Wow! Right down the chute!
Those are the words of a proud grandfather watching his grandson swing a golf club and drive the ball, much like he did at that age.
For the past three decades, the Klann men have made it a priority to keep a Father’s Day family tradition alive through golfing.
Rick Klann says it all started when his dad first took him to a golf course; now, it’s turned into four generations spending time doing something together that they can all enjoy.
Rick, who is now 63, says golf gives him and his 30-something-year-old sons, as well as his 10-year-old grandson, a way to bridge the gap. He describes how, in a way, his sons played a major role in making golf a family tradition.
“When they were small, my boys started off just having fun driving golf carts,” explains Rick. “Then, they started playing in high school and taking it more seriously, so I decided to get back to golfing. I had been away from it for several years but I realized that golf is one of the few sports that you can play at any age.
“My 84-year-old dad still plays — he couldn’t play with his grandsons and great-grandson if it were baseball,” Rick adds. “We go out there and it’s all done in good spirits and friendly competition.”
Most dads are admired as heroes with superhuman abilities. Through collective activities such as this, a child or young adult gets the chance to see that their father is fallible and learn from his mistakes. When the Klann family golfs, they are able to compliment and affirm one another at various stages in life and understand that dad isn’t perfect. This helps in dealing with difficulties and accepting that losses are normal.
Although each plays at a different level, golfing for this family is about more than just the sport; it’s about connectedness. “I am a little better (at golf), but my sons are really good,” Rick says. ”One of my sons, Josh, is an assistant pro. We’ve all learned that the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.”
He points out that while they consider golfing a fun activity, it doubles as an opportunity to teach life lessons, explaining, “It’s a game of honesty and integrity. You have to keep score yourself when no one is watching.”
The Klanns’ tradition gives way to moments of reflection and refinement. “It’s also about self-composure,” Rick notes. “Unlike football or basketball, if you lose your temper golfing, it hurts your game. So it teaches patience, as well. I am a lot more patient with my grandson.”
Many experts agree that one of the main reasons for keeping old traditions and creating new ones is to reinforce values; being dedicated oftentimes results in more familial solidarity. Rick hopes that the Klann men will continue golfing and that the tradition will thrive for generations to come.
“It would be nice if they kept on golfing,” he says. “Now my grandson golfs, but the ironic thing is that he is my daughter’s son; his mom is Josh’s twin sister. Neither of my sons have children yet, so it’s nice to see him play.”
When traditions like this are handed down, it gives fathers the opportunity to positively influence their children’s behavior and create an environment in which dads can demonstrate the character they work to instill in their family, all while celebrating what really matters and creating lasting memories.