Father’s Day may be behind us but we never stop learning how to be fathers. I received a valuable lesson last week, when I took my 11 year-old son to a golf course.

I was going there to play in the church golf league and decided to take number two son at the last minute. Sure, summer had just started but he was already feeling a bit bored. I figured he’d pull my clubs along, wipe them off when needed and admire dad’s brilliant shot making.

We arrived at the little nine-hole course with plenty of time to spare before our tee-off. I told the woman behind the counter that I was with the church golf league. She gave me the look that said: “What are you from Mars, or something?”

Fortunately, the president of our league arrived at that moment and cleared up the confusion. When I told her my son was going to walk along with me, she became even more gruff. This was absolutely out of the question.

I walked away from the counter, so that I wouldn’t lose my temper. The league president appealed on our behalf. Her answer was no, no, no. Not even if I paid for him, not even if I signed a waiver. Why? “Insurance reasons,” was her answer. The only way she would allow my son on the course would be if he had his own clubs.

Putting a beginner in the middle of a foursome ” now that would be dangerous for “insurance reasons.” I decided at that point to leave the little nine-hole course. My son, of course, was mortified that his presence had prevented his dad from playing golf. I stayed calm for his sake and didn’t even disparage the counter lady. I simply told him that some people are very strict about rules.

Returning home seemed like the ultimate defeat, so we drove further west in search of our golf fix. We came upon a magnificent 27-hole layout, with a lavish clubhouse. This course was too crowded for us to play but we could hit a large bucket of balls for six bucks.

I asked the man if he had a left-handed club for my son. He closed his register, took us down to their storage area and let him use a set of rental clubs for free. The driving range was natural grass and so spacious that we couldn’t read the numbers on the furthest yardage markers.

After that, we hit the putting green. I was determined to spend more than six dollars there, so we had dinner and watched the World Champions play baseball. So, what did I learn from this experience? I think it can be expressed by a quote on the church league pamphlet. “I never pray to God to make a putt,” Chi Chi Rodriguez said, “I pray to God to help me react good when I miss a putt.”

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.