To my Dearest Stella,
For the next however many years we have together, I’ll sit back and let you and your mommy take care of getting me great Father’s Day presents. But on this, our first Father’s Day together, I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to share some of my thoughts with you.
For the rest our lives, your mommy and I will work very hard to give you the opportunity to participate in whatever activities you so choose. Your mommy was a beautiful and talented ballet dancer and teacher, so my guess is you’ll be at the ballet bar at some point.
And as I’m sure you’ll learn through the years, your daddy has always loved the game of golf.
And while I’ll promise you today that I’ll never push you in that direction, I do want to take a minute to share with you just some of the reasons why I think golf will be a great option for you growing up.
The sport itself is fun enough, but trust me when I say the individual characteristics you learn through golf will help make you a better person in life.
Stella, no other sport in the world challenges its individual participants the way golf does. From the beginning, the sport is “you against the course.”
You don’t need a team of players to practice. And you don’t need others to compete against to measure your results.
The game is always there. And learning on a personal level that it’s up to you to practice and improve yourself and work as hard as you so choose is a great way to learn early in life what dedication means.
Learn it early through golf. And carry this important trait with you through all of life’s endeavors.
Golf will teach you the importance of not only having a set of rules, but following those rules when only you would know otherwise. Understanding and adhering to this fundamental aspect of the game will make you not only a better golfer, but a better person as well.
Stella, being able to interact well with others is a very important personal quality to possess. Sometimes you’ll be surrounded by people you love and that interaction will be easy. Other times, the company won’t be as easy to take and that interaction will certainly become more difficult. This happens on the course as well.
But learning how to maintain a level of respect for others and the ability to converse when you may not want to and the acceptance of others based on age, skill, gender, background, etc. Learning all of this on the course will certainly help you interact with others off it as well.
The ability to give it your all and accept the resulting outcome is one of the hardest characteristics to learn in life. And no other sport better prepares you for this better than golf.
On the last hole, you should always shake hands with your playing partners after the round. Always be humble. Always remove your hat and sunglasses. And always look them in the eyes.
One of the hardest, but probably most important qualities golf can teach you is that of continuous improvement. Golf, like life, can be tough baby Stell. But every shot, every round, every tournament — just like every day — is a lesson all its own.
Learn from it. What did you do well? What did you do poorly? How can you improve upon it for the next one? Being able to critically self analyze yourself will only help you become the best person you can be.
As I sit here typing this to you, I’ve already played the game for 30 years.
Fall in love with the game early in life like I did and you’ll be able to enjoy it for a very very long time.
I grew up in a golfing family and have many wonderful memories spending time on the course with your great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. I think it would be a blessing if you had those kinds of memories as well.
Your mommy is going to start playing more golf, so it’s something that you and her can learn and make progress with together.
And just in case all of the reasoning above doesn’t seem to do it for you, please know that for as long as I’m here with you, you’ll always have a “game” and a playing partner in your daddy.
I have to take a moment to say Happy Father’s Day to my father, father-in-law, brother-in-law, and all the other dads that I know. I hope you all enjoy your special day.
But I’d like to conclude with a final thought to Stella. As you grow, you’ll understand more and more the love (obsession) I have with the game of golf.
But on this, our first Father’s Day, and every other day we have together, please understand that the most important lesson I can ever teach you is this — Nothing in golf, or anything else in life for that matter, will ever make me happier or prouder than being your daddy.
Happy Father’s Day everyone and enjoy the U.S. Open!
Jonah Karzmer is a former golf professional who writes a golf column for The Vindicator. In his spare time he sells commercial insurance for The Karzmer Insurance Agency and loves getting feedback on his weekly columns via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.