The Relational Side of Golf

If you go visit  you can read some interesting, informative, funny and very moving stories of golfers and their relationship to the game and the people they have connected to through golf.  The site provides the following information, “The campaign – Golf Canada Golf – is designed to inspire Canadian golfers through storytelling, inviting enthusiasts to share their stories and special connections to the game through a series of promotional activities across video, broadcast, print, online and social channels. – See more at:”

The site is impressive.  It provides a promotional link for people to get more information on how to get into the game.  I love the concept and it’s been well received.  It gave me cause for reflection around my relationship to the game and the relationships that weave within it.  That is even more meaningful to me at this time.  Next week will be the 15th year for an annual golf weekend which brings together family, old friends and new friends.  It’s a collection of guys who have come together to form friendships over three days of golf in what is often bad weather.  We call it ‘Pitch, Putt and Gimme’.

This year will be different.  And difficult.  We’ve lost two of our group this past year to cancer.  One was my Uncle Tommy.  Uncle Tom loved golf.  He loved the comraderie and every year he would bring dozens of golf balls which he collected all year through his work as a starter in Flamborough, Ontario.  He gave each guy an egg carton which had twelve golf balls in it.  A die hard Red Wings fan, the past couple years as he was getting weaker he would pass on the afternoon round or maybe play nine holes and sneak back to the hotel room to watch the Wings playoff games.  They’ve been in the playoffs 24 years straight now; he was assured to see them play each year!  He would turn up the heat in his room, much to the chagrin of his roommate (I mean it was a sweatshop in there), and relax and wait until the foursomes all returned, all cold and many years cold and wet.

He always provided a pass for four, as a prize, to play at his course.  He was a generous man.  He had a dry sense of humour and what he lacked off the tee he more than made up for on green.  He was likely the best putter in the family (and while that is not saying much, no one else in the family can call that a strength).  The weekend is going to be different.  I’m going to miss him.  I know I will think often about the egg cartons with found balls, or, when I was younger how he took me fishing or off to play the short par 3 course at Dundas Valley.  He was a caring, considerate family man and what he loved talking about most was his family, including his grandchildren.

I did not need the lesson of his passing to make me appreciate the relationships which exist that weekend but will be more mindful of them.  My Dad is one of the 24 who make the trip.  I’ll play the final round of the weekend with him.  I’ll look forward to laughing at missed putts, applauding his chipping (he’s a chipping savant, I swear) and mostly just quietly appreciating the time and the relationship we have…a relationship that gets strengthened through golf.  I love what golf has done to ground me and improve my health.  Next weekend I will value what it has done for many important relationships in my life.

Some Aboriginal cultures say that wind are the spirits of those who pass and I will enjoy the gusts more this year than ever.  My friend Al, and my Uncle Tom will be with us.  I regret they can’t join us but I’ll know they’re there.

Uncle Tom and I are ready to tee it up.
Uncle Tom and I are ready to tee it up.