The Masters!! The Masters for goodness sakes. First time and I don't have a hotel room or a clue as to how things work, where you park, what gate to enter, etc. etc??
Who cared? It was the Masters and I was there. I had a four-day ticket, which is unthinkable, so, of course, I went every day. I, honestly, can't remember exactly what my impressions were as it was so long ago, but, the memories I do have center around the clubhouse as I was dodging back and forth looking for the PGA Tour Chaplain whom I finally found. Our meeting was about 10 - 15 minutes. He encouraged me, but, was non-committal on any relationship we might have in the future. I was a bit disappointed, but, maybe I expected too much. I later found I expected too much most times there was a ministerial opportunity.
The Masters was one of the most incredible events I had ever attended. I'll also admit that I imbibed a bit too much on Saturday while standing behind the 16th Tee Box for almost 6 hours. Nothing crazy happened during that time except the amazing visualization of tee balls exploding off of the Pros' clubfaces and the trajectory of the shots. It was amazing. What an experience!!
I was very interested in following Bobby Clampett as he was an amateur, the top amateur in the world as far as I knew, and, for some reason, I wanted to watch him play while I had to opportunity. This would pan out to be an evidence of God's leading in the future.
Funny, as I was driving away from Augusta National on Saturday, I stopped at a convenience store and passed Scott Simpson as he walked out of the store. He was buying some beer and snacks. Ha, I didn't have the courage to say anything to him.
My time at the Masters was incredible, but, honestly, it had very little impact on what I believed the Lord was calling me to do with Kingdom Corporate Golf.
One of the things I hadn't thought about including in these stories, but, just hit me, was "who was I during that time and what was the Lord doing to and through me?" Here I was seeking God's guidance, His blessing and His providence regarding this ministerial idea, but, didn't recognize until just now that I was not in any way worthy of any of these things.
Why do I say that?
Well for one thing, the Lord had told me I was going to be an agent for Christian golfers and I told God that was ridiculous! I ignored what He told me and walked in a different direction; my direction.
Secondly, what was my private life like? OK, get ready cause I'm gonna get transparent here.....
I was a mess! I was a Believer in Jesus Christ. I was reading the Bible and having regular devotionals or private time with Him. I was attending church and fellowship groups. I was reading the Bible with my children and getting to know our Chaplain at our Base. I was a Christian, y'know!!
I was a fraud!! Again, it's so long ago I can't remember everything, but, what was my private life like? What was my character? I was incredibly selfish. I had a lust problem. I had a drinking problem. Did I say how selfish I was??
God tests us to see if our character is pure. “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart” (Proverbs 17:3
I look back on that time and now realize why the Lord was hesitant to bless me and my ideas. I wasn't surrendered to Him, really.
But, golf?? What about the passion for golf??
Well, it never waned. In fact, it intensified, but, circumstances dictated that I focus on my military career and care for my family, so, I did. Two military assignments turned into three and four and four turned into 20 years of assignments in the US Army. What a blessing and an honor to retire from the US Army as a Lieutenant Colonel having finalized the time with a Provisional Battalion command of nearly 1250 people.
In 1989, during an assignment in Athens, Greece I was thinking and praying about my career focus following retirement from the Army. I was so much focused on my faith that I was seeking a ministry career, but, that passion for golf was so strong, I was praying that I could combine the two; golf and ministry. How could that be?
How the heck am I gonna get to the Masters?
Well, honestly, without reservation, I must tell you that the Lord was very clear in His answer to my question. He said, "You will be an agent for Christian golfers." What??!! Those of you that may be as old as me know that at that time the greatest example of a golf agent was Mark McCormack, the President of AIG representing Arnold Palmer and later Jack Nicklaus. The picture of Mark came into my mind so I immediately responded, "That's crazy, no way." (Looking back, that may have been an improper response. We'll see why, soon.)
I was incredibly impacted by this "word", but, didn't believe it. In fact, I said, "That's ridiculous!" So, I began walking in a different direction to establish a golf consulting business with the following focus; consult with businesses/corporations on how to conduct high-quality golf events and bring in Christian PGA Tour Pro's to give their testimony about their lives as Christ-followers. I can't remember where that idea originated, but, I was convinced it was an appropriate direction to go.
My next assignment was in San Francisco at the Presidio Army Base. I began to study about conducting high-level golf events and started calling around to discover how to engage with these PGA Tour Pros. An amazing set of events happened and through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes I found out about the Links Letter, now Links Players Ministry. I was introduced to the Chaplain of the PGA Tour by phone and invited to meet with him at the Masters that year, 1991.
The Masters?? How the heck am I gonna get to the Masters? Low and behold, the Post (Presidio) Morale and Recreation Department had a lottery each year for four four-day passes to the Masters. I put my name in the hat and miraculously won one of the tickets!! No kidding!!!
I went to the Masters for the first time ever and the journey continued.
Are you a Believer in Jesus Christ and a passionate golfer?
I bet you might be similar to me and my story; I became passionate about the game of golf when I was very young. I did everything I could to get on the golf course and improve my game. I couldn't get enough of the game, but, I really didn't have the money or family history to be a member of a golf club or able to spend days and days and hours a day working on my game.
But, the passion was there, so I did everything I could to improve my game, compete and have the ultimate goal of becoming a PGA Tour Player. The passion was kindled as I made my high school golf team and competed fairly well. I wasn't familiar with the opportunity to play college golf, but, thankfully, I got a college scholarship through the US Army (ROTC) and attended a college in Vermont. Yeah, that's right, Vermont where the golf season is about 5 months at the most. But, I had this passion, right, so I did everything I could to work on my game and was a regular member of the golf team.
Because I had an ROTC Scholarship, I had to go in the Army for a minimum of four years. My intention was to "do the time", get out and continue my pursuit of a PGA Tour Professional.
When it came time to stay in the service or get out; I was blessed enough ... to make the decision to stay in The military.
Well, the best laid plans, right??
I met the woman of my dreams my Junior year of college, got married right after graduation and headed into the Army as a 2nd Lieutenant. We were stationed in Germany for our first three-year assignment where golf, certainly wasn't the first, second or third priority. Well, maybe my wife would attest that golf was my second priority and, I almost lost her and my family because of making golf that high a priority. We had a baby during this time as well, so golf took a lower and lower priority.
What happened to the dream?
I had it in my mind still, but, our second child and a new assignment in the States continued to push the golf dream further and further down the list. When it came time to stay in the service or get out; I was blessed enough, even without a personal relationship to Jesus Christ, to make the decision to stay in the military and attend flight school rather than get out to play professional golf.
The next four years, I had two more military assignments, but, the most significant thing in my entire life happened in 1981; I became a committed Believer in Jesus Christ as my Savior. Now the priorities became even better established as I made the Lord first, wife second, family third, job fourth and the rest (where's golf) of the priorities behind any of those. Who had time??
The Lord blessed my time in the military with becoming a man, husband and father and, through His word and a bit of fellowship, I became a mature follower of Jesus Christ. What a miracle.
But, golf?? What about the passion for golf?? Read more.......
Trying to follow the Lord's will regarding ministry and the platform of golf.