Last weekend I loaded up a few friends into a couple of vehicles and headed back up the road to one of my default “casual” golf courses, Rainbow’s End, just outside Sayward.
Upon arrival, I found that my friend Dave did, in fact, bring his seven-month-old son, Archer, along for the trip. He had said he was going to, but I guess I kind of thought he was joking.
There were concerned looks amongst the crew about how having a baby stroller would affect the round, but Archer is a well-behaved young man (if I can call him that at seven months) and we knew we’d make the best of it.
But we did more than make the best of it, I’d say.
You see, I’ve always been an advocate of instilling values by showing rather than telling, and while I’m sure that he didn’t pick up the fact that we were honest in our scorekeeping, respectful of each other by staying quiet while our “opponents” played their shots, and shook hands after the round, thanking each other for being a part of the experience, he will have picked up a few things.
He was aware that we were there to have fun.
He was aware that we had a genuine affection and appreciation for each other as people, despite the fact that we were technically in a competition.
He was aware that we were out in the world playing a game with each other (even if he couldn’t possibly understand the game itself) and enjoying each others’ company.
And he was aware that we were happy for him to be a part of it.
Being fathers ourselves – well, three of the four of us, anyway (and the third is around kids all the time) – we were more than comfortable passing him around, explaining things to him that he obviously would not understand, and making sure he knew he was in good hands.
You see, to me that’s what is important about golf. It’s not about what your scorecard says at the end of the day, or how many golf balls you lost in the trees because you’re really not very good at the game, but about enjoying your time out there with your friends, respecting each other and being happy to be together.
And that’s something even a seven-month-old child can pick up, just by example, if you let them.