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Bill Geist
April 16, 2001
The author and his son may have bonded on the golf course, but it wasn't over their love of the game
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April 16, 2001

Pop Culture

The author and his son may have bonded on the golf course, but it wasn't over their love of the game

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Golf, they say, is a tie that binds: golfers and friends, golfers and wives, golfers and clients, golfers and absolute strangers.

Golfers and psychiatrists, golfers and bartenders, golfers and lending institutions, golfers and divorce lawyers.

Golfers and Sons. Now that would be a nice, heartwarming book in itself, wouldn't it? But that would not be this book. This book contains just this one, grisly chapter on this golfer and his son.

My father didn't teach me to play golf. He referred to golf as "pasture pool," a foolish waste of time to his way of thinking and one for which God could not possibly have put us here on earth. A plausible argument, certainly, except Dad apparently did believe God intended us instead to be mowing the lawn properly and washing the car. It's possible. You know what they say about cleanliness.

Dad didn't approve of golf, and he certainly didn't approve of the country club where the game was played. He didn't approve of drinking alcoholic beverages either, and those were the two predominant activities offered to members. Oh, they did play cards there, too, which Father referred to as "mental masturbation."

My son, Willie, was a high school football and basketball star, but minor sports have always posed problems—for both of us, especially when we're together. Fishing comes to mind. We rose at dawn to fish a few hot spots in Canada and never caught a thing. We went fly casting in Montana for eight hours with a guide and caught one trout, at a cost of about $275 a pound. We used to go out before dawn to surf-cast in Nantucket and not catch anything.

A defining moment was seeing my son, who was probably about 14, one chilly summer's morn, standing 50 feet away in the fog, knee-deep in the Atlantic and casting, casting, casting.... As he reeled in perhaps his 100th fruitless try, he called out to me.

"Hey, Dad!"

"Yes, son."

"This reeeally sucks!"

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