10 things I learned from playing golf with my dad

Pro golfer high-fives child at Masters Par-3 Contest

On this Father's Day, let's look back at some fond memories of playing golf with our dads.

Getty Images

With Father’s Day this weekend, it got me reminiscing about my time playing golf with my dad while growing up.

He was a really good player, and actually played on the PGA Tour for a summer — back when you could basically drive around and try to qualify each Monday. That summer, he actually qualified in seven out of 11 attempts, and had the chance to play courses like Pebble Beach, Riviera, and Harding Park.

After that summer of playing, he returned to Western New York to get into the car business, eventually settling down to run his own dealership in Geneva, N.Y., which is where I grew up.

We played a ton of golf together as I grew up, and having his guidance and support were amazing — and a big reason why my love for the game grew.

True Spec promo

True Spec Fitting

With over 50,000 clubhead and shaft combinations, True Spec Golf will custom fit and hand build you the most well-constructed, precise set of golf clubs you’ve ever played.

To celebrate Father’s Day, here are 10 things I learned from playing golf with my dad

My favorite dad moment on the course was playing in Ireland at Ballybunion, where I had a hole-in-one and he made about a 50-foot putt for a birdie. When he made that putt, it was like magic for both of us — and something I’ll never forget.

Since my dad I played so much golf together, I was able to learn a lot from him — and I’m sharing 10 of my favorite lessons below.

1. Quality time

Quality time on the course was certainly one of the benefits of playing so much golf with my dad growing up. He was quite an accomplished player, so just simply watching him play was a lesson in itself.

2. Understanding that hard work pays off

So much of golf reflects life, and one of the lessons I learned from my dad on and off the golf course was the value of hard work. He lived this in his professional career, and used that same mentality on the golf course, too.

My brother and I watched him work hard and put in the time to build his business, so this trait was instilled in both of us. It was a reminder that, even if you’re not the most talented at something, by outworking others, it can lead to great results.

3. Patience

I don’t think I ever saw my dad get mad on the golf course, and that’s really saying something — since we all know how frustrating golf can be. Having a front row seat to witness his calm demeanor was a great life lesson, and continues to help me practice patience in my own life each day.

4. The willingness to always help

My dad was always there for me whenever I needed him. If I was ever having trouble with my game, I could call him and he would be right there. Knowing that he’d be there gave me great confidence — both as a golfer and in regular life.

5. Learning that the short game matters

My dad was a great short game player and a fantastic putter. The course where we played had really tricky greens, so they were fast and undulated. I learned the value of a good short game and being a great putter, witnessing firsthand how dialed in his distance control was.

He rarely 3-putted, so watching him putt so well motivated me to put in extra work on this area of my own game.

6. The art of scrambling

Even when he missed a green, my dad’s approach wedges, chipping, and pitching were also really good. On the rare occasion that he’d get into trouble, and I’d think I could beat him on a hole, he’d always seem to scramble his way back to a par.

7. Building confidence in myself

There’s no question that one of the greatest lessons I learned from my dad was developing confidence in myself. He was the master of positive reinforcement and support — and since he believed in me, I needed to always believe in myself.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t get frustrated or doubt myself, but my channeling his support, I was able to dig myself out of tough situations.

8. How to play in bad weather

Most golfers only play when it’s sunny and warm out, but where I grew up, bad weather was a constant during golf season. I remember plenty of days when we got soaked from the rain and still kept playing — which forced me to be a good bad weather player.

Developing these skills helped me as I went to play in college at Furman, which allowed me to focus on the controllables and not worry about the weather if it wasn’t perfect out.

9. The world is a big stage

Even though I grew up in a small town, I’ve always followed in my dad’s footsteps and looked for adventure.

Not only did this lead me to Furman for college in South Carolina, but, upon graduation, I turned pro and played in events all over the world — such as South Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia, just to name a few.

10. Other sports help (and should be fun)

While my dad loved golf and got my brother and I into it, he was also supportive of us regardless of the sport we were playing. As an added bonus, my dad rarely missed many, if any, of our games or matches. He was there to cheer us on, and always encouraged us to do our best and just have fun.

PING Prodi G Junior Irons

Long-Distance Driver Juniors can add 15 yards off the tee over the top-selling junior driver with this more forgiving, more aerodynamic 460cc titanium driver. It offers speed-inducing crown turbulators, forgiveness from dragonfly technology, and a lightweight graphite shaft to help generate power. Lightweight Shaft Two flexes in this lightweight graphite shaft are optimized for weight and balance to match junior swing speeds. The Regular flex shaft has white stripes, while the Stiff flex shaft has green stripes.
View Product
generic profile image


Nick Dimengo

Golf.com Editor