Editor’s Note: This is Part 1 of 3 in our “The Game’s Inherent Bond”
series about how golf connects people in unexpected and wonderful ways. Look
for Parts 2 and 3 in upcoming issues of Lone Star Golf.
Dave Wood had no clue how his life would change
when Brede Kelfos, the manager at the brokerage firm where Dave worked, invited
him to play golf on a Saturday morning at Memorial Park Golf Course in Houston.
An eternal optimist who approached each day like he had life figured out, Dave
rarely saw reason to be stressed or upset. And now he just scored a weekend
invite to play Memorial Park, one of the best and toughest courses to get on in
the city. Attitude accounts for a lot in life, and these kinds of things
happened to Dave, the laid-back, middle-aged guy who put the “happy” in happy-go-lucky. As he said, landing a 10
a.m. Saturday tee time at Memorial Park, especially in April, was “pure gold.”
He didn’t know the half of it.
Jan Bartholomew was just learning to play golf.
An avid runner and high-powered executive who regularly logged 70-hour work
weeks, golf was a perfect fit for her ultra-competitive, obsessive personality.
For Jan, if you’re not five minutes early to an appointment, then you’re
already late. She managed the details of her life down to the half-minute. When Brede,
also a friend of Jan’s, invited her and another friend – the two towering blondes
looked like sisters – to play a round of golf at Memorial Park, the fateful foursome
Golf brings people together in unexpected and
wonderful ways. There’s something special about our game that promotes fast friendships.
It creates unspoken bonds between strangers. Maybe it’s the long hours together
in pursuit of a common, fleeting goal. Golf is a difficult game. We know that,
and because we do, perhaps it’s why we’re eager to befriend other golf-addicted
The themes of honesty and sportsmanship that are
stitched into the fabric of the game also might work to bridge relationships
between people who otherwise might never have a conversation. It could be that,
more often than not, most golfers simply are good people. Whatever it is –
probably a combination of all the above – golf builds connections.
It can even unite the most polar of opposites.
“I gotta tell you,” Dave’s friend Brede told him,
“we’re playing with two women.”
“I was like, ‘Two women? Really?’ Ah, crap,” Dave
said, admitting to being less than thrilled at the idea.
When Dave saw the two blondes walking toward the
first tee box at Memorial Park on that April morning in 2005, however, his tune
changed. “I was like, ‘Oh, two women. Oh, wow!’”
The next four and a half hours went by in a blur. Dave
and Jan both recall playing well, but neither remembers their scores. What they
remember is laughing. They remember watching each other out of the corners of
their eyes. They remember how they felt when they said good-bye at the end of
the day. They remember that special feeling when you meet someone new.
With golf as the backdrop, Dave and Jan, two people
who couldn’t be more different, hit it off. She liked his carefree attitude and
easy, boyish smile. He liked just about everything about her.
“We ended up playing together a couple more
times,” said Dave, who is now retired and spends much of his time playing golf and
planning couples golf trips. “I was definitely impressed with her. I think our
first official date was a couple months later. She asked me out. We went to
play golf at Sienna Plantation.”
Of course they played golf on their first “real”
date. Soon after that, Jan procured World Series tickets and invited Dave to
Game 3 at Minute Maid Park. She thought that would impress him.
That wasn’t necessary. He was plenty impressed
They dated for the next five years. Dave and Jan were
married in 2011. Golf was – and remains – at the center of their relationship.
Without their mutual friend setting up the tee time at Memorial Park, Dave and
Jan might have never met. What a shame that would’ve been.
You’ll never meet two people who balance each
other out more than Dave and Jan. She’s the Yin
to his Yang. It’s not a stretch to
say they were truly meant for each other. Dave sees the best in everyone and
all situations. His credo could be Bob Marley’s chorus: “Don’t worry, about a
thing. Cause every little thing, is gonna be all right.” Dave is like the
beach. It’s virtually impossible to be stressed out around him.
They’re both good golfers – each has made a hole-in-one – and they constantly complement each other on good shots. They don’t bicker and nitpick like you see from some couples. Dave and Jan genuinely love being around each other, and they obviously have enthusiasm for the game.
Jan has, let’s say, a different approach. The
Managing Director for an international wealth management and private equity
firm, she is the ultimate Type-A personality. Jan admits to being uptight and
worrisome. It’s who she is, and she shouldn’t apologize for it. Those traits helped
her build a wildly successful, 40-year career in a male-dominated industry.
Today, as Jan manages a staff of 10 who
collectively do the work she used to do alone, she works a manageable 50 hours
a week. That makes more time for golf! The fact that she can chase her passion
with Dave at her side helps her enjoy life away from the office more than ever.
“Dave is very Type-B, very roll with the flow,”
she said. “He never worries about anything. I worry about everything. So Dave
really balances me out in that way. And I balance him out in the sense that the
world really does go around, and it moves at a certain pace.”
Even on the golf course, where they spend most of
their time together, they can be paradoxical. He likes to take a golf cart and
drink a Coors Light or two. She walks and carries her bag in an effort to crush
her daily step count goals. So different, yet so perfect. To see them play golf
together is to experience unconditional love.
They’re both good golfers – each has made a
hole-in-one – and they constantly complement each other on good shots. They
don’t bicker and nitpick like you see from some couples. Dave and Jan genuinely
love being around each other, and they obviously have enthusiasm for the game. They
travel the world together playing in couples tournaments, such as the annual
Pebble Beach Mixed Team Championships, in which they’ve competed for the past
“They are each other’s
perfect balance,” said Ibis Reynolds. She and her husband David have joined Dave
and Jan on several golf trips across the globe. “Jan is basically Wonder Woman.
She’s a self-made woman who worked hard to get to the top. She has one speed:
100 mph, nonstop. She works tirelessly to make sure she takes care of everyone
around her. Dave takes life one day at a time and is so happy being Jan’s
‘calmer.’ He brings a sense of humor to all that he does, and he’s incredibly
thoughtful and caring.”
David and Ibis have a second home at Pinehurst
Resort. Dave and Jan have a vacation home in Utah. They take turns hosting each
other on vacations, during which there’s always a mixed team tournament to
“We’ve been to Spain together,” David Reynolds
said. “We went to Scotland together. That was the first time Dave had left the
country. They just seem to complement each other really well. He’s one of the
easiest going, likeable guys you’ll ever run into. She’s really likeable, too.
But she’s always busy, working hard.”
Dave says he wouldn’t want to think about what
his life would be like without Jan. What’s the point of that? They are together
– thanks to golf – and they’re madly in love. They’ll stay that way (and keep playing golf) for the rest of their lives.
Look for “The
Pleasure of Business,” Part 2 of The Game’s Inherent Bond series in the October
issue of Lone Star Golf.