Fairways, Family, and Father’s Day

Whether you’re out on the greens or unwinding by the tranquil waters of Lake Keowee this weekend, we trust you’re relishing some quality time with your dad. Here’s to celebrating Father’s Day in style – extending our warm wishes not only to our members but to all the influential father figures in our lives.

Allow us to shine a spotlight on one exceptional dad at The Cliffs Valley, who clinched the coveted Best of the Best Gross Division trophy in 2023. With an impressive three under par, he conquered the course, aided by his golfing partner and son, Kyle. We caught up with David and Kyle to delve into life at The Cliffs.


Can you share a bit about your journey to The Cliffs and to Travelers Rest? 

David: Pam, my wife, is originally from Pennsylvania, and I am from Michigan, but we met and worked in Florida for 35 years. We always knew we wanted to retire in the Carolina mountains. We discovered The Cliffs in November 2002. We knew we had found our future home when we walked on Panther Mountain at The Cliffs Valley and saw the most spectacular long-range views and stunning autumn leaves.

Kyle: Moving to Travelers Rest was about putting down roots close to Mom and Dad. I’m lucky enough to have a job that allows me to work remotely, so it was an easy move. Even though I grew up in Florida, Travelers Rest and the Greenville area have always been like a second home to me. Since we’ve been members at The Cliffs for almost my entire life, I’m blessed to be close to home. 


What role does your proximity to each other play in your ability to participate in events like the annual Best of the Best tournament? 

Kyle: Proximity is a huge factor, I’m lucky that I get to play golf with Pops as much as we can. Fortunately, this year we get to play as partners and competitors. As a Legacy Member at The Cliffs, I’m able to play in the Member-Guest with a friend, where we’ll most likely play in the same flight as Pops and his partner. 


What inspired the tradition of participating in the annual Best of the Best golf tournament together as a father-son duo?

Kyle: When I moved from Washington, D.C., to Charleston in 2021, Pops asked me one night on the phone if I’d like to play in the Member-Member with him later that year. We were fortunate enough to win in 2021, and the partnership stuck. It’s such a blessing to spend time and compete with him doing something we’re both so passionate about. 


How does your shared love for golf strengthen your bond as father and son?

David: We have always shared a love and passion for golf.  We enjoy conversations about swing mechanics, equipment, and the mental aspects of the game. Golf is a metaphor for life, and as a father, I know that those discussions can be applied as lessons for life as well.  Patience, acceptance of bad bounces, responding in a positive way, conducting yourself as a gentleman, and perspective apply to both. While we can never achieve mastery of these qualities, the pursuit is worthwhile.

Kyle: Golf has always been a key part of my bond with Pops. As a kid, I would chip balls with him in the evenings on the 13th green of the course we lived on while I was growing up. We would sit and watch recordings of the highlights from the 1986 Masters tournament before he’d go off to play in tournaments. He fostered my love of the game, which finally took full hold in high school. Growing up, there were many lessons about golf – both physical and mental, I didn’t know at the time he was making me a better man as much as he was making me a better golfer. Looking back, I can’t thank him enough for those lessons.


Can you recount a memorable moment or shot from the tournament that stands out to you?

David: Last year, Kyle hit a great shot on the par 5 9th hole–our penultimate hole–to set up an eagle putt. 

Kyle: Then Pops made a 35-foot eagle putt on our second-to-last hole. As I was standing halfway between our ball and the hole while he was about to hit, Pops took one last look at his target, and I saw a look in his eyes that made me smirk. I knew he was going to make it, sure enough, it went in dead center. My smirk turned into a big smile, and we celebrated with a big hug. We didn’t know it at the time, but that putt sealed the victory. 

David: When I made that putt, he lifted me up in a big bear hug. That was when I thought we might have a chance to win. Kyle’s next shot on our last hole sealed the deal–15 feet to a tough pin position. That was memorable!


How do you support each other both on and off the golf course?

Kyle: We’re there for each other, we celebrate our successes together and overcome challenges together. We talk on the phone, share swing tips and sports highlights on Instagram, and quote movies and TV shows we both like. When I was younger it was a lot more of Pops supporting and guiding me, so, as an adult, I’m glad I get to return the favor.

David: My life’s journey for the last four years has included battling stage 4 lymphoma, so when the doctors talked about life expectancy, I knew I needed to step up the pace of imparting whatever wisdom I may have to my son. I like to share books, Instagram posts, etc., with him that have good life lessons. Fortunately, I recently achieved complete remission, so his inheritance is probably 30-40 years away! As Jack Nicklaus said, “We’ve got more golf to play!”


Looking ahead, what are your plans for future golf tournaments and experiences together as father and son?

Kyle: I foresee us playing in Member-Member, casual rounds at The Cliffs, and visiting some great courses around the world for years to come. And yes, as Jack Nicklaus said, discussing the final hole of the ’86 Masters, “We’ve [definitely] got more golf to play!”

“A father is someone you look up to no matter how tall you grow.” —Unknown

Happy Father’s Day! 

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