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Golfing can keep families close

If the Covid-19 pandemic has kept you from connecting with family and friends, it’s time to play nine.

I’m talking about playing nine holes of golf.

In fact, you should call a loved one and hit the links right away.

Heck, even if you’ve never picked up a club, now is the perfect time to learn a game that has captured the imagination of people for over one-hundred years.

My mom and dad, Flo and Joe Zampedro, are now in that 65-plus age bracket. They have basically been in quarantine since March. Although our lives have changed, we still have the game we love keeping us together.

Social distancing is no problem when you’re golfing. It’s a safe, fun way to spend time with people outdoors.

Golf has kept my dad and I close throughout my life. He sparked my interest in the game when I was a child. So much so, that I created a course in his backyard.

There is just one green with nine different tee-off spots. The longest hole is about 60 yards, but the backyard course offers some significant challenges. The dog-leg par 5, and the toughest little par 3 around will test your skill-set. Not to mention the subtle nuances of the green itself.

As I grew older, we ventured to Paul Tessler’s par 3 course and the Vienna short holes with my brother Jesse. We started playing full length courses. Sadly, many of which do not exist anymore.

I could ride my bike to Aspen Winds in Southington, which is now called Duck Creek. I played on the Lordstown High School team. Our home course was Forest Oaks, which is no longer around. We loved Candywood and Dogwood. Unfortunately, both courses are memories these days.

Riverview Golf Course in Newton Falls and Tamer Win in Cortland are two excellent courses that have stood the test of time in Trumbull County.

Every Father’s Day, we play the Mill Creek short holes in  Youngstown. Today is my dad’s 69th birthday. With upgraded technology, he is hitting the ball farther than ever. Changing from a club head that was barely larger than the ball to an oversize 450 cc has made a difference. However, we celebrated early with another round at Mill Creek on Monday.

The highlights of the round were a picturesque tee-off to within a foot and a half on No. 8, with a tap-in birdie by my dad. I followed with a chip-in birdie from underneath a hanging tree limb on 9, but the real highlight was just being out there golfing together.

Happy birthday, dad.

sports@tribtoday.com

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