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Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life

    by Tom Kelley

A Bad Day's Blessing
Date Posted: October 7, 2021

Ever have a bad day? Golfers occasionally have bad days. Let me describe a bad day for a golfer. Better yet, let me share some bad days with you for some pretty well known golfers and some you may never have heard about. Like Alvin Liau of Singapore. Liau was playing in the then prestigious World Cup tournament in 1971 at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The 13th hole was very unlucky for Liau as he shanked six straight shots into a water hazard and finished the hole with an 18.

In the 1980 Masters Tom Weiskopf hit five straight shots into the pond at the 12th hole. His wife, Jeannie, was following Tom in the gallery and was in tears watching her husband struggle. A friend tried to console her by saying, "Don't worry, Jeannie, Tom's not using new golf balls." Frank Sinatra once played a round of golf with Arnold Palmer in which he continually played from the rough. Following the round he asked Palmer, "What do you think of my game?" Unblinking, Palmer replied, "Not bad, but I still prefer golf."

Speaking of Arnold Palmer. The General was leading his army around the Rancho Park Golf Course for the first round of the 1961 Los Angeles Open playing sterling golf until he got to the 508 yard par five 9th hole. The wheels came off at the hole as Arnold hit five successive drives out of bounds to take an uncharacteristic 12 on the hole. The most strokes on a hole at a major belongs to one Ray Ainsley who carded an unthinkable 19 in the 1938 U. S. Open at Cherry Hills outside Denver, Colorado. Ainsley put a shot into a stream fronting the green on the par four 16th hole and, instead of taking a penalty stroke and laying out, waded into the stream and proceeded to take 11 strokes to get his ball out of the stream.

When futility hits, golfers struggle to keep their cool. During the 1961 Canadian Open (the only national championship Jack Nicklaus ever played in that he did not win) Jim Ferree was cursing his poor putting, a nagging backache, lousy weather and simple fatigue when he stopped in the middle of a small bridge and tossed his bag and clubs over the rail. When told he could be fined as much as $1,650, Ferree had his caddy retrieve his gear and he continued with the tournament. But that's golf. What about life?

One of our elders at Minorsville, T. Wright, has been through some bad days having lost his wife a number of years ago. One day, while we were talking about his struggles, I asked him how he got through those bad days. His response was simple. "I remember Psalm 37:25," he told me. "I have been young and now am old; yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread." In the midst of true difficulty, God's presence with His people is one of the best blessings a person can have.

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Biography Information:
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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