'Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life' with Tom Kelley
Originally posted on 02/08/2018
Golf is a sport of precision. It is one of the few sports which requires the precise placement of a small spheroid slightly smaller than one and three quarters inches onto an area more than one hundred yards away. That is why golf is such an exasperating sport. We can kick a field goal, hit a fastball, shoot a basket, roll a strike and catch a fish just like the professional sportsmen do. However, to place a golf ball inside ten feet of the hole from one hundred yards out eight out of ten times is a therapy session waiting to happen. Add to that the uncertainty of the exact conditions of the green at the time the shot is struck and it's easy to see why more people play other sports professionally. Golf is just that hard to master.
Recently, while playing a round of golf with Ron Knight, an acquaintance from here in Georgetown, two things happened that illustrate the frustrating nature of the game of golf and its press for precision. Ron and I were playing the Longview Golf Course, one of four located in the general Georgetown area. On the par five fifth hole I caught my second shot off the toe of the club while trying to hit a cut shot toward the green and wound up in the high grass to the right of the fairway. The ball was sitting on top of the grass which made completely missing the ball and watching it drop back into the grass a possibility. As a result, I swung hard and watched as the ball traveled about forty yards out into the primary rough.
Now I was faced with having to scramble to save par. I didn't have that difficult a shot left. It was a fairly straight forward pitch from about thirty yards. I decided to play the shot to the right of the green and let the natural contours of the hole feed the ball down to the cup. I took a couple of practice swings and then hit what I thought was the perfect shot. I watched in horror as the ball landed on the only bare rock on that side of the fairway and bounded straight left, completely missing the green. In golf, that is called "rub-of-the-green." I finished the hole with a bogie and was still shaking my head about the bounce off the rock as we went to the next tee.
The next situation involved Ron and his tee shot on the par three seventeenth hole. The flag was center right which made it resonably accessible but still a little touchy distance from the forward tees. It was a "tweener" shot for Ron as he was unsure whether to hit a pitching wedge or a sand wedge. He went with a pitching wedge and let out a shout as he watched his ball hit high on the slope above the green. He was stunned as he saw the ball roll slowly down the slope, across the fringe and onto the green coming to rest about eight feet from the hole. The "rub-of-the-green" strikes again. My precision cost me while Ron's lack of it rewarded him. Life is like that.
The bottom line is that we both had to finish the course. It is not about one single shot, it is about the entire course. Following my bad bounce I rebounded to play solid golf the rest of the way. What's happened in your life? Problems? Heart aches? Unexplained sin? Follow the example of the apostle Paul. "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith." Don't sit around complaining about the bad bounces that have plagued your life or the good luck that seems to bless the lives of those around you. Finish the course. Hole that last putt in full faith of God's saving grace.