As a companion to the New Jersey Golf article on Fathers & Golf we offer this post and the opportunity for you to share stories about golf and your Dad. Send us your thoughts and we will include them here. I've asked a few friends to get us started.
Chris Housen, Manasquan River Golf Club:
“One early memory that's special to me was playing in the NJSGA Father & Son in my mid-teens at Forsgate CC. I played with my father Bob, and my father and grandfather [Ducky] teamed up as well. To be able to spend the day with my father and grandfather, competing with them side-by-side, and having prime rib dinner afterwards talking and laughing about the rounds were special times. Without the sport of golf I would never have shared as much time with my father [plus both grandfathers, my mother, brother, etc.] Golf has given my family so much, for which I am very thankful.”
Will King, Son of NJSGA Caddie Scholarship Director and NJPGA Hall of Famer, Bill King:
“I've learned some of the most important lessons that a father can teach a son from Dad on and around the golf course: holding oneself accountable, dealing with successes and failures, and building good relationships with other people to name a few. I've seen golf as a means to support a family, a stage for an incredible athletic career, and a way to pass down stories from one generation to another. Dad has shown me a depth of artistry and engineering behind the game that I feel like I am only beginning to appreciate. I am incredibly lucky that he shared his passion with me and that it is something we can enjoy together for our whole lives.”
Sherry Herman, 2009 USGA Senior Amateur Champion, NJSGA Hall of Fame:
“I was the only left-handed person in my family. My dad had an amazing passion for the game of golf, he was at best a 10 handicap, mostly I remember him being a 14 handicap golfer. When I 11 years old, my dad took me to our back yard and introduced me to the golf swing with a left-handed iron. He was right-handed, but tried to teach me to swing lefty. I was asking so many questions and he was getting confused & frustrated, so finally he said “here!” - handed me his right-handed golf club!
My thrill growing up was to be able to spend time with my dad on the golf course. I took to golf, playing right-handed, like a duck to water! My dad recognized this and many times would take me to area PGA golf professionals to help with my swing. Not 1 golf pro would change a thing! They each said I had natural swing and just let me be. Out of default, my dad became my golf instructor and we formed a very close bond through the game of golf.
My dad passed way too early in a car accident. He never got to see or experience any of my amateur golf successes. However, there is not a day that goes by that I do not think of him, especially on the golf course. One of the tips I use to this day, is to not think about golf between shots, but once I approach my golf ball, take the time to think about the shot I want to hit and then do so.
I know I owe all my golf success to my father. I am forever grateful for the special bond we had because of golf and the life this sport to given to me and more importantly, my family. We would never have had the travel experiences, the memories we talk so fondly of from time to time and the overall sense of joy and accomplishment we share. I’ve met the most wonderful people and formed lifelong friendships through the game of golf. It all goes back to that afternoon when I was 11 years old in my backyard when my dad decided to “turn me around” and play golf right-handed!”
Thomas O’Neill, 2020 NJSGA Junior Champion, Hackensack Golf Club:
“After every single golf match or tournament, I have my dad waits at home for me so I can tell him the shot by shot and how we finished up. It’s a little thing but something I look forward to every day.”
“When my dad started taking me on the golf course as a kid, we would get to Hendricks before sunrise to put our names on the tee sheet. I would sleep in the car until our tee time and walk 18 holes in record time just trying to keep up with him. Even though I was mostly in a sleepy daze for the first few holes, especially into my teenage years, those weekend rounds were the best father-daughter time spent of my childhood that continues throughout adulthood. On the golf course is where we have some of our best, and toughest, conversations about anything and everything. It continues to be a bonding experience that I not only still share with him, but that he now also enjoys with his grandchildren. I am forever grateful that he pushed me into this game and shared the sport that he loves.”
