Tomorrow is my 19th birthday, and so today was the last time I walked into a familiar pro shop to check in for a Youth on Course round. After years of me popping in on random afternoons with my distinctive long braid and big purple hat, I am always easily recognized by pro shop staff.
Due to an early snowfall, today was the first day in about a week that the course was open. There was still snow on the ground, but it was comfortable to play without a jacket. As I arrived in the late afternoon, I had no one behind me. I took advantage of the emptiness of the course and played several balls on each hole, experimenting with a variety of swings and clubs. Whenever I found something that worked—adjusting my feet to be a bit wider, relaxing my wrists during my backswing—I made a note in my phone so that I won’t have to rediscover the trick next time I play. I lost two balls to my experimentations and almost got a couple birdies.
As I finished the last hole, the sun was going down and I could see the light inside the pro shop on top of the hill. I tried to go inside to say goodbye to the man in the pro shop, but the door was already locked. Vaguely embarrassed at my attempt to open a locked door, I headed out to my car and opened the trunk to load my golf clubs. As I was doing so, the door to the pro shop opened and the gentleman inside wished me a merry Christmas and good luck in the coming college semester. I waved back and thanked him before getting in my car, turning on Christmas music, and heading home. It was a typical afternoon at the golf course, full of fun and community.
However, it was not unremarkable. Every game and every practice is extraordinary and enlightening, and I carry the memories of these events with me wherever I go. They are part of my identity, just as being a Youth on Course member is a part of my identity. Even though I won’t be able to use my membership again, I will always be a part of Youth on Course. This organization has been an integral part of my childhood, and now its scholarship is an essential part of my college years. I will always be grateful for almost a decade of games and support that will follow me into early adulthood. Thank you for years of kindness and assistance, both on the course and off.
Marion is a YOC Alumnus and 2021 Scholarship Recipient. She is a freshman at Dartmouth University.