Golf - Make Some Family Memories

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Memorial Day weekend is here. The kids are out of school ' or soon to be out and it's time to look toward summer.
 
So whats there to do? Have you got it figured out yet? How many camps have you signed up your youngster(s) for?
 
How quickly can we pass them off to someone else so that our lives can remain - for the most part ' uninterrupted? Not so fast. Just hold on.
 
Heres what crossed my mind today as I, myself, begin to think about what is in store for the kids this summer. Golf. And a good dose of it for each of the three children I call my own.
 
I have three children. Twins (girl and boy) who will soon be 8 and another girl whos 4 and believes shes 8. The truth of it is that my son enjoys the game immensely and throughout the school year he goes to a golf clinic/camp one day a week at our club here in Windermere, Fla.
 
His interest actually peaked last summer as he spent three separate weeks attending a junior camp where kids gather from about 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day during the week. It started as just one week. But he liked it so much, he kept asking to do it again.
 
Nothing too intense. Working on the fundamentals, chipping and putting contests and range work, followed by a few holes on the course and some lunch. Time with friends was just as important. The fact that he could 'wedge in' a few chips and Gatorades on my account was a pretty cool feature as well.
 
I call it 'exposure.'
 
But while thats all fine and dandy, I can tell you that theres just something different about doing it as a father and a son. Or, for that matter, a father and a daughter (or two.) If your kids are like mine ' they just like being out on the course. Hit a few balls, fill a few divots, ride around in the cart, etc.
 
My girls arent as involved in camp as my son is. They like gymnastics and cheerleading, ballet and other activities more than they have a passion for golf. But they love the idea of going to the golf course.
 
And with this as my storyline ' Ive come to believe that theres just something different about this game over any other. Its about camaraderie. Its about relationships. Its about time. Golf is 'quality time' if you do it right.
 
I remember my grandfather taking an interest in me and the game years ago. I was probably about 10. My Dad wasnt playing back then because of back trouble, so 'Gramps' and I used to play the par-3 course near my house in the Chicago suburbs.
 
More than anything I loved the individual challenge.
 
My first official round of 18 holes still sticks in my mind. It came at my grandfathers course in Peachtree City, Ga. I shot 123 playing with his retired buddies.
 
Today, at 92 years of age and living in Southlake, Texas, hes still with me and we still talk about the game just as we did then. He asks about the tournaments I watch or have been to ' I tell him what I know. He asks about my most recent round of golf ' I tell him where it went right and where it went wrong.
 
My parents got me a great set of clubs as a college graduation gift. And that took me to another level of interest. My Dad picked up the game again which made things even better for me.
 
Now that I have my own children, I havent forgotten for a minute what fun I had just being out there. Sure it was about 'the score' and improving. But scoring time with family or friends is whats so great about the game.
 
So why am I writing this? Good question. But Memorial Day ' if you break it down ' is about memories, and remembering. Its about honoring and treasuring. And golf is the perfect way to create those memories, and find those simple treasures.
 
To me, as I said, it hit home this week on a day off taking my son to his Wednesday golf camp. I had taken the girls along too, and together we all had fun. We got there early and waited for things to get going. My son 'took me on' in our 'dont 3-putt contest,' while the girls took sand out of the carts and 'filled in' the bare spots around the green. Even the chips and soda in the grillroom passed the time perfectly. Thirty minutes was all that passed on the clock ' but it felt like just the right amount of time to do something together.
 
Like you Im sure, so often Im left to think about the missed putt that kept me out of the 70s or the bad drive that led to a double. But Wednesday was proof at just how therapeutic this game can be without even playing a hole.
 
This weekend might leave you with many options to fill the time together. Dont count on me to tell you what to do. But I can say that I might just take 'em out again for an hour on the range and a hole or two in the cart. Just enough to keep 'em understanding that this game is good for more than just a number at the end of the day.
 
I think it's about whatever you want it to be. And how many games or activities give us that opportunity?
 
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann