God must love golf…

image courtesy of onetreehillstudios


God must enjoy it when we play golf.  Well, or he hates it.  Because golf is either:

  • a game that involves great amounts of discipline, concentration, and humility, while encouraging relationship with others…
  • or it’s 18 holes of anger, rage, and the dirtiest of curse words, plus equal amounts cheating, lying, and beer.

[I told you guys several months ago that our families were allowed to join the Geita Gold Mine’s golf club, which enables us to use the gold mine’s village store and restaurant, swimming pool, and golf course.  It’s been a real treat to be members — making life in Geita a lot easier by providing us with a good place to spend an occasional day with the family (and me a sport in which to compete).*]

Today Carson and I were able to play in our first golf tournament in Tanzania.  Africa Explosives Limited, an explosives company doing business with Geita Gold Mine, sponsored a 2-man scramble, and Carson and I entered together.  We played alright, though we had expected our games to complement one another a little more than they actually did.  We shot a 75, and were not disappointed being only 3 over par.  The winning pair shot 70, and the teams finishing 2nd through 5th (winning prizes) all shot 71 or 72.  I really thought I had a chance at the award for longest drive — and I did hit my ball a mile on that 9th hole– but they apparently don’t measure balls driven the wrong direction and into the woods.  [Of course I couldn’t find it anyway, so it would’ve been difficult to measure accurately.  We took Carson’s drive on that hole.]

Just some observations on the day:

  • I’d never played a 2-man scramble before.  It doesn’t provide nearly the advantage of a 4-man.
  • We were required to use exactly 9 of my drives and 9 of Carson’s.  Interesting rule that required some forethought and planning.
  • Miners — even the gentle and kind grandfatherly types — cuss like sailors.  Or sailors cuss like miners, depending on whom you ask.
  • Carson and I have been playing with old loaner clubs for 3 months, but his parents are visiting now and brought him a set from the states — that he’s very happy to be playing with.  I have a set coming in December with one of Christie’s best friends.  [I’m hoping that my new clubs are made of 4-leaf clovers and have magical powers.]
  • AEL (the sponsor) gave each player about $60 worth of golf gear for entering the tournament.  The entry fee was $10.
  • We were served grilled bratwurst with onions and peppers after 9 holes.  I felt like I was in America.  AEL did an incredible job hosting this event.  It was so much fun.
  • Miners — even the gentle and kind grandfatherly types — drink a WHOLE LOT OF BEER during 18 holes of golf.  It’s a wonder they can walk straight; surely we shouldn’t expect them to drive that way (golf balls, not vehicles).

Back to my original thought:  Golf is either a game that involves great amounts of discipline, concentration, and humility, while encouraging relationship with others… or it’s 18 holes of anger, rage, and the dirtiest of curse words, plus equal amounts cheating, lying, and beer.  It’s amazing how a simple (and quite popular) game can bring out either the best in us or the worst.  It can develop in us good habits or it can further exacerbate bad behaviors already present.  In essence, golf can be used for good… or for evil.

It’s not just golf, though.  There are a lot of things like that, aren’t there?


* I told you even longer ago that I’d retired from golf.  At that time I figured I’d never play again.  I also explained in that post how very bad I was — and some of my anger problems while playing.  I seem to have a very good handle on that these days.  May God be praised for that growth in my life.




Filed under sports

12 responses to “God must love golf…

  1. I’ve often said that I can tell a lot about a person by the way they play sports. Golf is one of them, but pretty much any sport will do. Are they hot-headed? Are they honest? Are they team players? Are they encouraging? Do they trash talk? Are they fair? Do they blame others for their mistakes? Would I enjoy having them as both a teammate and as an opponent? Are they humble? Are they more interested in “winning” than in playing to the best of their ability?

    Once I started noticing that in others I became a lot more aware of how I govern myself at sporting events. It’s amazing how much more enjoyable it becomes when the game is played with integrity and not taken too seriously.

  2. Golf was a game that I neither played enough nor was I good enough. Or is that not good enough because i didn’t play enough? i had a baseball swing which guaranteed balls taking off 100 yards one way and 100 yards to the right. (distance is up for grabs). The thing that was maddening about golf is that in team sports you can blame another player if things didn’t go well. I had no one to blame but myself when it came to golf. Now that is the real bummer!!! Glad YOU had fun Brett.

  3. David Robinson

    Golf stinks but beer and golf carts are awesome…I also think I would like to go to a party thrown by an explosives company. does that put me in the second group?

    Thanks for the light hearted post. I feel so overwhelmed trying to post on your deep topics. Miss you guys!

  4. Your anger management problem will return if you start playing regularly. Golf is great fun if you only play every now and then. If you play enough to where you start trying to improve, you will see those issues return full force.

    • but, bernard, where’s the faith in our big God who changes lives? i’ve overcome a lot darker and more prevalent problems in my life than anger — through the Holy Spirit of course.

  5. John Gardner

    I’ve often thought of how golf is so much like life. It is a good way to think while you are out there with those shots that are amazingly good and then those that put us in the rough, water, sand, behind trees, in the woods and sometimes in places where our ball is never found. I think, “how in life is this shot outcome similar to life situations?” And they are all caused by me – not the club or the ball or the wind or anything like that. Sure golf clubs, ball, and etc can all effect the outcome if we allow them to. But, then Paul’s comment, “I have learned to be content with whatever” comes to mind. What would golf look like if we amateurs (a person who takes part in sports for pleasure) didn’t keep score? Sure glad our Father doesn’t. Thank you Lord Jesus.

  6. you had me at bratwurst with onions and grilled peppers. I just pavlov-dogged it.

  7. Pingback: transfiguration over nine | aliens and strangers

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