These last few months, I’ve been working hard on improving my game and I’m excited to share that I’ve officially signed up for my first tournament! In August, I’ll be participating in the Wisconsin State Golf Association’s Member Series 2-Person Scramble at Hidden Glen with a very special partner.

Over the course of my career in the sports industry, I’ve been very fortunate to play with LPGA, MLB and NBA players, as well as NASCAR drivers and celebrities; however, my favorite playing partner has always been, and still is, my dad. 

My dad is an excellent student of the game and he’s the one who introduced me to it when I was little. A former librarian, he’s got stacks of books on the mechanics and is one of those guys you might catch subconsciously mimicking his swing while waiting in line at the store or pumping gas. Broken dinner plates (simultaneously grilling and chipping); ceiling marks (swinging inside); and dents in the garage door (winter practice) all serve as testaments to his dedication to the sport.

I remember going to the range with him when I was very young and occupying myself by reading books. I didn’t really care about golf then, but it slowly grew on me. Eventually, dad cut down a few clubs from his old set for me and I started to take some hacks. 

When I was nine, Fred Couples won the Masters. He was one of dad’s favorites and quickly became mine. I began taking more of an interest in the sport and then taking lessons. Out on the course, I started by teeing my ball up in the fairway wherever dad’s landed. As I began to improve, there were rewards, like a new Cabbage Patch doll, for certain milestones.

Annika Sorenstam burst onto the scene in 1995 with her first U.S. Women’s Open victory and I had my first female role model in the sport. When the tournament came to Blackwolf Run here in Kohler, Wisconsin in 1998, dad and I made the hour’s drive each way and back every day for a week (plus the playoff!) just so I could watch her and all the other amazing women of the LPGA.

Then, I made the high school team and dad always came out to support me and continued to do everything he could to help me improve.

Also around that time, when there was an opening in dad’s regular foursome, I was permitted to fill in. This privilege soon became a tradition. I loved being “one of the guys.” On the drive home, we’d listen to Cubs’ afternoon games, or, they’d pull out the CDs I secretly liked but pretended to hate, like the Traveling Wilburys.

Sure, dad occasionally grumbled about paying my way, especially at the nicer courses with steeper rates, and especially after I got my first job at the mall, but he almost always paid for us both and, I think, was secretly glad to do it. To give his daughter the most sacred gift he knew – the love of the game.

And, while I didn’t–and still don’t–always listen to his advice, I know now that when he gives me tips, or sends me links to articles and videos (two have actually come in while writing this article), this is his way of showing that he cares. Weird as it may seem, in dad-speak, “left knee down on backswing” actually means “I love you.”

Today, I pay my own way when we play and sometimes treat him, too. I can never fully repay him, but it’s a small way of saying thank you for all he’s done for me.

I know I have been incredibly lucky to have a dad like him and this year, I’ve been so grateful for the opportunity to play with him more often than I have in years. I don’t take our time together for granted and I’m really looking forward to competing with him for the first time this August because I know we make a great team.

Thank you for everything, dad. Left knee down on backswing.

Caitlin Moyer

Caitlin Moyer has been hacking and hoping since she was 10. Over the course of her career in the sports industry, she's had the chance to play the game with LPGA, MLB and NBA players, as well as NASCAR drivers and celebrities, but her favorite playing partner is her dad (even though he is a stick). Inventor and sole practitioner of the one-flap™ golf swing (patent pending).