If I may be so bold as to borrow from Yogi Berra, "Half of golf is ninety per cent mental." Back in 1976 when I first took up the game I talked to an old-timer who played regularly at the Running Fox Golf Course in Mansfield, Ohio. What he told me was something like, "Just remember that golf is not a sprint. It's a marathon. You have to be able to manage your mind for the whole round." I think that every golfer out there will agree with that statement. At the time I first heard it I didn't understand it. Now I do.

It is tough to keep your mind focused for a round of golf. Golf is a game of distractions. One of the worst is a fast start. I hate birdying the first hole of a round of golf. I would almost rather bogey it. For whatever reason, birdying the first hole brings on a sense of euphoria that builds a bit too much confidence that later will jump up and bite you. Let me explain. There's nothing worse than a duffer who thinks he's Tiger Woods. With a birdy under his belt a golfer can easily reach back for a little more thinking the game is easy and hit a snap hook into the trees or a banana ball into the water.

Golf takes pacing yourself. You can't rush your shot. At the same time you want to be able to maintain your playing rhythm. This is where concentration has to be at its peak. If you're a fast player a crowded golf course can throw your game off as you have to wait for each shot. If you're a slow player with a group pressing you from behind you feel like you're hurrying each shot. It's not necessarily that you have to think as much as it is to remain focused on each shot. The simple things become a struggle if you don't. As I said before, golf is a game of distractions; one of the greatest being the game itself.

Same with life. Life is one big distraction. It is easy to disassociate oneself with reality for a moment and get lost in thought. If you're sitting at your desk that might work okay. If you're behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, that could be deadly. Just as most accidents on the highway happen due to a distraction in the car, so do most problems in life. Something distracts us in our life and we lose focus. We slip up. We sin. Sometimes it's a "little" sin. Sometimes it's a big sin. Still it has happened because we got careless in living.

"Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1,2 Life is a marathon, and with it, so is salvation. Watch the distractions (the weight) and keep away from trouble (the sin) and finish the round well. Just pay attention to how Jesus played and you'll be fine.