Love of Golf, Love of Team

January 10, 2011 — 46 Comments

When I was 8 years old my family moved across town in Kansas City and found a lovely house that sat above the first hole of an executive (shortened) 9 hole golf course.  Like most kids that age, I was playing soccer, baseball, basketball, and tennis.  Later I even tried football. I was doing way too much but my parents were just trying to test out what I enjoyed and fit me best.  My grandparents that year bought me my first set of golf clubs to try out this new sport.  Thankfully we had a tremendous local junior golf program and I began that journey.

I was truly  hooked at 11 when I played my first golf tournament outside of that course.  It was the United Commercial Travelers Junior Golf Tournament qualifier for the state of Missouri.  It was a mere 9 hole qualifier and the night before the area received a lot of rain, which discouraged many players from even showing up.  The field ended up being about a dozen golfers qualifying to go to the national tournament in Victoria, British Columbia.  I can’t even remember what I scored that day but it was enough to earn the victory and get a free trip to Canada for the tournament.  My dad accompanied me on that memorable trip.

I remember thinking, “Wow, all golf tournaments must be like this.  Winning is pretty awesome.”

I remember not playing very well in Canada but what it did do was hook me into the game and so I began giving up other sports one by one.  The person who taught me golf told me I had to either quit baseball or golf, my swing would be mess unless I did so.  My summers became filled with traveling around Missouri and Kansas, playing in golf tournaments and spending endless hours practicing on the driving range and putting green.  Golf to me was perfect for my personality at the time.


Me versus the course.

Me versus the others.

It thought it was perfect.

My college days playing for The University of Evansville

When high school came along I played on the school team.  For the first time in my life I was part of a team.  A golf team?  It is an individual sport, right?  If you have seen The Ryder Cup or The President’s Cup you usually witness a spirit among those players that is unlike any other time in their individual tournaments.  You will see high fives and cheers for each other in individual matches to succeed as well as select formats of two-man best ball and alternate shot.  In team golf there are still individual awards for lowest score but the most important prize goes to the team that wins.

I was hooked.

Throughout high school and eventually in college golf I was a moderate success on an individual basis.  There are 5-6 players that play in tournaments and I was usually the #3-#5 player.  I don’t recall any major wins individually but I do remember every big win our team made.  Even on a day I had a double-eagle in a high school tournament, what was more prominent is that our team, the Webster Groves High School “Statesmen” won that tournament and eventually went on to the state championship tournament. I was elected Captain of the team so it was my duty and pleasure to celebrate that feat. It felt amazing.

The 1997 Webster Groves HS “Statesmen” golf team

Life can be an individual journey. It is your life to live.  But you can’t live it alone and you surely cannot succeed without others.  Even professional golfers have a team of people with them to motivate, teach, and even just listen to them. Most of us in our jobs today work on an individual basis. That mentality is wrong. Look at any successful person in life and you’ll discover their teams.

I love the teams I’m a part of today: My team at work, my church St. Bartholomew, my men’s group, my close friends from Young Life, friends in Kansas City, St. Louis, Evansville, and Nashville, and I would be lost as can be without my family.

My last hole in my college golf was memorable for the most inglorious reason. I duck-hooked my drive into a lake and ended up with double-bogey. I remember being mad at myself because I felt like I let the team down.

I was blessed to graduate a semester early and later the team won a big tournament that spring. That is what I remember most. I’ll take the Ryder Cup competition any day.

Tell me about your teams.



46 responses to Love of Golf, Love of Team


    “Life is individual. It is your life to live. But you can’t live it alone and you surely cannot succeed without others.”

    This is a great quote, applicable so many other things in life outside of sports. Your post makes me want to play golf, and this is coming from a non-golfer who’s been begged to NOT start up because of a horrible swing and sense of direction!

    I actually DID play my first round of golf last summer, but it wasn’t a “real” round. It was a scramble, and each hole had a different gimmick…i.e. putt using only a pool cue, hit a whiffle ball, drive from your knees. Oddly enough, I actually did well with the pool cue.

    This was a great post…the main emphasis is sports, but you say so much about life and living. Kudos to you for being FP, Dave!


    I’ve always loved being part of any team. Basketball and football were always my favorites. Sometimes our teams were horrible, but we all loved playing. I carry that team attitude into my work and always enjoy the people around me. After all, we are always in it together. Even when I run I never really feel alone.


