Tuesday morning I officiated at the funeral service of Della Jane Roberts of Bellville, Ohio. Della was such a great lady in that she never saw limitations, only possibilities. She loved God, loved people and loved golf. One of the reasons she loved golf was the distance she could get out of a golf ball. Let me explain for those of you who don't know golf that well. I used to play football. (I know I said this was about golf, but bear with me) I used to kick field goals. The longest I ever kicked was somewhere around 54 yards. That's 162 feet. I also played baseball and once hit a homerun that carried some 480 feet. That's 160 yards or three times the distance I kicked my longest field goal.
Della remembered hearing that Mickey Mantle once hit a baseball 564 feet. That's a monster homerun. Della regulary hit her driver about 190 yards. That's 570 feet. That's longer than Mantle's epic homerun. Let me share something from my golfing past. The longest drive I ever hit was at a course outside Cortland, New York. I was playing with Bob Stickney, a preacher friend of mine, at the Elm Tree Golf Course. We were on the back nine playing a 450 yard slight downhill par four with the tee markers moved forward about twenty yards. I hit my tee shot and the ball just absolutely took off. It exploded from the club face. Then it got interesting.
Bob and I literally carried on a conversation while the ball was in flight. It went something like this: "That ball is really carrying, Bob." "Yeah, it is, Tom. How far do you think it's going to go? It looks like it's going right at the green." "Bob, do you think, by any stretch of the imagination, that thing's going to carry the green?" "It's still going, Tom. Maybe we better yell fore." "Okay. FORE!!!!!!" We watched as the ball hit and stopped about ten feet behind a golfer standing on the fringe of the elevated green. We estimated the ball's carry to be somewhere in the 425 yard range. Let me explain how it happened.
I was hitting a special driver that I had assembled with a 46 inch shaft and a head that was made out of laminated hard rock Canadian Maple with a graphite insert. I had lofted the club face at a very strong 7.5 degrees. I had a tail wind of somewhere in the vicinity of twenty-five to thirty miles per hour. And it was mostly downhill. So, even though I was the one who hit it, the combination of almost gale force wind, an extremely large swing arc from an over length club, and the extraordinary hardness of the insert material in the club face striking a ball that was carrying downhill had more to do with the amazing length of the tee shot. Technology and external forces were strongly at play.
"Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might." Ephesians 6:10 I don't think Paul had golf in mind when he penned those words, but there is a close correlation between my golf shot and a life lived by that verse of scripture. If we will just deliver our lives and passion to the point and time that God wants and needs us to, He will take care of the rest. He will supply the proper trajectory of our lives, the necessary length to go the distance and the direction that is needed to make sure that we arrive at the goal He has in store for us. Swing away, Christian, and watch what God can do.
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