Happiest Shot On Earth

The goal of this blog is to explore the enjoyment people find playing golf. From time to time I will share the experiences that have shaped my love for the game. This is one of those times.

I am a proud dad. I have four wonderful kids who amaze me on a regular basis. My two oldest are 12 and 10 and for the past three years I have been bringing them with me to play golf. Now I could dedicate an entire post to the dos and don’ts of playing golf with your kids so I will save that discussion for another time. Today I’d like to focus on one particular moment that happened two years ago, a magical morning at the happiest place on earth.

 All I see is a golf ball. 

All I see is a golf ball. 

It was spring break and we decided to take the 3,795 mile journey to Orlando, Florida. Disney World is indeed a special place. I, for one, don’t mind the hustle and bustle of amusement parks. However, the persistent din of thousands of humans can be invasive. Perhaps that’s what made our morning 9 at Oak Trail seem that much more pleasant.

 Family golf

Family golf

Oak Trail is a walking 9-hole par 36 course playing at 2,913 yards from the “tips” and a reasonable 1,713 yards for the kids, making it about as family-friendly as they come.

The foursome that day was my father-in-law, myself and my two sons, at that time they were 10 and 8 respectively.  It was an early tee time but quite necessary for us Alaskans not accustom to playing in the Floridian elements.

 Photo op 

Photo op 

    With no range session available  it was a breakfast ball kind of morning on the first tee. The dew was thick and the birds were chirping. We felt like we had the course to ourselves.

 Play 9 

Play 9 

    The second hole, a nondescript par 3 measuring 101 for the kids was as good an occasion as any to get out the GoPro and capture the swing of my youngest son. What happened next will forever be etched in my memory.

Hank is a bit of a wild man and his swing can be unpredictable at times. Frankly I don’t think I’ve ever seen two that were the same. His pre-shot routine is art and this one involved his best Nadal impression as he picked his wedgie. No practice swing needed, with a ¾ swing 6-iron (still my son’s favorite club) the ball was quickly air born. It had a low trajectory but was immediately on a great line. I begged for it to be right and as it hit the front of the green I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. With a hop, a skip, and a roll the ball found the bottom of the hole.

My immediate reaction was to throw the camera in the air as if I didn't care. (I’d like to take a moment and thank the good people at GoPro for making sturdy cameras that can withstand the exuberance of an overjoyed father) My father-in-law and I proceeded to scream like little children. After a few seconds I picked up the camera and caught the tail end of my son’s reaction. The ear-to ear grin was dialed in and spectacular.

We raced to the green to assure ourselves that what we just witnessed was not a dream. As we did, a nearby foursome playing the neighboring course diverted their carts to our fairway to congratulate Henry and shake his hand. I managed to record his victory march and retrieval of the ball, a Disney logo special that was immediately put away for safekeeping.

The rest of the round was a blur. I know we played some golf and each of us hit few good shots. When we returned to the pro shop I shared the exciting news and Disney World did exactly what you’d expect, they took down his name, the hole, yardage, club selection, and date. A few weeks later a plaque arrived at our door and it proudly hangs in my sons room.

I’m still waiting for my first hole-in-one. It may never happen, but being there to witness my son’s was something I will never forget.

Enjoy Golf & Golf with your kids