Just about any parent will tell you they want to see their child succeed in whatever it is they enjoy doing. I’m no different. My kids are the only two mistakes that can keep me up at night that I still don’t regret (mostly). So when they tell me they want to try something new, I’m all for it.
My youngest approached me at the beginning of the week and said she had an interest in golf. Turns out a friend from school had their birthday party at one of the local putt-putt spots, and now my daughter wanted me to take her to a real course on the weekend to learn how to play. I was ecstatic.
That week, we watched videos on golf tips and old pro tours, and on Friday I took her out of school early so we could pick out a set of clubs and a bright pink golf bag with matching visor. She was set.
We arrived at the course a little after 7 a.m. that Saturday, my cup full of coffee and hers with tea — ready to start the day. As we went about getting our cart and setting out to the course, I reminded her that it was still her first time and that if she didn’t do the best that it was ok because she was still learning. She assured me that she was just happy to be here and teed up her first shot of the day.
A solid whiff, followed by the oh-too-familiar sound of angry grumbling “that didn’t count.” She regained her composure and took her second swing, smacking the ball halfway down the fairway and into the rough. I was proud to see she took after her father.
I lined up for my shot and placed it about 20 in front of where her shot landed. I reassured her that it was a fantastic shot for her first time out here and that she should be proud of it. I finished the hole at par with her not far behind at three over.
The next few holes followed a similar pattern until we reached hole number seven, at which point something miraculous happened. She insisted that I go first and I was able to land my ball smack dab in the middle of a sand trap. Perfection. I turned to her and tried to warn her so she wouldn’t find herself in a similar predicament, but I was quickly shushed as she lined up for the shot. Shoulders squared, feet planted, she ramped up for the shot.
Five feet from the green and 15 from the flag.
I was at a loss for words. She, however, was not. Before I could congratulate her on her shot, she was consoling me on mine, telling me, “Yours wasn’t that bad!” and giving me tips on getting out of the sandpit. I told myself it was mid-game beginner’s luck as I finished out the hole at three-over-par and her with a ho-hum par.
As we continued into the second half of the game, this “beginner’s luck” happened more frequently, and she was getting cocky. By the 15th hole and the third sarcastic, “You’ll get it this time, Dad,” I snapped.
“No one likes to play with a sore winner, you know.” In hindsight, probably not the best thing to say to a child on their first game, but in the moment, I thought she needed to be taught a valuable lesson.
The silence that followed made the last three holes feel the longest. I tallied up the scores at the end. I finished with a 106, and she finished with a 98. I didn’t bother sharing this with her of course because she seemed to want to be left alone. We took a silent car ride home, followed by a teary-eyed entry to the house. She locked herself in her room, and I was left with a scornful mom.
If anyone’s in the market for a bright pink golf bag and matching visor, I’ve posted the asking price on Facebook.