      It’s all about believing in each other and taking the lessons learned from football, basketball, or whatever sport we played, it helps us tremendously. Golf is written off as a team sport but there are really relatively few who just play the game alone. We need each other.


    It’s nice to think back to days of playing on the golf team. I used to work in golf, all the way up to writing and interpreting the Rules of Golf at the United States Golf Association, but my fondest memories of the game, next to countless hours spent on the course with my dad, are of the comaraderie and spirit of the guys on the golf team.

    Thanks for the post.


      You know, I learned the game of golf by joining retired gentlemen. Yes, I heard plenty of 4 letter words but ultimately these were true gentlemen and taught me about companionship, patience, and mentoring.



    This post causes me to want to take my clubs out and go to a driving range. But unfortunately, I’m looking out of the window to several inches of snow.

    I didn’t discover golf until late into my 30’s and, as you have experienced for yourself, it’s not a pretty picture; however, I love the game, being on a golf course with friends.

    I have never been on a team, but I’ve had a team trying to recruit me to play for their competitors. Hmm. 🙂

    Great post!


      Get the sticks ready, we’re playing as soon as this snow goes away.
      Dude, since kids I haven’t played much at all. I need to coerce you to go out whenever possible.

      We need to team it up in a scramble soon.


    Great post! I started out at 16, and am now 21. Though i don’t play very well, I still love going out there playing. My dad taught me, my brother got me interested, and from there I just took it up as my sport to play with them or some of my buds. Cant wait until the winter is over here so I can get out there again and play a round!


      Well Brad we need to hit the sticks as soon as this snow escapes us. Just got 6 inches of snow here.
      Golf brings for relationships so we definitely have to embrace that. I can’t wait to share the game with my young daughters (1 and 2 yrs old right now).


    I should have my husband take my son golfing. He might like it.


      Connie, it’s such an amazing way to connect your husband and son. It doesn’t matter that they are good or bad at the game. It is about connection together. It also helps to have a beautiful surrounding. You also don’t have to play the most expensive courses, just walk, talk, hit and keep going.


    Thanks for this post. I’d never played golf before this year, and although I never thought I’d like it, I think I might already be hooked. Part of what I like about it is that it’s an individualized sport — as you put it, competition against oneself and the course — but I found it interesting to read your words on playing golf and connecting with others. I especially liked your moralizing words: “Life is individual. It is your life to live. But you can’t live it alone and you surely cannot succeed without others.”


      Well I just read your latest post on playing golf in Orlando. I’m glad you had fun there with your boyfriend. I see that you are in Finland too so the snow shall slow down in no time.
      Now I also love going out to play golf by myself. I used to do that before marriage and having two little kids. It is my time of peace and rest of the mind in many ways. The truth is in life I’ve found is the more experience I seek without people involved, the emptier I get. I used to travel throughout Europe for example without people. The interesting parts were meeting others while doing things like standing beneath the Sistine Chapel, getting lost in France, getting robbed in Italy, and going to the World Cup 2006 with a friend from Germany, the UK, and my lovely wife.

      Keep golfing with your boyfriend. You’ll learn more about each other in 18 holes than ever before.


    Great post bossman!! I’m inspired and feel privileged to be a part of one of your teams!


    Great Post . thanks for sharing


    I stopped playing football in 11th grade, to become the lead cheer (not cheerleader…there’s a difference) my senior year.

    My last game I had an interception. Although it may have been my only interception of my 6 year career, it will be one that I will never forget.


      Well whether a hooked drive resulting in a double-bogey or an interception, life is as it is. God picks us up and we keep going. These are the times when God brings clarity at the right time.


    As a coach, one of the most important task I have is to get my athletes to buy into the team. Often today’s athletes focus of getting recognition for what they do instead of focusing on the success of the team. It is funny how once you forget about what you want to accomplish and turn to focus on doing anything to help the team, you usually achieve even more. This past year one of the best coaches of all time passed away, John Wooden. He once said “the main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team”. If more people lived by this it would be amazing what we could accomplish.


      Ryan, it starts with your example and it is obvious by your team’s success this past year that it is working. You are not only sharping these girls to win a championship but to win at life. That is the legacy of John Wooden that YOU are living out. I’m proud to be your cousin!


