By Cole Golden, WGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional

Friendship can develop in many different areas of your life: family, church, school, work, hobbies and even competitors. I’d like to focus on the latter. In 2010, I played in the United States Golf Teachers Cup at Primm Valley, just outside of Las Vegas. One of my playing partners in the first round was Matt Smith, who hails from Ohio. To say I had a rough start to my game is an understatement. A cart came flying over a hill to our tee box to see me teeing off, and then proceeded to lock up their brakes, squealing across the cart path. Then my 3-wood went about 40 yards to the left into a pond. That triple bogey, plus another three bogeys in a row, mind you, made the blood boil to an extremely high level.

Not knowing Matt at all, he came over and patted me on the back, giving me a genuine smile. He didn’t have to do that; we were competitors playing against each other. It was an authentic gesture by a great person, which created a turning point for my game. Six birdies later, I signed for an even-par round. However, more important than a nice comeback, I made a true friend.

A few weeks ago, my Oklahoma Sooners (Boomer!) were traveling to play Matt’s Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus, Ohio. With some luck getting tickets for the game, Matt and I planned a great weekend together. He is the head teaching professional at the Pinnacle Golf Club, one of the most prestigious private golf clubs in Ohio. We played a few rounds at his club, met some of his students, and then went to the football game together.

Being able to build wonderful friendships through the great game of golf is one of its many perks. Through playing golf with people, you can develop bonds that last a lifetime. I cherish these rare friendships, which the game has provided me, and for that I will always be grateful.
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