Log in

Log in

Father’s Day

A Message on the Enjoyment of Golf

by Ron Stepanek, PGA

Every year around Father’s Day, I like to share this story about my father, who passed in 2021, and the wonders of the game of golf.  As so many of you sons and daughters will likely be treating your dad to a round of golf for Father’s Day, this is a tribute to the greatest father ever and the story of the last time Big Don and I got to play 9-holes together.

It was mid October 2014.  I was living in Florida, but on business in the Atlantic City area.  Towards the end of my conference, it hit me.  Considering we lived 1,400 miles apart, and I was just a few hours aways from Connecticut, I could easily take an extra day to drive up and visit my folks.  So I gave them a call, changed my flight and up the Garden State Parkway I went.

Upon arriving just after noon, it was my mother that suggested Big Don and I should head out to Crestbook Park, our long-time home course, to play golf.  Well, you did not need to ask me twice.  Big Don was always my favorite partner on the links, thus there was no hesitation and off we went.

In addition to being an absolutely perfect fall day, 65 degrees and not a cloud in the sky, we were pleasantly surprised as we turned into the course and saw the parking lot was nearly empty.  What a bonus…… we were about to have the golf course to ourselves!!!

After checking in the golf shop and catching up with the pro, we jumped on a cart and headed back to the car to load our clubs.   But then happened.  Somehow between checking in and our trip to the parking lot, a group of 3 golfers snuck ahead of us.  To make matters worse, they were walkers!  Like most other golfers, we were not happy to see them get in front of us!

At the same time, we know we could deal with this and likely get past them.  Right after they teed off #1, we sped down to the tee in hopes that they would wave us through.  Much to our discontent they just continued their walk up the hill, playing their shots, never looking back.

How could they do this??  There were only 5 of us on the course, and we were just 2….and in a cart.  Without hesitation we would be faster and they needed to let us through!  Giving them the benefit of the doubt that they may not have seen us, I knew when we got up to the first green I could park the cart next to #2 tee and they would need to move aside.

Surprisingly, I hit my approach shot onto the 1st green (LOL), thus could easily make my “let-us-through” move.  So I drove behind the green, right up to #2 tee and slammed on the breaks, trying to be as noticeable as possible.  Even with this attempt and my constant stare in attempt to make eye contact, this 3-some could not have cared less and went on their merry way.  Slowly on their merry way.

At this point I realized the only way around them would be to skip a hole or two.  However, sensing my dad was not in much of a hurry, we opted to handle this another way.  In fact, our approach that day truly stuck deep within me and has forever impacted how I enjoy golf.

We simply decided to play behind this 3-some.  Yes, they were walking AND they were slow.  Yes, we knew we would wait on EVERY shot.  However, it was a perfect day to be outside, and I was with Big Don, my favorite person to play golf with!  So instead of getting frustrated (the way golfers often do), we shifted our gears, took our time and just let this perfect day soak in! 

Wow, it was wonderful!

By the end to the round, it took us 2 hours and 10 minutes to play, likely an hour longer than if we cruised through with no one ahead of us.  In retrospect, I am so glad it took this long and wish it could have been even longer.  Admittedly, I don’t remember any specific conversations we had that day.  However, I do know we never stopped talking and sharing our lives.  Especially as we waited on every shot, we could really take our time enjoying the day and enjoying each other.

I will forever cherish this round of golf. 

Looking back, I came to absorb how this may be the perfect way to play a round of golf.  Don’t get me wrong, as I am not saying anything about a specific amount of “time” it should take to play.  I just stopped being in such a hurry and now when it comes to playing golf, my top priority is to have fun and value that it’s okay to take your time to enjoy the special camaraderie when on the links.

So now, anytime I play and have a similar experience, I give a nod to Big Don for giving me this memory, as well for being the best possible mentor, father and hero.

Happy Father’s Day Big Don!!



Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software