First, I should say I am not, nor have I ever been a golfer. However, my father was for most of his life, so I grew up knowing all of the terms for the game, as well as the big name players. (Though I thought for years Lawrence Welk and Mitch Miller were golfing buddies with Arnold Palmer.) I was not allowed to speak when we watched a televised tournament, but my father could, after the play, as the crowd murmured. He would try to explain what had happened, what could have happened, and if he would have done it differently. There was always some math involved, or geometry. Me being all of about seven years old, somehow saw this as a combination of my father's job as a teacher and how he expected us to act in church. The exception being we could call grownups by their first names.

When we moved from New York to New Jersey, our new house had no grass yet on the front lawn. As kids, we thought this was fine, an endless supply of mud pies and mud grenades material right outside our front door. My poor mother still talks about it to this day. My father, originally from Brooklyn, decided to build a putting green on the front yard. He convinced my mother it would be for the children, but we all knew he was building it for himself.

Despite his Depression era mentality that lasted almost his entire life, he purchased and planted Zoysia grass. My mother was furious but said nothing, something I did not inherit from her. Now, fifty years later, that grass covers almost the entire front yard. Although my Dad died ten years ago on this day, we still find an old golf ball or wooden tee now and then. When he no longer could play, he gave his entire set to a young Irish priest, who had always been quite kind to our family.

It's almost impossible to separate what I learned from golf from what I learned from my father. Be silent at the right times. Always play fair. Be courteous to others, even if you're having a bad day. Don't boast about your achievements. Be encouraging. Spend money on things of good quality and lasting value. Don't let a little rain or clouds stop you from playing. Don't linger on mistakes or losses, but look forward to the next time you play. Don't stop playing.