There are moments on the course that we’ll never forget. They aren’t always the perfect round or the ace to win the tournament, but most often they are the moments that made you fall in love with the game in the first place. Writer Caitlin Moyer shares hers.

It was a lazy, hot afternoon. The cicadas were out in full force and their constant din, coupled with the ticking sprinklers and the occasional passing ice cream truck, provided the soundtrack of summer. 

Laying outside, in my bikini, on a towel, trying to soak in as much sun on my decidedly pale body as possible on my all-too-rare day off. I’d spent the morning working out and catching up on my personal errands and doing all the stuff you do on a day off, including a one chapter read of a trashy novel.

I heard my next-door neighbor, Steve, fire up his lawnmower. Within moments, the sweet smell of freshly-cut grass wafted over to my side of the fence.

And just like that, I’m taken back. Third hole. Rock River Hills. Par 3. 120 yards. I’m 16 again, golfing with dad and his best friend.

Every Friday during the summer of my teenage years, I’d get to go play golf with them; it was a privilege. It was tradition. We must have played every course in southeastern Wisconsin and some a bit beyond–rarely the same course in one season. Our tee times would be at what for me at that age was some ungodly hour, like 8am (little did I realize then that 15 years later I’d be sitting at a desk by that time) and we’d have to leave our horse by 7:15am to get there (I guess I also didn’t imagine having to ride the Metro an hour every morning to get to the office either). 

Sure, dad occasionally grumbled about paying my way, especially at the nicer courses, like Washington County where greens fees were a bit steeper. And especially after I got my first job at the movie theater, but he almost always paid for the both of us and, I think, was secretly glad to do it. To give his daughter the most sacred gift he knew – the love of the game.

I loved being “one of the guys.” Mom didn’t golf; she and I shared movies, baking, good books and sales at the mall. No, this was all about me and dad, my buddy, my pal. On the drive home, we’d listen to Pat Hughes and Ron Santo call the Cubbies’ late afternoon games, or, we’d pull out the CDs I secretly liked but pretended to hate, like the Traveling Wilburys and Supers 70s. 

Ah, those were the days. I remember the music, the laughs, the pure shots, the hot, pulsating summer sun, and the smell of freshly-cut undulating greens and fairways. I remembered my youth. My innocence. Myself. 

Well I must have dozed off because I woke up and my stomach was bright red. I don’t tan anymore; I burn. Rats. I checked my watch. 4pm. I reached for my cell phone to see a text that says “Golf?”. I don’t even check my schedule, I just respond, “Yes” and will deal with the aftermath of the moved meetings tomorrow. 

Afterall, it’s golf with my Dad. They should understand.