Michael Sargenti, Assistant Golf Professional, Knickerbocker Country Club:
"My dad taught me the game of golf when I was about 12 years old and it became a true passion of mine right from the start. Growing up and going on vacations my dad and I would get together and pick out different golf courses that we could play and spend time together. My dad and the game of golf have taught me the true meaning of hard work, determination, discipline, patience, and never giving up when things go wrong. These are lessons that I still value to this day and cannot wait to pass these lessons along to my twin boys."
John Babcock, son of Phillips Babcock, long time NJSGA Tournament Official:
“I have so many wonderful memories of playing golf with my father, as I do currently with my now 30 year-old son. It’s hard for me to choose amongst a lifetime of golf experiences with my father, but there is one I will never forget:
I’m an avid reader of golf books – biographies, fiction and non-fiction. In 2004, I read a book called Final Rounds by James Dodson. Dodson grew up in a “golf family” and he and his father had always talked about traveling to Scotland and England (where his father was stationed during WWII) to play together. But, like for many of us, real life got in the way and they never were able to make good on that trip. Finally, the author, then in his 40’s with a family of his own, and his father finally made plans for the trip. The book is not really about golf, rather the real-life relationship between a father and son – things that happened, differences never resolved, things that were said (our unsaid) and a re-connection on their trip. Golf was the thread as it was for me and my father - something that he and I could always do together – whether playing, watching, or talking about it – our common bond and our shared love of the game.
One of my favorite books ever. After reading it, I gave it to my father to read and he was similarly moved and inspired. The following year, he and I took a trip to Scotland together – just he and I. The following year, 2006 it was a threesome – me, my 78-year-old dad and my 15-year old son, Cory. We played St. Andrews, Carnoustie, North Berwick, Gullane (I and 2), and Dunbar. It was a trip of a lifetime for my son (his first golf trip ever) and for me as well - a trip to the home of golf for three generations of Babcock’s. An experience I’ll never forget and the last golf trip for my Dad and I together.”
Bob Housen, Eight-time NJSGA Amateur Champion, NJSGA Hall of Fame:
"I've been truly blessed to have played countless rounds of golf with my parents, my wife, all of my children, and now I'm introducing my grandchildren to the sport that has given me so much."
Sean Murphy, son of Brian, Hackensack Golf Club:
“My favorite thing about golf and my relationship with my dad, is golfs ability to connect different generations who share the same passion for the game. Specifically, playing golf with my dad has connected me with his friends and vice versa to form lifelong friendships.
His 65th birthday was the pinnacle of this, as he brought 3 friends to Bandon Dunes and I did as well to celebrate his birthday. It was my favorite golf trip to date, even though the veterans won the match.”
Morgan Hoffmann, PGA Tour Professional:
“My dad got me into golf. I was teeing up Titleist Balata’s in the cracks of our floorboards while still in diapers. He brought me to every junior event I played. He was and is my biggest fan and biggest critic. He was a great player, better than scratch; so growing up I longed to beat him. That day came around the age of 12 at Arcola CC and I’ll never forget it. I’ll also never forget the tears we shed when I played in my first Masters. It has been an incredible journey and I owe it to my Dad, supporting me like no other from day one, giving all he had for me to succeed. Thanks Dad.”
Tara Fleming, Two-time winner of the NJSGA Women’s Mid-Amateur:
“I lost my Dad almost 4 years ago and I think of him every day. Competitive golf has not been the same without him physically here in my corner, but I’m trying to figure it out. Hopefully this is the year!
My favorite story about golf and my Dad comes from his executive assistant. When playing junior golf, I’d have to call my Dad after every round. I’d call, she’d say, “another tournament?” I’d say, “how did you know?” She said, “Your Dad starts pacing in his office and that’s the sign that Tara should be finishing up her round. I will put you through.”
I know Dad is up there pacing. Hope to give him a reason the cheer this year!”
Add your story to the list. Tell us about your Dad or what makes golf your thing. Share your love affair with golf by sending an email to email@example.com and we will include it here.