Some 38 years ago I pitched up at Stonehaven Golf Club for the very first time, an adolescent kid in burgundy stay press trousers, white socks and loafers (I know ?). My family had just moved up from Birmingham and my father reckoned golf was the way forward if I was to make new friends, and he was right.
All these years later I still play with the same guys (despite a three decade interregnum when I returned south) and love the place as much as I ever did. Stonehaven Golf Club has been a spiritual home to me for the majority of my life, knocking even Villa Park off its perch, a remarkable feat for those who know me.
So for me to introduce my seven-year-old son, Ernie, to the Stonehaven Golf Club experience was a heartwarming moment indeed, like teaching your lad how to ride a bike for the first time, or experience his first football match.
He’s heard so much about the place from me, I’m always banging on about its views, my history there and the friendships it’s afforded me. In truth, seven-year-olds aren’t impressed by misty-eyed fathers gushing about yesteryear. I think the modern day response is ‘wot evs’ but, regardless, I was proud as punch to take him up there for a few holes for the very first time.
A Shared Rite of Passage
The sky was cloudless and blue, the air fresh and the golf poor, but that didn’t matter. I showed him the gully for the first time (the distance of the carry a seemingly impossible feat to a boy so young), we observed the dramatic cliff faces from the vantage points at the 2nd, 6th and 14th, he was shown the old clubhouse ruin at the 7th tee and the incredible panoramic view from the 12th. Okay so he switched off halfway through and I was effectively talking to myself, but no matter, this was a rite of passage and I was determined to see it through.
Years from now Ernie might, as I did, amble the fairways of SGC with his old man and develop lifelong friendships with folk who will share a love of the game of golf, and in particular the venue of Stonehaven Golf Club. It’s home to many, there’s no better place, and while wearing double denim might find him blackballed for a period, it’ll be worth every minute waiting to be restored into the fold once again.