Look at any sport and you'll find fathers and sons, cousins, sometimes brothers who have played the game at its highest levels. Baseball is full of them. Football too. And of course, golf has seen its fair share of famous father and son golf pros--Craig and Kevin Stadler, Jay and Bill Haas, and the ultimate Sunday afternoon partners, Old Tom and Young Tom Morris.
Move beyond fathers and sons and you'll find even more. Keegan Bradley, Last year's PGA Rookie of the Year, has a very famous aunt--Pat Bradley, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. Even Arnold Palmer's grandson, Sam Saunders, plays professionally. And that's just the beginning.
Clearly, it helps to come from a long line of golfers.
Is it surprising then, considering my golf game, that I don't come from a family full of golfers? When I started playing golf, I couldn't name one golfer in my family--not my father, not my brothers, not even an uncle or cousin.
That's changed a bit now. Though my father is not a life-long golfer, he did eventually take up golf in his 50s, after I'd already grown up and moved away. Now, we play golf together every chance we get.
I was worried that somehow the game just wasn't in my blood, that I wasn't genetically designed to swing a golf club. But then my father recently produced this gem:
That's my grandfather, playing in uniform in 1946. That big mound in the background? Mt. Fuji, of course. I had no idea he was a golfer, though my father says he only ever played when he was in the military.
Still, if you count my grandfather's military career and my father's late entrance into the golfing world, my family is working on three generations of golfers. As proud as I am to say that, it does knock out another one of my reasons for playing bad golf (Excuse #3,472: non-golf genes).
Of course, I look at that picture and wonder if my grandfather made the putt. But even if he didn't, I know this: my golf teacher would compliment his posture.