When the sun begins to fade and the soothing sounds of sprinklers echo around Schneiter's Riverside Golf Course, there's a magic in the air.
At least there was last Thursday.
That's when, for the first time in 24 years of fatherhood, I finally got a chance to play a round of golf with all three of my sons at the same time.
Today being Father's Day -- and the final day of the U.S. Open -- I suppose it's only fitting I write something about golf and fatherhood ... and the sweet satisfaction that comes when the two meet.
Just like the late Fred MacMurray, I've got three sons.
(Don't know who Fred MacMurray is? No big deal. Go ask your dad, or perhaps even your granddad, he'll know. For now, though, I'll give you a hint: he was an actor who used to work on a 1960s-era TV show called "My Three Sons.")
Anyway, thanks to the folks at Riverside, I got to play 18 holes in a dream foursome with my three boys, who range in age from 24 to 15. And just as I had imagined, we had a marvelous time out there hacking away, together.
We didn't start until late in the afternoon and didn't finish until the lights in the pro shop were shining in the dusk as we carted in from the ninth hole (we played the course backwards). In between we had a lot of laughs, teased each other and fought for bragging rights on each hole.
In short, we did what guys do on the golf course, only this time it meant more to me than any other round I've ever played.
Look, I don't want to bore anyone with an overly-sappy, too-personal story. My only purpose in sharing is to, hopefully, bring a smile to the face of a father or a child, even if it comes from a distant memory or a wish for the future.
It doesn't even have to be about golf, for that matter. It can be about hunting or fishing or baseball or one-on-one basketball in the driveway. It can be about any activity, really.
The point is, instead of scrapbooking, we guys keep these mental slideshows in our heads and it's always fun to create new ones along the way.
For me, last week's golf excursion added some images I hope will last a lifetime.
See, I've been a dad for nearly a quarter of a century, but for a variety of reasons, last Thursday was the first time I ever got to play with all three of my boys at the same time.
In order to protect the names of the guilty, I won't reveal the final scores. But I will note that it's possible to feel both pride and shame at the same time. My older boys were tinged with both as they watched their little brother beat them -- as well as dear old dad -- with a combination of low, drawing drives and a few shockingly-accurate approach shots.
On a couple of occasions I caught them looking at me as if to ask, "When did THIS happen?"
I just shrugged and asked, "Are you really gonna let him beat you like that?"
Turns out they did ... and so did I.
Looking back on it, we probably played too slowly and I know I took a couple more mulligans than I should have. Shoot, for all I know there's still a neon green Bridgestone stuck in one of the pine trees near the 11th green, but I darn-sure didn't let it affect my final score.
I can't speak for all the participants, but for me at least, I can live with those errant shots because it really wasn't about the numbers anyway. It was about spending time together, enjoying the company and creating memories.
I'm looking forward to the rematch.
Happy Father's Day, everyone.
Jim Burton is the Standard-Examiner's sports columnist. He also covers the Utah Jazz and the NBA. He can be reached at 801-625-4265 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets at http://twitter.com/jmb247