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Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life

    by Tom Kelley

Finish the Course
Date Posted: July 11, 2024

Back in those halcyon days of yore (I love those old phrases) golf was contested by a format called match play. Match play is a contest in which the players compete from hole to hole not stroke to stroke. The player with the lowest score on any given hole wins the hole. The player with the most holes won wins the match. At the end of the round the competitors do not have a score to compare against each other based on their total strokes for the round, just the hole by hole comparison.

Forty-nine years ago today was the last time that the PGA Championship was contested in a match play format. Back at that time, not only did they play the match at match play, but they also played thirty-six holes of golf the last day for the remaining two competitors. As a result, Dow Finsterwald (that is such a cool name) and Lionel Hebert (that's pronounced AY - bear) were playing in the finale. Their venue for the championship match was the Miami Valley Golf Club in Dayton, Ohio.

On the 34th hole of the match, Finsterwald hit his second shot on the par four sixteenth into an adjoining creek. Due to an unrelated obstruction he received a free drop from the creek. In spite of his good fortune he goes on to lose the hole with a bogey to Hebert's par. Finsterwald went on to lose the match as Hebert parred out. The next year, to make sure the Palmers and Hogans and Sneads and Nelsons were still around, the format was changed to medal play, a format that gave the players a chance to catch the leader on the weekend.

Life is not a match play event. You don't win enough days and then sit back and content yourself that you've done enough because you think you've done more than the others around you. It's a medal play event. You have your good days and your bad days. God wants to see who is there at the end. He wants to see who has the persistence and faith (funny how those two go together) to hang in there until the end of the tournament. He wants to see which person has played what's in their bag the best without quitting.

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." Ephesians 6:10, 11, 13 God does not want us to ever feel that we are so far behind that we cannot win. He wants us to know that the victory is secure in Him and all we need do is be there at the end standing, having finished the course. 2 Timothy 4:7

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"Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life" from Tom Kelley

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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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