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Senior Golfer - On The Green

Lessons learned from your father

The Putting Green

The third Sunday in June is Father's Day, and it also happens to coincide with the final round of the U.S. Open. It's a good time to combine both occasions by reflecting on the lessons you learned from your father and the game of golf.

My dad taught me many lessons, perhaps the most important of which was the ability to thnk of others even as you were undergoing some difficult times. There were 10 kids in our family, I was the oldest, and I was the oldest, and I was the one my father took on all "his sidejobs," that he undertook to put food on the table.

My dad was an electrician who started up his own company. Instead of spending my Saturdays and Sundays during the summer listening to the radio or watching or playing sports, I was out helping my dad complete some electrical jobs. I don't know how my dad got these jobs, but they were in some of the worst basements, houses, and buildings I've ever seen.

Well, at more than one location, my dad completed the job and the person who was to pay for his labor said, "I can't pay you now because of a sickness in the family. Could you wait until next week?" Next week came and went, my dad never got paid, and he always told me, "Son, don't worry about money. If you're healthy and happy and have a good relationship with the Lors, all the rest will take of itself." That's a pricless lesson that I've carried with me all of my life.

Now, my dad wasn't a golfer, but I did have a "father" figure at Midlothian Country CLub, where I learned how to caddy and play the game of golf from two great professionals, Tony Holguin and Joe Jimmenez.

I started caddying when I was 10 - I misspoke about my age and my buddy's dad know the caddymaster. Every Saturday morning, between 6:00 and 7:00, Tony and Joe taught the kids how to caddy for 30 minutes, and how to play golf for 30 minutes. Why? because they beleived the best caddies were those who knew about the game and how to play the game.

But the best lesson Joe taught me came not at these Saturday morning sessions, but rather at the caddy championship when I was 15. I was playing in the final group, had a two-shot lead going to 18, and was playing against one of the top 10 high school golfers in the state at that time.

To make a long story short, I three-putted from 20 feet and lost the championship by a stroke. After the round was completed, I started crying and Joe took me aside, looked me in the eyes and said, "Jerry, this is a game. We try hard, play hard, and we win or lose. It's not whether we win or lose, but rather the effort you put into playing that counts. In life, you'll find the same thing. People think that money and winning is all that counts, but it's really not!" This is lesson No.2.

Finally, I've tried to get my kids involved in the game of golf, but have not succeded. I've bought them clubs, taken them out to driving ranges and golf courses, and while they play the game, but they're not "addicted" to it like their dad.

I recently asked them if they've learned any lessons from the game of golf, and they gave me this strange look as if I was crazy. Then, my daughter blurted out, "Yeah, we learned one. If we are as passionate about anything as Dad is about golf, we'll be in great shape!"

So, enjoy this Father's Day, the final round of the U.S. Open, and be thankful for both of these blessings!