Do You Really Love Golf?
Last Friday night I lost my best golf buddy, so I write with a heavy heart.
What brought us together was that Alan had the most genuine love for the game of golf of anyone I have ever known. He constantly told me I was the luckiest guy in the world to be able to make my living in this business, around this game. And when I told him I was working on the Ben Hogan deal many months ago, he was ecstatic for me, and lived this story as it developed, as if it was his own. He was a fan, a best friend, a confidant and I'm not hesitant in the least to tell you I genuinely loved this big old Teddy bear.
I rode in the passenger side of our cart almost every Friday for the past five years, and to be out there on the course was a high point of his every week. He toiled in the emergency room from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., went home and showered, took a short nap, and came out to the club by 10:00 or so. It was a thrill for him to spend time putting, hitting chip shots, going to the range and finally the first tee for our noon game.
He cherished each and every moment he spent at the club. He loved everyone, from the golf buddies, to those we never actually teed it up with, to each of the employees. He spoke to everyone as if they were the most important people in the world. And to him, at that moment in time, I believe they were.
What dawns on me as I prepare to speak at his service tomorrow is that I never once saw him get angry on the golf course. He dealt with his bad shots with a simple "Oh, Alan", followed by an intensified focus on the next one. And he approached that recovery shot after a bad swing with an obvious joy at the thrill of being able to pull it off. Wow. What can we all learn from that?
As for me, I'm going to try to approach every round of golf from now on ... every single shot, whether on the course or on the practice grounds ... with the joy and excitement that Alan exhibited. By nature I'm wound up pretty tight, but I'm going to try to honor Alan by lightening up a bit and 'smelling the roses' of just what this game has given, and continues to give to me.
I don't really have any words of wisdom for you today, but maybe this story of genuine love for the game will help all of us understand that we are extremely fortunate to be able to tee it up, however often or seldom that might be. We are blessed to have been introduced to this wonderful game by a father or friend, mentor or casual acquaintance.
In my life, it was my father, who also was my hero. And I now reflect on how Alan in effect, re-introduced me to this wonderful game. I'm just sorry that it took losing him to realize what he taught me.
I love you Buddy, and I'm going to miss you.
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