I wasn’t expecting to play nine holes of golf when I went home to see my family last weekend. With a busy schedule of a birthday party for my nephews, seeing friends, trying to squeeze in a bike ride and not much time to do it all, I told my dad there wasn’t enough time to get nine holes in. 

What I should have been expecting is that I was going to be playing golf no matter how little time there was to do it because my dad never takes no for an answer, especially when I’m home and he feels like golfing. After a short, but effective, guilt trip from him to me, we set a tee time for 10:30 the following morning. 

Fair enough, I thought. I love golf and a few hours on the course with my brother and dad is never a bad thing. However, I was adamant that I got a good bike ride in while I was home. Living in Chicago means having to ride at least 45 minutes to get away from lots of traffic to enjoy a peaceful ride. When I’m back home in Chardon, the open roads and hills are aplenty. Plus, the weather was going to be nice. Good for golf and riding. 

I pulled up Google Maps on my phone and found out the course was 13.5 miles from my house. That was enough for me because I knew after all the hills I’d be riding to get there, it would be just enough to get some training in and not be completely spent for nine holes. 

I got up at 8:00 a.m., suited up and took off for a chilly morning ride. When I finally got to the course, the priceless looks from all the other golfers of me in my cycling kit made it all worthwhile. I highly doubt many people in the area ride their bikes to go golfing and I probably would be giving the same glances myself if I was on the other end of the situation. 

What was harder than any of the hills I had to ride was having to play without my own clubs. My brother has a nice set of Mizuno’s with a new Callaway X Hot driver and I used those a little bit during the round. The driver was especially nice. But for the few holes where we found ourselves on completely opposite sides of the hole, I was forced to use a very old set of Titliest clubs that I used to routinely play years ago. Put it this way, they had no pop back then either. 

Overall, I was pretty happy with my first nine holes of the year. Even though I shot a pathetic 53, a score I haven’t shot in many years on nine, I scrapped out a few pars and was on for birdy on multiple holes. The problem? I had two 8’s on my scorecard, lost a couple balls, and used two different putters through the whole nine. Needless to say, I never found much of a groove playing with a bunch of different clubs that were foreign to me. 

In the end, it wasn’t about the clubs or the scorecard, though. It was simply about getting out on the course on a nice April morning with my dad and brother. I never should have considered not playing that nine and I’m glad I did. 

I’ll take a nice bike ride, 53 on the scorecard, and time with my family any Saturday morning.