“When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.” – Proverbs 11:2
“Birdie Pride is so expensive!” – random golf dude
One of the best things about playing golf is the real-time learning. Rather, I should say the potential learning. Some people have a hard time in any learning environment, and they tend to repeat the same mistakes regardless. Personally, in theory I am wide open to learning… while in practice I tend to quickly forget.
My issue though is not so much obduracy as it is lack of concentration. “Look, Derek,” I will say to myself – even out loud sometimes; “the green obviously slopes significantly to the left so aim the putt well above the hole.” Great idea. Then at the point of release I find myself looking at the hole, and I haven’t aimed to the right at all! Time and again.
This concentration thing is tough for me, even more so when I’m using my driver. I tend to take in the view, talk with the other players, drink in the beautiful autumn air, think about an itch on my knee halfway into my backswing, imagine how this hole would frame up if I had my Nikon DSLR with me, notice a hawk land on a nearby branch, see how exquisitely the winter sun casts long shadows across the fairway… and more. All this just before, just after, and in the middle of attempting to hit a very small ball with a fast-moving club at the end of a long shaft.
But I digress.
My point this morning is something one of the other guys said to me after I completely destroyed my scorecard on one very short and easy hole. He grinned congenially: “Birdie Pride is so expensive!” he said. Then he flat out laughed!
Another way this idea could be phrased is, “Birdie Pride can be costly.” Birdie Pride being capitalized because – in golf and in life – it absolutely is a thing.
The context started several holes previously, during a round at Falls Village Golf Club. After a rough start my game had settled down so that I had several good holes in succession. Then, on this daunting double dogleg par five, three really good shots in a row followed by a 15-foot putt gave me a birdie.
As a former soccer player I tried hard not to run across the green, slide a couple of yards on my knees, beat my chest, then pull my shirt off and jump into the crowd; but I did fist pump enthusiastically and raise both hands in the air; and I may have yelled a little bit. And I wouldn’t be surprised if I had been strutting when I walked up to the next tee.
My undoing was a short par three; a straightforward nine iron into a generous green. I think Mr. “Birdie Pride” said something about, “I must be overdue for a hole-in-one.” Then he hit the top of the ball and it rolled maybe thirty yards to the left into the rough! It took many more whacks, plus all of my remaining pride to get the ball into the hole!
Proverbs 11:2 reads: “When pride comes, then comes disgrace; but with humility comes wisdom.” The entire chapter is worth reading, but I felt this reminder about humility to be very timely.
Not Just Golf:
Of course the biblical writers had no knowledge of or interest in my golf game. But the missteps I always make when humility takes a back seat – that’s something else entirely. Not to mention the importance of focus when there is so much to learn.
Every day, every way, trying to pay attention to the whispering of the Spirit.
If you have a moment, enjoy scrolling through some of these images from the Falls Village golf course.
Peace – in every way – DEREK