There is one sport that I miss the most that I cannot play while in prison. Golf! It’s such a simple game. Yet can be as hard as you make it, or frustrating as you make it, too. It seems easy enough to get a tiny ball into a hole while hitting it with metal clubs. Obviously, like everything in life, practice makes perfect. In golf, it’s very tough to be perfect but by practicing, you can see tremendous improvements.
I started playing golf at the age of 11. My Dad bought me a starter set of clubs, which consisted of a driver, a 7-iron, a wedge, and a putter. He took me to a park and my playing days began. Like any sport, I was not that good and needed a ton of practice. But I greatly enjoyed it, and knew it would be a sport I would play for a long time. Through my teenage years, as I got older and stronger, my game improved drastically. I was able to hit the ball further and straighter. I earned my share of pars and birdies, along with an eagle or two as well.
As years passed and my game gradually improved, I never accomplished that great feat of a hole in one. Even today, after 24 years of playing, I still have not earned my first hole in one. I did hit the pin in the air on a par 3, in which the ball stopped a few feet away from the hole for a top-in birdie.
But the greatest shot I’ve ever had was when I was living in Hawaii and playing at one of the local courses. I was about 160 yards to the hole in the middle of the fairway. It was to be my second shot on a par 4. I was using my old school Macgregor clubs that I got in high school, so they weren’t the greatest to hit a ball with but they did the job. I pulled out my six iron, wound up, swung, and made solid contact with the ball, hitting the sweet spot of the club. The ball traveled through the air right at the hole, and hit the front part of the green. It bounced a few times and then started rolling towards the pin. Eventually the ball came to a stop. From 160 yards away, it was difficult to see how close the ball was to the hole. All I knew was that it looked pretty darn close.
I put my iron back in the bag, carried my bag and started walking towards the green. After I walked about ten yards or so I looked up at the green and noticed that my ball was gone. I was confused, and wondered if there was a slope on the back of the green that I was unaware of……maybe the ball rolled off, as this was my first time playing this course. As I got closer to the green, there was no slope, and I still didn’t see the ball anywhere. Then I began to wonder….is the ball in the hole? Maybe the ball was leaning against the pin, the pin moved and the ball dropped into the hole? So I walked onto the green without setting my bag down, and immediately made my way to the hole. My heart was beating a mile a minute, and I was wondering if I actually made the shot.
What do you know, as I was standing over the hole and looking down, my ball was in the center of the cup. I actually made the perfect shot! My first and last from that distance. The funny thing is, I was golfing by myself that day, so no one got to witness the shot with me. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m sure some of you are thinking I made this up. You can believe what you want to believe. Never again have I hit a shot like that, but hopefully someday I’ll accomplish my goal of a hole in one.
As I finished writing this, John 20:29 came to my mind. Because you have seen me, you believe. Blessed are those who have not seen me, but yet believe. What do you believe? Do you believe I made that shot? It takes faith to believe the story I just told. A better question for you though is….Do you believe in Jesus, even though you have not seen Him walk this earth? Now that takes great faith, and I pray that you do.
This weekend is Father’s Day. What better way to celebrate and honor your Dad than to treat him to eighteen holes of golf. Happy Father’s Day, Dad! I love you!
P.S. This might also be a good time to make the commitment to spend more time with your Heavenly Father , too!!