Ever since he started playing golf at eight years old, former Odessa College golfer Sebastian Cruz always enjoyed the chance to hang out at the golf course with his father, Adrian.
Fast forward over a decade later and Sebastian says that he’s even more appreciative of those chances since they don’t come nearly as often.
The latest opportunity for the Cruz family arrives Saturday and continues Sunday for the 12th annual Parent-Child Tournament at Ratliff Ranch Golf Links. Sebastian and Adrian Cruz enter as the defending champions.
“We don’t get to play as much together any more other than when we both get off of work,” Sebastian Cruz said. “It’s just good to enjoy that time with him on the golf course and I always look forward to this.”
The tournament will be a shotgun start with one wave beginning at 7:30 a.m., followed by another at 1:30 p.m.
It’s a return to the tournament’s normal time formats after precautionary tee times were implemented last year in response to COVID-19.
Ratliff Ranch head golf professional Michael Monk said that 71 teams had signed up to play as of Thursday afternoon. There was a 60-team limit in 2020 and Monk added that he’s looking forward to the camaraderie of the event.
“The thing that I enjoy the most is seeing families play golf together,” Monk said. “That’s at the core of what golf is all about. It’s about fellowship and a social environment. There’s nothing better than playing golf with your children.”
Monk added that the golf course is in good shape for the event, especially with the rain that’s fallen in the area in recent weeks. It is also the start of a busy stretch of tournaments at the course with the Men’s City Championship scheduled for July 23-25.
This will be the first Parent-Child Tournament that Monk will oversee after arriving at his new job in April from North Carolina.
He said that this event reminds him of when his father introduced him to the game when he was 10 years old.
“I kind of knew that golf was in my future. I just didn’t know when and where,” he said. “Those were some of the highlights of my young life and my adult life as well.”
It’s a sentiment that Cruz shared about playing with his father.
He recalled when he played with his father for the first time in the best-ball event and how much has changed since that time.
“Whenever I was young, he would hit all the shots,” he said. “I would just go hit a ball and try to help a little bit.
“Now that I’m older, we balance each other out. If he needs help, I can step in and vice versa. It’s not just a one-man band out there. We have each other’s backs.”
Being able to help each other out is something that Cruz said is going to be an important factor in determining the winner.
Among those scheduled to play in the championship flight are 2019 champions Paul and Jaden Chavez along with Parker and Chris Beaty.
“We’ll have to be good about getting it up and down for sure,” Cruz said. “There are a lot of good players out there and we know that anything can happen.”
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