Daily Devotionals

Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life

Devotional: August 31st

Knowing the Rules

Games have rules. Golf is not different than baseball, basketball, cricket or rugby. Its rules book has been refined and updated over the years to accommodate the changes that have been made in course conditions and the ever-being-modified equipment. Invariably, some place in a friendly match I play, a question concerning the rules comes up. Usually it has something to do with a ball leaving the field of play and coming to rest in an area that is unplayable or out-of-bounds. Knowing the differences between the two can save a golfer a lot of strokes.

The United States Golf Association runs rules workshops periodically during the year to benefit golfers who might be interested in understanding the finer points of their game. In 1997, thirteen such workshops were held at different locations across the United States. The USGA even made sure that the professional tours were made aware of the times and places of the workshops. Notices were repeatedly posted for the PGA, LPGA and Senior PGA Tour players. Out of the hundreds who could have attended from the professional tours only one took the time; the LPGA's Annika Sorenstam.

Now comes the question. How much does her knowledge of the rules of the game have to do with the fact that, next to Lance Armstrong, she is probably the most dominant figure in sports among athletes around the world? She is more dominant than Tiger, Shaq, or any other athlete who is considered at the top of their game. To successfully manage a round of golf is to know where not to hit the ball as well as it is to know where to hit the ball.

Danger lurks on many holes. However, the danger can sometimes be as different as night and day. The danger of having to hit out of a sand trap is nowhere as penal as having to take the stroke and distance penalty of hitting a ball out of bounds. Hitting into ground under repair is a free drop whereas laying out of a bad lie in a hazard is a stroke. Having a ball lying up against a tree results in playing the ball as it lies. A ball lying against a moveable grandstand or other temporary structure receives free relief. Golfers have wasted strokes not knowing such simple rules.

How many people have struggled with their Christian existence because they have no idea of the "rules?" God's Word is right there for the studying. His precepts and principles for life, and their accompanying blessings, are as plain as day, but only to those who bother to read them. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God might be complete, thoroughly furnished for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16, 17

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