Instead, we are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives.Ephesians 2:10
Friday morning, after maybe the longest golf-free drought of my life, I finally managed to get out and play a round with my friend George. The break had been just a week shy of six months – far too long a dry patch when it’s something I enjoy so very much.
We went out to Olde Liberty. I’ve been there four or five times over the years and it’s always the same story. The course has famously terrible fairways but decent greens. It’s challenging, long (for me), and requires a lot of careful shot placement. But I love the layout; the course fits the topography beautifully and I have enjoyed playing every visit.
I learn something about myself every time I play, and this was no exception. I figured out why I seldom shoot over 90 and almost never shoot below 80. And it has nothing to do with mechanics.
My approach to play:
My story begins with good hand-eye coordination. I am a naturally good ball-striker no matter what the sport. I can quite easily do what Bubba Watson was explaining when he said, “I try to hit the back of the ball.”
I am also relaxed. I have a personality that tends not to get upset when I mess up. Consequently I don’t get all tense and seize up when things go wrong. Every shot is a new adventure and that is part of the fun. This is why I seldom shoot over 90.
It’s also – I figured out – why I almost never shoot below 80! Golf, it turns out, especially if you want to shoot in the 70’s, requires focus and concentration.
I tend to talk, enjoy the day, get to my ball, briefly assess the situation, grab a club, take a quick look at the target, then take a swing.
Yesterday I opened a brand new sleeve of balls at the 7th hole, grabbed my driver, looked down the fairway, then launched a ball somewhere into the stratosphere approximately 45-degrees to the right of where I was aiming. It went over the trees, over the houses, and probably landed in the street!
“Think about what you’re doing, Derek!” I said to myself. Then I got set, relaxed, went over the mechanics of my swing in my mind, tuned out the conversation I had been thinking about, concentrated for a moment, then piped the ball a ridiculously long way down the exact middle of the fairway!
I just do not seem to be equipped with the kind of concentrated focus required to do that every time a stand over a golf ball!
Out of Bounds!
Anyway, this is how I hit the ball out of bounds in other parts of my life, too! Coasting, getting by on natural ability, avoiding the hard work required to take whatever it is to the next level.
Sometimes, especially now Rebekah and I are officially “retired”, it is tempting to say, “Well I guess we put in the effort for forty-plus years so now we can sit back.” As if God equipped us with the gifts we have for our benefit alone, our convenience, our livelihood rather than advancing God’s good Kingdom so long as we draw breath.
Obviously there is a different tempo to life now we are older. But it is still tempo. Kind of like the golf swing. It’s not about hitting the ball 300-yards anymore; but it’s still about balance, about tempo, and – yes – about concentration and focus.