I began playing the game of golf at age nine. Dr. Scott sawed off some men’s clubs for me, put some spikes in a pair of tiny, leather loafers, and away we went to the Salina Elks golf course. I loved it from the very first swing. There was something magical about walking around the countryside and chasing a little white ball and playing it wherever you happened to hit it. The golf course was unwatered except for the greens. The grass was buffalo wherever there was any and you learned to hit the ball first because the ground, come summertime, was as hard as concrete. I still remember the sounds and smells. It was not considered much of a golf course but I loved it.
Today, a couple minutes before 8am, my caddie (Jimmy) and I put a peg in the ground at one of the best golf courses in the world – Muirfield Village. It was my first round of 2019. I’ve been playing here for 27 years now. I still love the walk from the practice green to the first tee. The smells and sounds are a bit different from 51 years ago, but they’re still just as intoxicating. I’m so grateful that my dad introduced me to this game. It has taught me so much over the years of playing it. My game has disintegrated from what it once was but my enjoyment has increased exponentially. Every round, especially ones like today where it’s just me and my caddie, take me back to the peace and solitude that only the game of golf offers. What other game is there that immerses you in God’s great creation, absorbs fully your attention, and places you in competition with only yourself and whatever hole you happen to be playing? There is nothing like it. It can be enjoyed a lone, with another, with a threesome, foursome, fivesome, or even more. It can be played with spirited competitiveness or social shits and giggles. Played alone, it turns spiritual at least for me.
My golf balls have the Muirfield Village logo on one side and the BTL brand on the other. Whenever I teed off, I made sure the logo was looking at me – same when I putted. The number on my golf balls is always 7 – the most significant number in the Bible. You see, friends, for me every round of golf is a reminder. A reminder to enjoy all of life, not just the sweet shots, to enjoy the beauty and the beast, to keep score accurately always, to play the ball where it lies period, and to appreciate time a lone, with one or two others, and even a few more. Today, I’m filled with golf and gratitude. I fired an 86 (not very good) but Dad would have been proud – I counted ‘em all, cursed after none of them, inhaled the sacred smells and exhaled all expectations. I was a lone and all one, filled with golf and gratitude. Thanks, dad, it was good.
Live hard. Love harder (Thanks, Teeks)…