Cover Photo: Amy Kurzweil
Amy Kurzweil

Seeking the Fairway, But Caught in the Rough: When You’re Not the Golf Prodigy Your Father Hoped You’d Be

“The first set of clubs arrived when I was seven, cotton candy-colored in pink and blue.”

At home, I’d seen him practice his golf stroke many times before, wiggling his hips, planting and re-planting his feet on the living room carpet. He’d draw back his invisible five-iron with slow, calculated precision, mounting tension palpable, like an arrow poised for release. Once he hit the invisible ball, he would watch it sail beyond the bounds of our kitchen, garden, driveway—a success in an imagined distance.

Qué onda, wey?

It must have been satisfying, sending each effort far into the open green world, never looking back. Perhaps this makes him a consummate optimist. Maybe he’d once hoped I could learn the game he loved, and somehow that could repair us. Or perhaps, still hopeful, he thinks of me, too—if only for that one day when I might reach across our great distance and knock again, to find the room he sits in no longer empty.

Jennifer Hope Choi is a Carson McCullers Center fellow in Columbus, Georgia. Her writing has appeared in VQR, BuzzFeed, The American Scholar, Lucky Peach, and elsewhere. She hails from the land of Sriracha and boba tea, aka southern California's San Gabriel Valley.  But most days she lives and writes in Brooklyn. Tweet her at @missjenchoi.