Well, those who have played with me may not agree that what I do on the course qualifies as “golf” – but I think I have discovered a sport that I can really enjoy. And now that I have discovered a beautiful par 3 nine hole course near my house that cost just a little more than a movie I think its something I can finally afford to do. (The other ones near my house are between $32 and $78 for a round of 18 holes.)
I have a long and painful history with golf. As a boy I broke a frame on the wall in my house showing my sister how to swing a golf club. (To hide the dent in the metal frame I turned the picture upside down and rehung the frame upside down so the bent was on the bottom. It took my Mom less than fifteen minutes upon getting home to ask, “How did this frame get dented?” Little sister was all too happy to explain. Busted.)
My grandfather tried to teach me. (see his clubs here) Once at the driving range I humiliated him when my sweaty hands allowed the club to fly out into the driving range further than any ball I’d hit! They had to shut down the entire driving range so I could go retrieve my club much to Grampa’s embarrassment.
About ten years ago an advice golfer at my church tried to interest me in the sport. (Dan LaPorte, who once hit his mother-in-law with a plastic golf ball shot from the platform during a worship service promoting a church golf outing. He swears he didn’t aim for her!) My lessons weren’t going to well. One one hole I put five or six balls in a row into the water we had to shoot over to the green.
Then I had my break through!
Dan got out $20 and said, “Hit the next one in the water and I’ll give you twenty bucks.” I thought, “Has this guy been watching? That’s the dumbest bet ever!” I teed up and aimed for the water – and my ball soared over and onto the fare way beyond! “Let the club do the work, it’s not a baseball bat,” he said.
Then we moved away and I didn’t get to golf again for ten years… but that $20 (that I didn’t get) lesson stuck with me!
While I’m still not much of a golfer, I’m enjoying learning and find it a very fascinating sport in this regard. He more relaxed I am, and the less I try to hit it hard, the better I do. My best shots consistently are those when I almost don’t try, and just keep my eye on the ball and swing. Not hard, just swing using the right form.
I’m finding the same is true in life. When I try to work hard, minister hard, or do anything hard, I mess up the Game of Life really bad. My life ‘handicap’ is pretty high and filled with a lot of shots into the rough, or the water, and off the course. But when I keep my focus on the Lord, and just swing my best, focused on my spiritual form, not my talents, power or skill – God does the work and I do so much better in the Game of Life.
I’m sure I’ll never be a great golfer. But I’m going to stick with it, because I find it is teaching me a lot about life, and when I’m outside away from the distractions of life and work, I can better hear God’s still small voice.
I’m looking for golf buddies if you live in the area and don’t mind playing with someone who will make you look really good.