When people ask me if I golf, I don't know what to say.
Yes, occasionally I do get out on the course and upset the grounds keepers by filling the water hazards with my golf balls.
But to say that what I do is actually golf is stretching it a bit. I'm probably more of a goofer than a golfer.
But I have fun.
And nothing is more fun to me than taking my two grandsons out on a golf course and teaching them the finer points of the game: How to hit 250 yard divots; reaching the green before dark; how to identify poison ivy while searching through the woods trying to find your ball.
My shots don't go straight. I don't hit the fairways. Most of my tee shots land in the unfairways.
So it's ironic that I've decided that I'm the person who should teach my grandsons, Matt, 8 1/2 and Jake, almost 11, how to golf. Last weekend was Matt's first time on a golf course.
I stepped up to a tee and took a classic swing.
Matt: "I thought you were supposed to hit it over the water. How come your ball went into the water?"
Granddad: "I get extra points when I hit the ball in the water so I hit it there on purpose."
Matt: "Could you do it again?"
Granddad: "Matt, I could stand here and hit balls into the water all day. It's my best shot. Okay, watch me again. Watch how I line up at the ball. My shoulders are square. I take the club head back and keep my left arm straight. Watch now."
Matt: "Granddad, did you hit that tree on purpose like you hit the water?"
Granddad: "I aimed straight for it."
Matt: "I don't think that guy behind us was very happy when your ball almost hit him after it bounced off the tree."
Granddad: "Well, this is a good opportunity to teach you something else about golf. What I'm going to do now is take a Mulligan. I'm going to take another ball and hit it and pretend like that first shot that hit the tree never happened."
Matt: "Isn't that called cheating?"
Granddad: "No it's called a Mulligan."
Matt: "Was it a Mulligan when you kicked your ball out of sand trap?"
Granddad: "Listen, remember what I told you about golf etiquette and how you don't talk when someone is hitting? Well here's another rule. You don't look when someone is kicking his ball out of the sand trap."
Matt hit great. And on the 17th hole Jake's putt started 30 feet from the pin on the fringe of the green and the ball dropped right in the hole.
Jake: "Did you see that? I got a par."
Granddad: "That was a great shot, Jake. That might be the best shot of the summer."
Visions passed before my eyes: Jake on the PGA tour; endorsements; trophies; millions of dollars; free passes to the Master's for granddad.
Both boys said thanks. They gave me a hug before I left and promised they wouldn't tell their mother everything that I taught them on the golf course. Some things are just between grandsons and granddads.
They asked if we could do it again -- soon.
They won't be kids forever so, you bet, I'll take them golfing again and real soon -- while I can still beat them.
I just hope that 20 years now from now, they remember once in awhile to take me.
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