Golfers have been known to make outrageous claims of spiritual insights while walking the fairways and taking in the views of nature. Fishermen are guilty of similar boasts. However, more often than receiving gifts from nature, my cynical side says that nature itself is frequently in peril from the golfer. As support, I cite an attack that I witnessed that threatened the survival of a low-flying crow. To that, a story that I heard just last year from seemingly reliable sources about an otherwise gentle church member whose errant golf ball struck Bambi sharply on the rear quarters.


My friend, Don Humm, had a clipping among his notes, that I would simply label, “Golf Theology” It brought us a smile to conclude a difficult vigil toward the end of Don’s life. I promised several people that I would make copies of it available. So here it is:


Golf Theology


Oh God, in the game of life, you know that most of us are duffers and that we all aspire to be champions with plenty of birdies or eagles.


Help us, we pray, to be grateful for the course including both the fairways and the rough. We thank you for those who have made it possible for us to tee off.  Thank you for the thrill of a solid soaring drive; the challenge of the dogleg; the trial of the trap; the discipline of the water hazard; the beauty of a cloudless sky and the exquisite
misery of rain and cold.


"Thank you, O God, for Jesus Christ our pro,  who shows us how to get the right grip on life; to slow down in our back swing; to correct our crazy hooks and slices; to keep our head down in humility and to follow through in self-control.    May He teach us also to be good sports who will accept the rub of the green,  the penalty for being out-of-bounds, the reality of lost golfballs,  the relevancy of par, the dangers of the 19th hole and the authority  of our special rule book - the Bible.


And Lord, when the last putt has dropped into the cup; the light of our last day has faded into darkness of death; though our trophies be few, our handicap still too high and that hole-in-one an unfulfilled dream, may we be able to turn in to You, our Tournament Director at the Great Clubhouse, an honest score card.



I like notion of being grateful for both fairways and rough, and I like comparisons between the many hazards of golf, to the difficulties that make life interesting. In his book, Golf and the Spirit, by psychologist, M. Scott Peck, the author makes the point that less than 1% of the people who golf can expect to complete a round in par. To say, “That’s par for the course” is to say “that is what is to be expected.” However, with an estimated forty million people around the globe routinely playing golf with the likely hood of no more than ten thousand of them capable of scoring par on the average, par for the course should be reserved for outrageous good fortune, for the blatantly unequal, for performance beyond superior.” So I advise you to forget about par, he say,  and play your best game, for the “battle of self against self” is golf, and you will likely find your greatest enemy to be your own enamorment with perfection. You will need to practice kenosis, to empty yourself of this enamorment – if you can.” (More about kenosis at another time.) 


Just puttering


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Presbyterian Church of the Roses
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