I’m used to finishing rounds in all sorts of weather. This one was different. Barreling down the fairway ahead of me was my nine-year-old stepson, Austin, my oversize jacket draped over him like a cape to help shield him from the stinging rain. On my left was Lindsay, my wife, her head buried into my shoulder, her accelerated gait in lockstep with mine. We are all smiling and laughing—almost home. Near the green we spot our two-year-old, June, in Grammy’s lap on the porch of one of the villas lining the grounds. We’re a thousand miles from home, on the rugged coastline of Nova Scotia, home of the world-class Cabot Links Golf Resort and its pair of Top-100-rated courses.
And we’re very happy.
This wasn’t my first trip to Cabot Links. I’ve shot photographs here. I’ve boondoggled here. Even Lindsay is familiar with the place, my having proposed to her on the spot during the soft opening of the Cliffs course a few years back. Ever since, I’d been itching to get back, the entire Hafer clan in tow. Most people don’t normally view golf resorts as ideal family vacation spots, and maybe I didn’t either during earlier stages of my golfing life. But things change. My family is obsessed with the game. Austin is an avid player who often can be found glued to the TV on Sunday afternoons, rooting on his heroes as they head down the home stretch. We regularly cut away to our local muni on school nights for six holes, or until darkness runs us off the course. (Lindsay joins when she can; June taking top priority, of course.) Together, we decided to raise our family in a golf environment, our approach to the game being to bond through its varied experiences, the trip to Cabot being just one of them.
On the course, we compete, laugh and—hopefully—teach each other a few lessons about ourselves. It’s never about making Austin, or one day June, into the next elite junior or Tour player. We simply encourage the desire to play.
I do it from the road, too, sharing snaps of the players I’m covering or the courses I’m visiting. Bonus points for when he catches a glimpse of me in the background during a Tour telecast. There are many ways to turn a passion into inspiration.
Our trip to Cabot won’t be our last. I can still picture Austin eagerly hitting every shot without a moment’s hesitation, running from lie to lie, ultimately finishing his first official 18 holes of golf. I see Lindsay and me, walking slowly, soaking up every fairway and nuance, basking in our good fortune to forge new family stories while chasing a little white ball around. Trust me: Taking your family on a golf trip will pay for itself in smiles and memories in spades. The sense of adventure and joy you’ll receive from journeying to some far-off place is only part of the trek. Selfishly, you’re creating time with your loved ones in the bubble that golf gives you, which couldn’t be more needed in our current world situation. It’s the reason why golf resorts and courses are perfect for families, whether they’re elite or comfy.
It’s the reason why golf is the perfect sport.