Round One This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   One of the most distinct recollections I have of my early childhood is the first time I played golf with my father. This represented the beginning of something that has continued to this day, its importance intensifing as my relationship with him has strengthened and my love of the game has grown.

Throughout the summer of my fifth year of life, I had wanted to go with my dad to the place he called "the links." It seemed a wonderful and magical place, Every sunny Saturday morning at eight my father would drive off and return at noon. He would come home tired and sweaty, but excited, happy, and full of stories. I would sit on his lap and hear how he hit a little ball far into the sunshine again and again until it went into a little hole. I was fascinated.

Every Friday night Dad would clean and then lay out his clubs for the next morning. Every Friday night I would run up and put my junior nine iron and putter right next to his bag. "No, Jon. Not this time," he would say gently. "It's too long a walk. Wait until you are older."

On one of the last Saturdays of the summer my father finally gave in to my persistence and agreed to allow me to join him. My excitement grew as we approached the course. It was a place of wonder to me. I saw flags, greens, and open fairways - just like in my father's stories. The morning dew made the grass glisten in the sunshine, and the promise of mid-day heat hung between trees. The green and white awnings of the clubhouse shimmered in the breeze, and players gathered in cheerful groups, anticipating their games.

For the next four hours I hit the ball, chased it, found it, and hit it again. "Slow down, Jon. I'm not carrying you in after three holes," my father warned, but three holes, six holes, nine holes, and twelve holes came and went. Thirty or forty yards at a clap, I hit the little ball and hit it again. I resembled an infant with a machete, slashing my way out of the jungle. My father never corrected my stroke; he just let me play my way.

Finally, I stumbled to the eighteenth tee. My hair was plastered to my head, my face as red as an apple. I turned to my father and panted, "Daddy, do we have to play this hole?"

"That's all right, Jon, I know you are hot and tired. Let's go get a soda," my father said sympathetically.

"It's not that, Dad. If we play this hole," I whined, gazing up the fairway and over a hill to the clubhouse roof, "then we're going to be all done."

As a teenager, I still look forward to playing golf with my father. The course has shortened as my strokes have lengthened, but when we reach the eighteenth, that same feeling of sadness fills me just as it did on that August day; I know that Saturday's round will soon be nothing more than Monday's memory.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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