Do You Really Love Golf?
Last Friday night, I lost my best golf buddy. So, I write with a heavy heart.

What brought us together was that Alan had the most genuine love for the game of golf of anyone I have ever known. He constantly told me that I was the luckiest guy in the world to be able to make my living in this business, around this game. And when I told him I was working on the Ben Hogan deal many months ago, he was ecstatic for me, and lived this story as it developed, as if it was his own. He was a fan, a best friend, and a confidant — and I'm not hesitant in the least to tell you I genuinely loved this big old teddy bear.

I rode in the passenger side of our cart almost every Friday for the past five years, and to be out there on the course was a high point of his every week. He toiled in the emergency room from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., went home and showered, took a short nap, and came out to the club by 10:00 or so. It was a thrill for him to spend time putting, hitting chip shots, going to the range, and finally be at the first tee for our noon game.

He cherished each and every moment he spent at the club. He loved everyone, from the golf buddies, to those we never actually teed it up with, to each of the employees. He spoke to everyone as if they were the most important people in the world. And to him, at that moment in time, I believe they were.

What dawns on me as I prepare to speak at his service tomorrow is that I never once saw him get angry on the golf course. He dealt with his bad shots with a simple "Oh, Alan!", followed by an intensified focus on the next one. And he approached that recovery shot after a bad swing with an obvious joy at the thrill of being able to pull it off.

Wow. What can we all learn from that?

As for me, I'm going to try to approach every round of golf from now on — every single shot, whether on the course or on the practice grounds... with the joy and excitement that Alan exhibited. By nature, I'm wound up pretty tight, but I'm going to try to honor Alan by lightening up a bit and 'smelling the roses" of just what this game has given, and continues to give to me.

I don't really have any words of wisdom for you today, but maybe this story of genuine love for the game will help all of us understand that we are extremely fortunate to be able to tee it up, however often or seldom that might be. We are blessed to have been introduced to this wonderful game by a father or friend, mentor or casual acquaintance.

In my life, it was my father, who also was my hero. And I now reflect on how Alan, in effect, re-introduced me to this wonderful game. I'm just sorry that it took losing him to realize what he taught me.

I love you, Buddy — and I'm going to miss you.
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[ comments ]
joe jones says:
Terry. My heartfelt condolences. At my age I lose friends all too often. Thank you for this article. Many of us would like to be able to put our feelings into words but few have the ability.
jrbizzle says:
So sorry to hear. As the saying goes, "it is better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all." All my respects to your departed dear friend, and much credit to you for honoring him with your true, unfiltered feelings.
onedollarwed says:
I'm fond of saying "If I'm playing golf, I've already won."
We're in the gravy;
We're taking scooping gravy off the cake;
We're eating the bacon on the baked potato;
I currently have no golf buddy,
who coached me,
who I came to surpass,
Who really is interested in my game and how I'm hitting it.
My golf buddy is 3000 miles away, has suffered injuries;
has bad eyes.
But we love the game and have shared that.
One day I hope to share it with my kids, maybe soon now too.
And we share it here.
If we're playing golf, we've already won!
jpjeffery says:
Beautifully written, Terry. My thoughts...
jasonfish11 says:
Sorry to hear about your friend. Hopefully we are all lucky enough to have a friend like you, who will write something as a nice about us as you did for Alan.
GolfSmith7 says:
My prayers are with you tonight!
ColonelBogey says:
That's what it's all about, Terry - happiness. The satisfaction that comes with getting better, the peace that comes from quietly working on the game, or the fun of simple competition - these are all forms of happiness. Best of all is to share those things with a friend whose company you enjoy. Even if that can only last for a few years and the pain of loss is immense, we golfers eventually bounce back, keep working, keep playing. Golf teaches us that another great friendship, like another great round, is always around the corner.
Tim Horan says:
Sorry to hear of your loss Terry. It is always a regret that conventions prevent us saying what we feel when our friends are alive and to learn from them whilst they are with us. We all think that there is all the time in the world for that. Sadly we don't.
biglou11 says:
Very sorry for your loss. Sounds like Alan was a great guy. If only everyone had a friend like that - one who leads by example, always looks at the positive side. The world would be better place with more people like Alan.
sticksboy says:
Sorry to hear, thanks for the reminder of what golf should mean to all of us who don't play professionally, or even those who do!
Tazz says:
God Speed Alan
Virtuaframax says:
Thanks Terry for bringing you emotions and words to us...

I need to learn from what you wrote and appreciate / take it easier on the course: at the end of the day I'm no pro and should not expect a pro result everytime I swing a club. A more relaxed and joyful approach is what I personally need.

Rest in Peace Alan...
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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