A Note on Golf and Life for My Newborn Son

Why I hope he'll play golf and never stop trying to better himself.

My Dearest Son,

There are so many thoughts that have raced through my head since your birth earlier this week. In only a few short days, I’ve already begun to explore the endless possibilities of what your life will be like. While my daydreams of your life range in scope and scale, all of them are rooted in my unwavering love for you and deep fascination with the man you will become someday.

A father’s imagination can run wild in these moments. It is easy for me to start thinking about all the great achievements you may record in your life. I’ve tried to remain grounded, but it is difficult for a dreamer like me to remain sensible when someone as wonderful as you arrives in the world.

While I certainly have many big hopes for your life, I do realize that it will be up to you to chart your own course. At best, I can only be a guide for the journeys you choose to undertake. However, I would like to suggest one pursuit that I believe will greatly enhance your existence.

You see son, you come from a long line of golfers. Beginning with your Great-Great-Grandfather, many in your family tree have taken up and fallen for the game. While we have all experienced ups and downs playing golf, I can’t fathom a better way for you to spend your days than getting to know yourself and others on a course you love.

Golfers are a funny lot. We tend to be a bit self deprecating and even eccentric at times, but those of us who play are mostly good hearted and hopeful. I have found great pleasure in surrounding myself with such folks. We like to laugh a lot and the bonds we build together only seem to strengthen with every round. Nothing would please me more than to see you join our ranks.

I think it would be fair to say that golf has shaped my life in a profound way. It has the potential to do the same for you. While I would love for you to eventually become an impressive golfer, I primarily just hope that you enjoy playing. I think you will find that golf can inspire many a grand adventure and push you to succeed in other fields.

Through my own experiences, I can confidently say that golf can take you to incredible places and introduce you to spectacular people. Your grandfather once told me that “golf will open more doors than you can possibly imagine” and that has proven true in so many ways. Golf has helped advance my career and serves as the foundation for some of my most important relationships. Above all else, golf has given me a venue for which to get to know and challenge myself.

I’ve found the time I spend walking golf courses to be some of the most significant hours of my life. That’s where I go to sort through my deepest thoughts and explore my personal ambitions. Perhaps golf can serve the same purpose for you.

As much as I’ve treasured all the days I’ve spent playing golf with friends and family, it has often been the quiet times while playing alone( or with a dog ) that have meant the most to me. It will be important for you to find similar spaces that allow for self reflection.

I believe it is critical to your success in life to carve time out of your schedule for the regular contemplation of your actions. Hitting a ball with sticks through a field and to a hole seems well suited for the task. The challenge of getting around a golf course in as few strokes as possible will test your thinking and abilities greatly. This form of escapism not only helps pass the time and be near kindred spirits, but it will force you to confront your failures on a regular basis.

Golf is a game that despite being endlessly frustrating, can teach you a great deal about life. The one lesson that stands out most to me is on perseverance. I’ve found that one of the most important measures of someone’s life is determined by how well and how often they bounce back from disappointment and failure. Golf will prove this truth to you time and time again.

When you play golf, you are constantly faced with decisions about whether or not to take chances. Often times, you will choose to go for it and come up short. However, on many occasions you will rise to the opportunity at hand and do something spectacular. The lesson here is that you can’t succeed if you don’t try and despite all the times you’ll miss, it is the trying that counts most.

Along with a love for golf, it is that perseverance that I am most proud to pass down to you. I’ve learned some tough lessons in life and God knows I’ve failed many times, but everyday I wake up with a desire to try again. I’ve developed that small but important ambition through the guidance of our family, some wise words from a few good mentors, and of course while playing lots of golf. Of all the hopes I have for you, the greatest is that you never stop trying.

Golf is a good place to practice that approach to life. In this heart wrenching yet beautiful game, we must face the fact that most of our swings will yield results which fall short of our desires. I hate to tell you this, but the same is true in life. Despite frequent shortcomings, you will find success if you keep trying. When your swing visions and bold dreams come to fruition, you’ll find great satisfaction in knowing that giving it one more try was what got the job done.

Some will think I’m silly for suggesting that golf is a good training ground for the challenges you’ll face in life. Don’t mind the cynics though son. Golf can give you a familiar place to focus on bettering your faults. It’s a safe and reliable space for you to practice self improvement. Someday you’ll see just how important that really is.

You’ll also soon come to realize that your dad can be a bit long winded. This is especially true when I wax poetically about golf. So, I’ll conclude my note to you with this final thought. Whatever you choose to do in your life, I hope that you keep choosing to do it until you figure out how to do it well. I hope golf will be part of your life, but no matter what interests you choose to pursue it is most important that you never stop trying to improve.

I won’t be a great dad for you all of the time, but do know this my son — I’ll never stop trying to get better. The best lesson golf has taught me is that perseverance clears the path to great reward. When you get out on the course someday, no matter if I’m with you or not, just remember that if you keep swinging, eventually you’ll get it right. That lesson holds true no matter what you are pursuing and it has made all the difference in my life. I hope you will discover the same.

Until then, I’ll be here to love you and guide you the best I can.

With all my heart,

Dad


Thanks for reading Mid-Am Crisis. If you enjoy these reflections, be sure to subscribe to our podcast as well. It’ available on all your favorite listening channels. The show has taken a couple weeks off for the birth of my son, but will be back soon.

In the meantime, check out the latest episode with legendary golf broadcaster Steve Melnyk below.


While you are chasing golf content, if you are looking for a fun golf read that will spur on some daydreams about the game, be sure to pick up a copy of my book, The Nine Virtues of Golf !