Skip to comments.God and golf: Where every shot, shank and duff are His will
Posted on 06/09/2011 7:41:46 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
Dont let anyone tell you that they play the game of golf because they love it. This is a game that even the most proficient find exasperating. Only a few among the millions of its advocates consistently meet the standard of basic expectation par.
The vast majority will spend hours upon hours, dollar upon dollar, swinging away at a 1.680-inch diameter ball, in some of the most beautiful settings on earth. Their motivations may be varied, but it cant be because they love the game. This game wasnt designed to be loved but endured!
Dont confuse my rant with bitterness at my own frustration over the years playing golf. My golf angst is based on sound theology. Golf by design is a Presbyterian game, an opinion I hold with all due respect and affection for brothers and sisters of that persuasion. Its not a bad thing that it is a Presbyterian game. On the contrary, it may be the best and only way to actually play this game.
The modern game of golf originated in Scotland long before the Protestant Reformation introduced Calvinism into the Christian mix. The first written reference to golf as we have come to know it was Scottish King James IIs 1457 ban of the game as an unwelcome distraction to learning archery.
The game fits perfectly with the radical concepts of predestination introduced into the Scottish Reformation by the eloquent revolutionary John Knox (1514-1572). After a short-lived banishment to Geneva, Switzerland, due to his fervent nationalism and violent opposition to the Roman Catholic Church, Knox assimilated John Calvins insistence that each and every moment in a persons life, even his or her own religious commitment, is preordained by an omnipotent Divinity. Such faith requires the adherent to live out those moments in obedience and contrition to an all-controlling God.
There is no record of Knox playing golf, but its not hard to imagine that his disciples did with joy and abandon upon learning that God Almighty preordained each and every swing in golf, from solid hit to muff.
For disciples of the Methodist Reformers, John and Charles Wesley (1703-1791/1707-1788), who emphasized free will, such as myself, golf is nothing but one temptation after another. Rather than an all-controlling God, free will assumes a God that influences, powerfully to be sure, but ultimately leaves each and every moment to the choices of Gods creatures.
Thus a good golf drive can become a moment of self-aggrandizement or a bad one the occasion for self-loathing. The free-will advocate who takes up golf will find himself or herself constantly looking up to heaven imploring Gods intervention, or worse, staring down below at ones feet wondering if the devil is making them play this bewildering game.
No, golf is best played by Presbyterians, not by denomination but mindset. There is freedom to enjoy golf only when you can rest assured that each and every missed shot, shank, hook, duff, bunker muff and lipped cup is Gods will. For Methodists, not by denomination but those who carry the free-will mindset, the game will drive you crazy!
It makes complete sense, at least to me, that not only was Scotland the home base for the Presbyterian evangelization of the world but along with it came golf, now a global sport.
I was reminded of these truths while taking my father out to play nine holes with my son for my dads Christmas present this year. My dad loves the game and has played it with devotion for years. He has been joined by a circle of buddies that share the same passion for the male version of affection: the jokes, the camaraderie, the silly bets, the pitcher of beer after the game as the occasion for storytelling. They endure the game each week, but they wouldnt miss the friendship. Over the years as they have succumbed to illness, divorce or death, this circle has stood by each other for support and comfort, welcoming new members along the way.
Today my dad is thin and frail. Its a huge physical effort for him to play nine holes. He can whack the ball approximately 30 yards at a time. Getting the ball out of the cup after a putt takes quite an effort. But he loves to be out there. We are convinced that such exercise has helped keep him as healthy and alert as he is at 86, which is a real blessing.
My dad doesnt keep score anymore; thats the Presbyterian side of him. But he does mutter frustrations that involved Gods name when he muffs it thats the Methodist side of him.
But as my son and I watched him and his golfing buddy laugh, cajole and tease each other over their game and 43-year history of friendship, we could both see why folks play this stupid game.
And it isnt because they love it.
Its because they love each other.
....a good golf drive can become a moment of self-aggrandizement or a bad one the occasion for self-loathing. The free-will advocate who takes up golf will find himself or herself constantly looking up to heaven imploring Gods intervention, or worse, staring down below at ones feet wondering if the devil is making them play this bewildering game.
No, golf is best played by Presbyterians, not by denomination but mindset. There is freedom to enjoy golf only when you can rest assured that each and every missed shot, shank, hook, duff, bunker muff and lipped cup is Gods will. For Methodists, not by denomination but those who carry the free-will mindset, the game will drive you crazy!....
....There is no record of Knox playing golf, but its not hard to imagine that his disciples did with joy and abandon upon learning that God Almighty preordained each and every swing in golf, from solid hit to muff.
"Presbyterians often forgot that John Knox had been a Sunday bowler"
-- from the thread Revolution, devolution, evolution
For myself, playing a round of golf is simply the most pernicous way of ruining a nice walk.
Ah. Ping. Very good.
The golf course is a place where people put their soul and character on display.
For a moment, before actually reading the article (which was quite good), I thought this was about me!
Supposedly, God got the attention
of the one and only
“School’s Out For Summer”
through a golf video commentary of R.C. Sproul...
To the Sovereignty of God in every whiff, duff, wormburner, shank, slice, hook, five-putt-to-make-a-triple-bogey....
As an unconverted youngster, I was an selfish, prideful, evil little prick on the golf course.
To my shame.
Re: see my tagline.
Golf spelled backwards: flog
He must've been in a jokester mood when preordaining Charles Barkley's swing.
I found Jesus on the golf course. Well at least I heard his name several times.
The only time my prayers are never answered is on the golf course.
If you are caught on a golf course during a storm and are afraid of lightning, hold up a 1-iron. Not even God can hit a 1-iron.
Lee Trevino quotes
If profanity had an influence on the flight of the ball, the game of golf would be played far better than it is. ~Horace G. Hutchinson
I truly believe in predistination and golf. If I am shooting even par going into the last hole I will shoot at least a 12 on the 18th.
Caddyshack? Why do I think that´s such an entertaining movie? My wife hates it.
I once saw and heard a golfer cussing his soul out after he´d thrown his club and it caught in a tree. Wow, was he PO´d.
Not going to lie. My GHIN is 18.9. But I enjoy every time I get to play golf. The days are usually beautiful, the courses are beautiful, and usually my playing partners are nice guys. I find it quite enjoyable to mentally and physically seek perfection. I wish I was a better putter, but you can’t have everything. I don’t know anything about what this guy is writing about, but I have fun. And it’s always nice to sit down with a few friends after a round and have a beer.