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“Wow this grass is tall!”
“Yep, it sure is Grant.”
“It’s itchy too, why are we over here?”
“Because my ball is here.”
“Is your ball supposed to be here? Can we hit it over to the flag?”
“No, it’s not. Yes, I’ll try.”
“Grant, remember how we talked about not talking while someone is about to hit the ball.”
“But you’re not, you’re just looking at it.”
“Just go sit in the cart until I hit the ball bud.”
Grant hurried back to the cart to watch his father’s approach on Hole #1. He hacked down at his semi-buried in the rough ball and flew it just short of the green.
Aside from the chatter as he was about to take a swing, he was loving the new Wednesday night golf tradition he’d formed with Grant of late. A few weeks ago he’d suggested to Grant that they go golfing and was pleasantly surprised when he was instantly enthused by the idea.
Grant hadn’t shown much interest in swinging the set of small clubs he’d received for Christmas, but riding in a golf cart outside with his father seemed to be as exciting a prospect as any in his young life. His father had been unsure how taking him on the course would actually go; it was hot as shit during the summer and kids tend to bore easily. If they’d gotten through even four holes he would’ve considered it a success.
However, Grant really took to their outings with enough gusto that getting through nine was no problem for the duo. Now, this wasn’t because Grant was enthralled with the nuances of golf; he wasn’t sitting there riveted as his high-handicap father struggled to get out of the sand. His enthusiasm was more from two things kids really love: golf carts and being helpful.
While Grant hadn’t shown much more interest in the game itself besides taking his field hockey putting-style on the green when his father finally made it on, he had already turned into the Tiger Woods of pulling the flag and cleaning his father’s ball. As soon as their cart would pull up next to the green, Grant would sprint out to go get the flag so his father could have an open cup to three-putt to.
His love of being helpful by cleaning his father’s ball was assisted by his father finding every dirty area of the course to send his Chrome Soft. After most holes Grant would ask, “Does your ball need to be cleaned off Dad?” Considering the ball had likely been covered in sand or deep grass, the answer was usually yes. He might not have been training a future pro, but so far Grant was shaping up to be a hell of a caddy.
The early exposure was key. He wasn’t trying to Marv Marinovich the kid, but if he could mold him into a child that enjoys golfing with his father, that kills two birds with one stone. Quality time with his child that doesn’t involve some activity one of them hates, and more golf for him, which was huge.
Grant’s course etiquette, specifically his lack of ability to shut up while someone was swinging, was really his only shortcoming as a golf buddy.
They pulled the cart up to his ball, just a short pitch up to the green. He grabbed a wedge, took a quick practice stroke, then addressed the ball. As he began his backswing, his focus was deviated.
“Hey Dad that’s a lot of water over there, do you see? Look Dad.”
His wedge entered the ground six inches behind the ball, slid directly under it, and left it still short of the green.
“Grant, remember what we talked about, about not talking during someone’s swing?”
“Oh, sorry Dad, I remember. Can I go get the flag?”
He pitched on the green, leaving himself a makeable bogey putt. “Sure bud. Be careful when you do it.” Each time Grant pulled the flag, it gave him a small amount of anxiety. The flag’s height was nearly three-times Grant’s, and he was just waiting for him to fall off balance and stab the green. Fortunately, this flag pull, as with all the other so far, went without incident.
Grant ran back to the cart to grab his child-sized putter, as well as a yellow soccer ball Chrome Soft, and set himself up for a putt at least thirty feet from the hole.
His father, taking the precious time he had before Grant started jabbering again, took a quick read of his putt.
A little left to right, gotta hit it. Easy bogey to start the day, come one.
He pulled his club back and swung it through, feeling the solid contact in the middle of the head to send the ball on his line.
The ball was gliding perfectly on his read line, until it reached a spot six inches from the hole, where it was barreled through by a yellow ball going three times as fast.
“Dad your ball hit mine!” yelled Grant as he ran after his ball to corral it, then field hockey it to the cup. “YAY!” he jumped up and turned around seeking a high five from his father, whose solid putt had just been annihilated like a running back hitting the hole and squaring up Ray Lewis.
“Grant, remember how we talked about taking turns? Only one person can hit a ball at a time, remember? If we don’t follow the rules, we don’t get to come back.”
And if you derail a putt that I actually manage to hit well again, I’ll lose my mind.
Grant looked confused. “But you said the ball that’s furtherest away gets to be hit!”
“I uh..” Technically the kid was right, but that didn’t really apply when you set your ball down a half mile from the hole and swing like you’re teeing off. “Just wait until I say it’s cool to hit, sound good?”
Grant shrugged. “Ok. Does your ball need to be cleaned?” Without waiting for an answer he grabbed it out of his Dad’s hand then ran to the cart to clean it.
They drove to the second tee box with Grant in his father’s lap and steering somewhat poorly. As they pulled up and his father got out to grab his driver, Grant got out too. He walked up and half hugged his Dad’s leg. “I love golfing with you Dad.”
This moment is worth any course infraction he commits ever. God damn this sport is beautiful.
“I love playing golf with you too bud. I’m having fun. Now stand back.”
He teed up, addressed the ball, then drew his driver back.
“Hey Daddy look at that tree over there, there’s a bird! Look!”
He spun off his swing, sending the ball screaming way right towards the water. .
If you’re enjoying following “PostGrad Single Dad,” be sure to go listen to the latest episode of “The DadGum Podcast,” live on Grandex Labs.