Three generations of golf: memories of my father and son on the course

By Daniel Scott

On Father’s Day, I reflect back on my years with my father, and also the years with my son Danny. My time with my father and with my son Danny was relatively brief, about 20 years each. Father’s Day is a time for me to give thanks, and remember the good times with each of them. 

Growing up, I was the youngest of five children and my next oldest sibling was seven years older than me. In some ways, I was like an only child by the time I was of school age. My father was my best friend growing up; we shared many interests, especially golf. Dad, in his mid-50s, was a top golfer when I was young. He made my first golf club for me when I was seven years old, cutting down a Kroydon 6 iron to my size. Soon we began to play golf together and I started to caddy for him on weekends. Golf became a strong bond between us, telling each other about the highs and lows of our rounds. One year, we teamed up and won the father-son golf event at our club.

My father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at age 60. The disease progressed, and gradually took away my father’s abilities over the next decade. It was a painful experience of loss for me and our whole family. My dad and I had 20 good years together before his illness, and I’m thankful for him and the time we shared. He taught me the value of family time. 

My wife, Joan, and I adopted our son Danny as an infant in 1991, a year after my father died. I was excited and ready to be a dad. Danny grew to be a happy and healthy young boy. Next thing you know, Danny was golfing in the back yard with toy clubs, then a junior set a few years later, to which I added the Kroydon 6 iron. One day when he was young, we played a par-3 course together. I remember Danny launching a beautiful tee shot with the 6 iron, the ball rolling onto the green and hitting the flagstick – almost a hole-in-one! His grandfather would have been so proud. In that moment, our three generations were connected.

My daughter Christy has become a golfer too. Christy and I will play golf this Father’s Day. Years ago, Danny swung and broke my 3 iron in half at a driving range. As a Christmas gift to me a few years ago, Christy sent the club to the manufacturer for repair. Now I have a good-as-new 3 iron, my favorite club, and known as the “Danny club.” I think of him nowadays when I use the 3 iron. Golf is good.

Danny had many talents but he also had mental health challenges, which increased in his later years.  Despite his many successes and zest for life, Danny died by suicide at age 20. Today it has been more than 11 years since Danny left us, and since I became a bereaved father. His death has changed my life forever. I am thankful for the 20 years Danny and I shared, but still carry the weight of his absence, and mourn the loss of his future. Gone too soon, part of me went with him, and part of him stays with me. I am still his father, he will always be my son.

I miss my dad and my son greatly, and wish I had had more years with each of them, but I know in my heart how lucky I am to have had my dad’s love and guidance, followed by the gift of being Danny’s dad.

Wishing peace on this Father’s Day to all those who have lost their dad and/or their child.