Golf provides a life lesson Columnists

The theme of Ryan’s presentation was how he might go about giving a golf lesson. However, what he had to say was not only good for golf but all of one’s life. What follows is based on what Ryan had to say with some embellishments, especially the scripture references.

People play golf for a variety of reasons. Thus, when giving a golf lesson, it is important to spend some time with the student to find out what his/her expectations are. No matter the expectations, the student will only get out of it what they are willing to put. This involves practice and playing. The same is true with one’s life journey. We get out of it what we put in. Hebrews says “Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1b).”

Ryan began his golf lesson with the fundamentals: grip, stance, posture, and swing. These provide the foundation for playing golf. To be a success in life one needs to have a good foundation. The Book of Proverbs in its present form was intended to provide boys going through their bar mitzvah with guidelines for living. If followed, it would provide a foundation upon which the young men could build a good life.

A golf swing is made up of a number of different elements. Players might need to work on a number of them if they want to improve their game. However, it is important that one does not try to work on them all at once. One needs to choose one or possibly two on which to concentrate. One needs to practice until one cannot get this aspect of the swing wrong. When it is mastered, then one can move to one or two more. When life would seem to overwhelm us, we need to remember Jesus’ advice in the Sermon on the Mount to take one day at a time.

Crucial to a good golf game is alignment – ​​the concept of Addressing the golf ball with your body and club face directed precisely at the intended target. In our life journey it is important to keep one’s eye on the target. In Philippians Paul says, “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the price of the Heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:12b).”

In the heat of a round it is easy to lose one’s focus on the target. Thus, it is helpful for another set of eyes to keep one’s alignment on the goal. As we journey through life it is easy to lose sight of the goal. Therefore, it is important that we do not travel alone. The Book of Proverbs says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help (Proverbs 4:9-10).”

Ryan ended by reminding all of us that when all is said and done, golf is just a game. Therefore, no matter our expertise we should have fun. As we make our journey through our life under the sun, we need to stop and smell the roses and enjoy the trip.

Ryan Steele was speaker on Saturday, November 12, for the monthly breakfast of the United Methodist Church at Plymouth First UMC. Ryan graduated from Methodist College with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Marketing with a Concentration in Professional Golf Management. In 2009 he went to work for the PGA as their Golf Management University Coordinator. Currently, Ryan is the Head Golf Professional at Swan Lake Resort.

The Rev. Dave Hogsett is a retired United Methodist pastor. They can be e-mailed at [email protected]

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