Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Babbling about golf...

My great grandfather was a man named Thomas F. Keane Jr. By many accounts he was a man of his times, a husband and a father with some flaws, a beloved grandfather and one hell of a golfer.

He was born and raised in Arlington, Massachusetts. He was the first Dartmouth men's golf coach as well as the head professional at the College-owned Hanover Country Club from 1922-67.

His record as a coach was 305-176-5. His 1941 team won the Eastern Intercollegiate Tournament and his 1934 team captured the New England Championship.

In 1975, Hanover started The Tommy Keane Invitational, considered by some as the premier amateur four-ball tournament in New Hampshire and the Tommy Keane Award is present annually to the Dartmouth College Champion.

My only recollections of Pepe (as we called him) are from the end of his life. A stroke had reduced his ability to communicate and he was in a full time care facility. His legacy, however, always loomed large in our family.

He had 6 children, numerous grandchildren and many more great-grandchildren. The ages of his children vary so much, that at times it is hard for me to figure out who is in what generation when you get closer to the people my age.

Every year, for as long as I can remember, my grandfather and father played in the Tommy Keane Invitational. My brother eventually took up golf, but not being overly athletic, I never did. When Gramps died in 2000, my brother joined my father and the two of them took up the mantle for our branch of the family.

When Dad died, Justin asked me if I would play with him. I said yes without thinking and then realized that I had never picked up a golf club (beyond a putter for mini-golf!).

Since then I have gotten clubs and spikes and played on 4 "real" golf courses (here, here, here, and here, ranked in order that I played them) with some of the best teachers I know....my cousins Marc and Lars and my brother. They have been very patient with me and I am actually pleased with how I play now.
I have also gone to the driving range A LOT and played an "executive" course near our house with my daughter. She has been VERY encouraging. She actually helped me figure out what was wrong with my drives!

This long rambling post boils down to this....Justin and I have our practice round tomorrow and the tournament starts on Friday (our tee time is 8:30 AM). We will be staying with my great aunt (from the other side of my father's family) in the farm house that my grandfather grew up in. We will be scattering my dad's ashes on his favorite hole on Thursday.

It will be a weekend awash with memories and stories, tears and laughter....and I am looking forward to every minute of it.

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