One of my first memories of spending time on a golf course with a friend happened at Concord Country Club. I was a guest of my friend Eliot, we were both 6th graders slapping the ball around the front nine. From my perspective, the place was huge, much bigger and harder than my local 9-hole course that costed my parents 180 bucks a summer for my junior membership (probably prorated out to $1 a round, cheapest babysitter in the world).
Anyway, the day was incredibly hot and our attention span was that of, well, 6th grade boys. We were fading, and decided the 5th hole would be just the right amount of golf for the day. The clubhouse wasn’t too far a walk away.
Flash-forward 24 years and Eliot and I were slapping it around Concord CC again this weekend as teammates in the Dawson Cup, a two-man best ball tournament that we are fortunately invited to every August; it’s an annual reminder that there are plenty of far better golfers than us around and we need to practice more. It’s always a great two days, both because of the course and getting to spend two days with a good friend in the place our friendship was born playing the game that has kept us friends all these years later.
In the 24 years between, I have played Concord many, many times. I’ve played it for fun, I’ve played it for my high school, I’ve played it where every freaking shot counts and you’re grinding and telling yourself that it’s supposed to be fun. I’ve played the course well (even par 70 a few years back) and I’ve played it poorly (losing high school matches).
The other piece about playing Concord with Eliot is that half of our usual foursome that isn’t around anymore. Eliot’s dad, Rob, and my dad have both passed away in the last six years; we played matches at Concord frequently; it was always “The Pups” versus “The Old Dogs.” We had a trophy for the yearly winner of this series of matches, which Eliot dug up last year in his basement. We called it the “Piss Pot Open.” The foursome had some incredible highlights: trips to Ireland, Bermuda, Myrtle Beach (and a dinner at HOOTERS when Eliot’s dad made an executive decision…). We had two hole in ones over the years (one at Concord’s 12th hole) and also one exploding golf ball (thanks to some subterfuge on Eliot’s part and my dad’s double vision).
Golf, unlike many sports, actually allows us to play with our parents. Yes, you can go have a catch with your mom or dad, or kick a soccer ball around, but on Saturday mornings, your parents aren’t tossing on a uniform and hopping in goal for the club team (although, I can image some parents wishing they could…). With golf though, you are able to play and compete with parents (tennis might fit this bill, too). A benchmark for improvement is beating your parent at the game that they might have introduced to you. Just this weekend a friend of mine posted on instagram a picture of his scorecard, he had beaten his dad for the first time. Even in your 30s, it matters.
There are few places in the world that I can mark so many points in my life, Concord CC is one of them. Whether it’s friendships or my high school matches or the last 15 years of enjoying the course the and people I’m playing with.
Going back to Concord since Eliot’s dad passed away last year is a bit more challenging. He was a personality at Concord, everyone knew him and to know him meant you loved him: Think Jeff Daniels or Jeff Bridges. A big personality with a kind heart and endless jokes and stories.
Now, the “Pups” are left as a twosome, and this past weekend, wandering down the fairways with Eliot there are those crazy little reminders of how much fun it would be to have one more walk with the four of us around Concord. One more first tee negotiation about my dad’s handicap, one more quip from Rob, or one of Rob’s deft chip shots with his trusty 7-iron, or my dad inevitably sinking one ridiculous putt on the back nine and Rob barking like an Old Dog.
While I’m going to play a lot of golf courses in the future, and I’ll think about my dad and Rob a lot while chasing a golf ball; Concord CC, with it’s rolling hills, towering trees, and incredible layout will always feel special. It’s special place and I look forward to more great memories in the future there.