A blunt truth for Jacob and I as sports buddies is that we are not likely to be superstar athletes competing with each other for backyard or front-yard glory. I’m not super active, Jacob has some extra challenges, blah blah blah. Baseball will be a challenge, should be able to throw a football later in life, probably frisbee, cooperative basketball is likely or maybe some games like HORSE. More likely, we’ll find ways to go skating together with mom, and I’m hoping for skiing (both downhill and x-country) as well as kayaking. I mention this not as a lament but as context for this “50by50” goal.
I wanted to go golfing with Jacob.
I’m not a great golfer. I don’t have a body nor talent for it, but I have fun. I really like the annual tournament that our branch at work normally runs, a best-ball tournament with teams of four. Four of us head out as a group and have a blast, none of us very good and all of us having a decent chance at “this shot” or “that shot” being the one that counts for our team. Mostly we just laugh and kid around.
I’ve gone with a friend or two here and there, and I did a small group of ten guys for my bachelor party. Other than that, I normally only go out with my father-in-law, often when we’re around the cottage somewhere. None of it is aggressive play, just out for fun. I’m not likely to break 100 anytime soon, if that helps orient my quality of play.
But I took Jacob out to the driving range, we even got him a lesson to get him oriented, and he really likes whacking the balls. Over the last two years, he’s increased his drive to 50 yards+, and improved his consistency at that distance to about 90% of the time. Rarely does he have a complete flub. And when we go to the range, he’s happy to hit 150 balls all by himself, if we have the time.
So, with the range up to 50 yards+, I wanted to give him a shot once this year on an executive par 3 course. We wouldn’t make him tee off more than a couple of times on small holes, but we’d get him within striking distance of the green and let him hit from there. And by “we”, I mean my father-in-law i.e. Jacob’s grandfather and me.
Jacob practiced at the range a few times in September and then just after Thanksgiving, Ron and Marney came up to visit so we could go out. One of my first outings for golf some 10+ years ago was to a small course in Richmond, and while I wanted to revisit it, I wasn’t even sure it was still open. Turns out it was, and we went there. Relatively cheap, the ground was a bit wet, and they let Jacob play for free. I got us a golf cart (for Jacob and I), and off we went.
We did a short 9 holes and for parts of it, I didn’t think Jacob was really enjoying it. He was doing okay, but not super excited. Then, he “got it”. It wasn’t about the golf club, or the ball, or the hole. It was about just the three of us out having fun for a Sunday afternoon. Nothing extravagant or complex, just a simple game with his dad and Poppa. I love the fact that Jacob knows his grandfather and his great-grandfather so well and loves them so much.
Here is Poppa with some last minute suggestions:
Jacob giving it a go:
Jacob teeing off:
Jacob and I are going to go to the indoor driving range this winter near our house, and I’m hoping we can get out a couple of times next year, both here and near the cottage.
We may not be superstar athletes, but this we can do together.