Skip to content

A singular moment of perfection

Father’s Day. Charlie and I are playing golf. He’s played maybe a dozen times and is starting to get serious about the game.

He’s hitting the ball consistently, asking good questions, choosing clubs wisely, and no longer putting nine times on a green.

He’s focused. Lacking skills or understanding for much of the game, to be sure, but he’s genuinely trying to get better.

Lessons and a new set of clubs are in his future.

Lucky him. I didn’t start playing until I was 32 when a friend bought a set of irons for $10 at a yard sale, tied them together with a red ribbon, and tossed them into my truck. I added a putter for $1 and later, a driver and a couple of woods as a bachelor party gift.

It took me another 15 years to finally start taking lessons.

I’m also a lefty, playing right-handed, which undoubtedly makes things a little more challenging.

Starting the game at an early age will help.

It’s been a great round. Charlie and I have talked, laughed a lot, told stories, and enjoyed each other’s company.

We’re standing in the tee box on the final hole – a short par 4. Given Charlie’s age and experience, we’re playing from the red tees, making the distance to the pin only 215 yards. There are sand traps to the left and right of the green, and it’s a disaster if you hit the ball left or long, but it’s otherwise not too hard of a hole.

Charlie hits his best tee shot of the day. It flies high and right of the green, coming to a rest about 20 yards short of the pin in the rough. It’s a great shot—his best of the day.

My tee shot lands just short of the green.

I chip to about 10 feet of the hole, giving me a possible birdie putt to end the round.

Charlie chips onto the fringe. He’s about 20 feet from the cup, pin high—another good shot.

Chalie putts. The ball rolls true and drops into the hole for a birdie. His first birdie ever. The boy has never had a par before, but now he has a birdie. The excitement of the ball dropping into the cup is palpable, but here is what I will never forget:

Charlie looks up at me, mouth agape. Then he smiles. He drops his putter and sprints towards me across the green, absolute joy on his face. Then he leaps into my arms, shouting, “I did it! I did it!”

The feeling of his body connecting with mine.

His weight in my arms.

His voice, shouting in joy.

The birdie was great. Unbelievable. But his reaction was unforgettable. A moment that will live with me forever.

I then proceed to miss my birdie putt, settling for a par, making it the first hole that Charlie defeated me.

He doesn’t even taunt me. Maybe it’s because it’s Father’s Day, and he, too, knows that we have just experienced a singular moment of absolute perfection.