by Jon G.
(Michigan )

We drive there early in the morning, a place we love, a place we call our second home. The morning maintenance crew is still out tending to the long, lush fields of green grass. My dad and I walk out on the course, making the first footprints in the dewy grass. The morning is beautiful-- the birds are chirping, singing their songs, the different plants spill out from the forest's edge. The morning breeze pushes us along.

I remember the first time my dad and I played here-- late in the afternoon, playing on the "little kid" course. It was fun back then-- I would focus and stare at the ball as if I could hit a mile in front of me, then I'd swing my club only to see the ball go a foot or two in front of me. Proud of my shot I'd run up to the ball and hit it again, leaving everything behind. This is how I golfed each hole, "finishing" one, eager to start another.

Nowadays, my golfing skills have improved. I follow the same routine for each swing. I pick my target somewhere in the hazy distance, the flag of the hole swaying in the wind from side to side. I aim towards the flag, gripping the club my own special way and focusing-- getting in the zone, imaging the perfect shot. I bring my club back just the way my dad taught me how, and follow through with the swing... I watch the white ball float and soar through the air.

Back when I was little and really learning to swing a golf club, I remember a particular swing that my dad was really impressed with. "Wow, that was nice," he said. "Keep it up and you'll be hitting farther than me!" I smiled and laughed, but inside I took this seriously. I tried so hard to swing like that one particular swing again so I could squeak another compliment out of my dad. Occasionally I can, after a good hit, good swing, or when I need something to perk me up.

And when the day is over I am tired, sure, but I'd out go back out on the golf course with my dad in any second again. Over the years together, I learned that it isn't the golf course that I keep coming back to.

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