God on the Golf Course

Every six months or so, I give my wife a vacation. She is a stay at home mother of our six children, all under the ages of 8. She stays very busy and maintains a photography business on the side. However, even super-woman needs a vacation every now and then. I give her a choice, she can go and we can stay at home or we can leave and she can stay at home. Her choice this fall, to stay at home. So, off we went to Ohio, where my mother lives and right outside the area where I grew up.

My mother is wonderful and gracious. Prior to my trip, she told me to be sure to bring my golf clubs and she would watch the kids and I could play golf. Awesome, I was getting a bit of a vacation also. I played a lot of golf. I played 9 holes on the day we got there, 54 holes the next day, 36 the next day, and 18 the final day. That’s right, it was a grand total of 108 holes in four days. It was awesome. During these rounds, I had an opportunity to play the course that I grew up on, its called Cliffside golf course in Huber Heights, Ohio. I was excited to play it as I had not played it in 25 years.

As I pulled onto the road of the Golf course. It was like going back in time. The place hadn’t changed in 25 years. The clubhouse was still this terrible lime green color and had the smell musty smell of 25 years ago. Twenty-five years ago they had a stand-up poster of the three stooges in the corner where they were holding golf clubs. It was still there. I was dumbfounded.

As I began to play, all of the holes were exactly the same. With the exception that the back nine in years past is now the front nine; otherwise, it was like going back in time. It was a nice round down memory lane and then God showed up. Let me explain a little about my background.

You see, I’m a recovering alcoholic and drug addict and have been clean for 10 years. Many of the issues that I treated with alcohol and drugs stemmed from a bad relationship with my father. I never felt “good enough” and the only thing that made me feel loved by my father was achievement. Athletic achievement made me feel like my father loved me. When I didn’t “make par” I would feel like Dad was rejecting me. Well, many of the issues that I had with my dad developed on this particular golf course. However, it had been 25 years since it happened and Dad has been dead for almost ten. (He died of lung cancer) As I was playing this course, God showed up and revealed to me that many issues with Dad were developed on th is course. It was on the number 5 that Dad promised me that he would stop smoking. He broke that promise and eventually died. It was on the number 10, that he made me feel very inadequate by chastising me for making a double bogey. I had no idea that all of these issues still lingered till God showed up on the course and began revealing things to me that I had forgotten about. It was becoming more than a leisurely round on the lynx.

As I was approaching the 17th tee, I noticed that the hole that ran behind it was my Dad’s favorite hole. It was a long par 5 where the first 160 yards are a water hazard. I was the only one on the golf course so I decided to leave the tee box and go down to this fairway and just sit for a minute. As I got there, I remember a really nice time when Dad and I had both birdied the hole and it really brought us together. As I recalled this forgotten memory, God told me that this was the way that He always see me regardless of my failures or my success. It was a healing moment for me. I no longer needed to work in order to please God the way that I had to do with Dad. I got a little emotional. Then, I headed back to the 17th tee to finish the round. When I got back to the tee box, I noticed a golf ball on the tee. (I hadn’t noticed it before) I told God, “Alright, If I’ve received something from you let this ball be a Titleist Pro-V1. These are expensive balls and generally all that I play with because of my prima dona golfer status. So, I pick up the ball, and it’s a Pro V-1. It was a number one, and someone had drawn a symbol of the trinity on it. (Three circles joining each other in a triangle) That ball continues to serve me as a constant reminder that God loves me not matter what I succed at and no matter what I fail at. I just went out to play some golf, but God had other ideas.