with love and sorrow how difficult it was for me to watch you age. Now I am understanding your pain daily when I get out of bed or play golf. I watched how your burned and scared arms from that childhood fire stiffened your wrists causing you to cringe with every golf shot or hammer stroke. I noticed when your hips refused to rotate how the pain shot down your legs causing you to explain the “hitch in the get along”, but you never stopped playing golf, Dad. Sometimes weeks passed between rounds of golf. You slowed down, took longer naps. Most importantly, you persevered and taught your two daughters by example.
Thank you, Dad