- Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life - The Defining Moment

'Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life' with Tom Kelley
Originally posted on 07/30/2020

The Defining Moment

The great singer, Beverly Sills, was once asked about what spurred her to be the accomplished vocalist she had become. In the course of her answer she said, "You may be disappointed if you fail, but you're doomed if you don't try." I wonder if she played golf. If ever there was a sport which combined disappointment tainted with impending doom, it is golf.

Perhaps the best scripture that can be associated with golf is Romans 7:15. "For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do." Golf is a game of good intentions. However, it is rife with impending doom. No one intends to hit three balls out of bounds on the easiest hole on the course. Mark my words, someone will at almost every golf course around the world. The intent is there, but doom always lurks.

This was played out in dramatic/comedic fashion in the movie, "Tin Cup," which has arguably the single most dramatic golf shot ever put in a movie. Cup had every intention to win the tournament when he settled over the ball the first time to go for the water protected green. But he wanted his name to be etched in history for the dramatic rather than the predictable. The five balls he hit into the water brought him to the brink of disaster. The last ball he hit in the cup for his twelve from 246 yards brought him celebrity.

Beverly Sills' statement is all about risk/reward. Any golfer who has ever stood on a tee or a fairway in a match at a professional or amateur event, or even a friendly head-to-head at a local club, can tell you that, at some point, the match will be on the line with a single defining moment presenting itself begging to be seized. It may mean cutting the corner of a dogleg over an area marked out-of-bounds, or a long carry to a green well guarded by water, or putting the ball close to the flag over a bunker with almost no green in between; the moment will be there.

Every day we are presented with defining moments. We are given the opportunity to "go for the green" in many situations; to "knock one stiff to the pin" when it truly counts. Do we fear failure so much that we do nothing? Or do we claim the power within us through God's Spirit and rise to the occasion? It's time to realize the defining moment is every moment in Christ. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

Meet the Author:
Tom Kelley, pastor, speaker, lived with his wife, Becky, in Georgetown, Kentucky

...He was the Minister of the Minorsville Christian Church located near Stamping Ground, KY.

...Becky and Tom have three children; John, single and in worship ministry in Nicholasville, Kentucky; Sean, married (Jennifer, elementary school teacher) with twins (Grace and Patrick, b.d. 10/31/04) and regional director of Papa John's Pizza in Central KY; Kara, married (Vince Taylor, prison guard) and working with Hospice East in Winchester, KY.

...Tom went to be with the Lord on November 13, 2009 after a lengthy battle with cancer.  If you have been touched by Tom's writings please send an email to Tom's son at

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