    Golf is such a great sport and it so relaxing. I try to play every other day in the spring and summer. Great story


    Great blog. Found it by accident.

    Or maybe it was no accident at all.

    Be well.


      No accident my friend. I just read your big goal and left you a comment.
      You can do this. You can.
      Looks like we need to play Pebble Beach sometime. That is on my 101 list as well. I did get to play Torrey Pines a couple months ago. Add that to your list if you haven’t played it. It was so beautiful.


    Great post. Golf is more than a sport. Though I still consider it an individual endeavour, a team sport is also worth considering.


      Indeed. Ultimately it was created as an individual sport but we as people love to congregate and interact. So, the foursome became a staple. The sport has a lot of versatility, no doubt.


    I’m an avid golfer and played on my high school team. I was never very good at golfing. It would have been an amazing day if broke 75. I remember I didn’t shoot below a 100 until the summer of my freshman year. As soon as I was finished I called my dad up and was ecstatic. I told him how I had done so well. I really enjoyed the team aspect of golfing on my high school team. We one a few tournaments. I was always rusty when golf started because I lived up in snowy Michigan and was not able to golf for months. Often times thirst i would golf in a summer was at the country club here my team practiced. Thanks for sharing I really enjoyed reading your story.


      Well it sure sounds like you still have some game. I worked at a country club looping and working in the golf shop. Just met some amazing people and saw the class of the game.
      The irony of writing this today is that we just got dumped with 6 inches of snow here in Nashville. I’m ready for the spring just like you. Golf needs us. We need it.


    It is so important to understand the value of support, no matter what kind of “team” it is. We Americans value our individualism, but we should never forget the other people who help to make us what we become.


    For a non-sporty like me…I have discoverd wii golf! Not quite the same I know, but gives someone like me who does not have an opportunity to try the real thing a taste of the sport… I am hooked!


    2 spelling errors I* thought it was perfect and 9 hole* quilifier


    One of my regrets is when my son was young, I didn’t play golf; so we did not take up the sport together. When played in the correct spirit, golf is about companionship: outdoors with friends and love one, battling the course as much as each other.

    Great post, congratulations on being “pressed.”


      Bill, the great thing is that it’s never too late to take up the game and most especially enjoy it with your son. Enjoy those walks on the course. You’ll treasure them forever. I hope to do the same with my young daughters soon.


    Finding the sport that fits you best takes effort. We did this with our second oldest until he got into Karate. He did it for five years and then left it behind. He would rather be in arts programs. You only find out what you like best by trying it out. Glad you found what you like best.


    I’m all in love for golf too… Thanks for that article! Just read something related here:
    Going to play when weather goes better!


    Golf courses for the most part are immaculate, colorful, and well-planned; everything my life is not, come to think of it. I play for the scenery and aspire to a life where someone carries my bag.


      Deanna, I couldn’t agree more about the scenery with golf courses. They are quite an escape. The one good thing about carrying your own bag is the solid workout. Get out of the cart if you can and enjoy “a good walk spoiled” as Mark Twain put it.


    Congrats on Freshly Pressed, just made it there myself the other day. Golf is my sport, been playing it since about 8 as well and love it. Nice to read this post, it takes me back to my high school team days as well. Look forward to reading more of your stories and I hope you’ll check out mine as well.


      Enjoyed your blog as well, Jim. I think we need to hit the links together. Just curious, when you were in high school golf, did you all play 9 hole matches or 18? Or both? Ours was a mix. Thanks for the honor of being Freshly Pressed. I couldn’t keep up with the comments and traffic.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Tweets that mention Love of Golf, Love of Team « A Letter To America -- - January 10, 2011

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Static Dynamics. Static Dynamics said: Static Dynamics: Love of Golf, Love of Team: When I was 8 years old my family moved across … […]

  2. Love of Golf, Love of Team (via A Letter To America) | showthedoubters - January 24, 2011

    […] Love of Golf, Love of Team (via A Letter To America) Posted on January 24, 2011 by showthedoubters When I was 8 years old my family moved across town in Kansas City and found a lovely house that sat above the first hole of an executive (shortened) 9 hole golf course.  Like most kids that age, I was playing soccer, baseball, basketball, and tennis.  Later I even tried football. I was doing way too much but my parents were just trying to test out what I enjoyed and fit me best.  My grandparents that year bought me my first set of golf clubs to t … Read More […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s