When the Cundiff family of Woodstock gets together, they golf.
It’s a tradition that started about 25 years ago when Tony Cundiff discovered his serious love of the game.
His wife, Kim, caught the golf bug years later. And the couple’s four sons — Jake, 30; Jon, 26; Josh, 20; and Tyler, 18 — all golf as well.
“I mean, that’s what our family does,” Cundiff says. “It’s our passion. We just love the game.”
In fact, that’s what Kim Cundiff wanted to do for Mother’s Day more than anything else — golf. She started golfing mainly to be with her family, she says. If her husband and boys weren’t playing golf, they were watching tournaments on television.
Eventually, Cundiff bought his wife a set of clubs, and she learned to enjoy it “just as much, if not more” than him, he says.
“Pretty much, I figured if I ever wanted to see my family during the summer time, that’s where I would have to go,” Kim Cundiff says. “Once you start, it’s kind of addicting. You never want to stop.”
She says she never imagined she would enjoy “chasing a little ball around the golf course,” but it grew on her.
“When your kids are teenagers, they don’t want to normally hang around with their parents,” she says.
“This is something we did all together, not to mention you’re outside where it’s beautiful.”
Following Dad’s Footsteps
Josh and Tyler Cundiff both work with their father at Blackstone Golf Club in Marengo, where Cundiff started working more than a year ago after retiring from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department.
He supervises attendants and takes care of almost anything that needs to be done around the clubhouse.
The two younger sons intend to go to the Golf Academy of America in Chandler, Ariz., next spring.
Tyler Cundiff wants to study the design aspect of golf, while Josh Cundiff is more interested in physical fitness and eventually would like to teach both children and adults. The two now work as cart attendants and bus boys in Blackstone’s restaurant.
Throughout the years, the sons achieved all sorts of golf accolades, competing with their high school teams and winning tournaments.
“My ultimate goal one day was that the kids be better than I was,” Cundiff says. “That’s way surpassed now.”
The family now enjoys golfing together.
“To me, it’s being outdoors, and it’s the ultimate challenge,” Cundiff says.
More than a game
But golf is more than a game, Cundiff says.
Through golf, he says, his sons have learned life lessons and were guided by some of the best coaches during high school. They wore long khaki pants to the games, provided dinner to the visiting team and respected one another.
“It was not just about the game, but about being a gentleman, learning respect, integrity, honesty,” he says. “That was probably more important to the coaches than golf itself ... it’s not all about shooting par or about making every putt, it’s about enjoying yourself and being respectful.”
Each of Cundiff’s sons began learning to play at a young age. The boys were introduced to the game by their father, who took them to driving ranges as children. They also took lessons and attended golf youth camps. They worked as caddies at Bull Valley Golf Club in Woodstock when they were 13, 14 and 15.
“My kids, after going to the camps and competing and everything else, they just love it,” Cundiff says, who now caddies for his sons once in a while.
“To me, that’s what it’s all about,” he says. “That’s what I wanted to do, was be a caddie for my kids and watch them progress into golf.”
The game has helped shape their character, he says.
Josh Cundiff, who currently is attending McHenry County College and plans to start at the Golf Academy in April 2013, says he loves the competitive side of the game. But he also enjoys being outdoors around nature and enjoying it with his family.
He learned to commit himself to the game, to be polite and honest, he says.
“You have to be honest and tell the truth in keeping your score,” he says.
He remembers getting his first set of clubs at the age of 5.
“I fell in love with the game,” he says.