When my father died, I just couldn't face teeing it up again. I just knew that returning to our club would bring the memories flooding back, and though they were good memories, I just didn't want to play there again without the old Colonel. My friends understood and didn't push me to come back, so I didn't hit a ball for at least three months after my father passed away.
Finally, my friend Steve convinced me it was time and we headed to the course. Steve, his dad, Leftie and I teed it up and made our way around the Picton course. As we played, I spent most of my time silently conversing with my father. It was okay to be back playing, but I still had mixed emotions about it.
On the sixteenth hole, which is a reasonably short par five of four hundred and sixty yards or so, I hit my drive into the left rough and had a little over two hundred yards to the green. I pulled my nine wood, which may not be very macho, but it's pretty useful from the rough. Besides, I'm a lousy long iron player, so what are you going to do? Steve was standing next to me, and as soon as I struck it, I said, "It's perfect."
We watched the ball sail towards the green, take one hop and trickle straight into the hole for a double eagle. The boys were hooting and hollering and I was crying. It was my first double eagle, and it happened the first time I played after my father's death.
The older I get the less I know for sure. In fact, sometimes I wish I could go back to being twenty one when I knew everything. But I am not a great believer in coincidence, so I have to figure the Colonel was sending me a message. He was telling me to get back out there and just keep hitting it, even if it had to be without him. My buddies felt the same way. The old Colonel had to somehow have been involved in that double eagle.
Maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part, because I would have loved to make that shot with my old father looking on. I hope he was watching. I feel he was watching, and I hope somehow that he understands that shot was for him.