I've been trying to consistently post to this blog as I compile a book regarding my experiences with the Lord and the game of golf, sooooo, I’ve been scouring the net this AM looking at the Christian Golf stuff….. oh, my , Father, what am I to be and do?
Who am I?
I am a 71 year old man who became a follower of Jesus Christ in early 1981. I was led to read the Bible on my own at that time and decided to believe the writings of the Apostles and that Jesus was the Savior of mankind. I was 28 years old, married to Anne with two young children at the time. I was a career Army officer in the Aviation Branch and Corps of Engineers. I was very consistent in reading the Bible over many years; in fact, the Bible is the life’s-blood of my steadfastness in faith.
My sanctification or Christian maturity and growth have not been without trials, tribulations, failures and successes. I grew in faith while staying in the military and serving in the USA, Korea, Greece, Germany and, even California, lol. My final assignment in the US Army was at Fort Dix, NJ as the Provisional Battalion Commander of Fort Dix. This crowning achievement was more about the challenges of a Christian man working as the leader of some 1,200 men and women, but, the most memorable recollections of the time involved the building of relationships with subordinates and challenging soldiers to do their best as they prepared themselves for future battles and civilian careers.
In the latter part of my Army career, I earnestly sought out how to merge my love for Christ with my passion for the game of golf for a career after the Army. In 1989, during a prayer session regarding the next phase of my career in golf/ministry, I heard the Lord tell me something similar to; “You are going to be an agent for Christian golfers.” At the time, I thought this was ‘ridiculous’, so I pursued other plans that came to me and ended up establishing a golf tournament business.
I initiated a golf consultation company called Kingdom Corporate Golf (KCG) just 18 months or so before I retired from the Army in 1994. My goal became to consult with corporations in the conduct of their golf appreciation events, but, to enlist Christian professional golfers to fill the celebrity role at the events. The Christian professional would conduct a golf clinic as well as present an inspirational speech or testimony of their Christian faith during the corporation’s celebration dinner. Additionally, KCG would organize a parallel event that would include local Fellowship of Christian Athlete huddles, church youth groups or, just, interested youngsters and have them attend a testimonial outreach by the professional golfer as well.
In the search for relationships with professional golfers who were followers of Jesus Christ, I was blessed to meet Bobby Clampett at a www.linksplayers.com outing in Myrtle Beach in 1994.
This was a Godsend!
I knew no one at this event, yet, I knew that I needed to speak with Bobby regarding the Kingdom Corporate Golf mission as well as introduce the fundraising ideas I had through golf that would benefit the Links Players Ministry and the person to introduce that to was Jim Hiskey.
Again, I knew no one and on the first evening of the event, my wife Anne and I were sitting with group of other attendees getting to know each other. Suddenly, there was a commotion at the entry to the outside tent where, maybe 200 people turned and saw Bobby Clampett and his wife, Ann enter the tent area. Bobby was exactly what one would imagine a PGA Tour Player to be with his sleek physique, tanned face and, for Bobby, that long, bushy and curly sun-drenched blond hair. His wife was also tanned and fit. The crowd, naturally were enamored with them as was I.
Bobby and Ann walked to the serving table with all eyes on them. As I watched, they finished getting their food and stopped at the end of the line to, I imagined, determine where they would sit. Miraculously, I saw Bobby nod his head toward our direction and they began walking to the vicinity of our table. Bobby pulled out the seat across from me and Ann placed her plate next to my Anne. Ann Clampett said to my wife, Anne; "You're who I'm supposed to be with this weekend." Bobby reached out his hand to shake mine and said, "Hi, I'm Bobby Clampett." I was freaking out inside!! The dinner was nice with Bobby and Ann the center of attention, but, they were also very friendly. The whole time I was praying that the Holy Spirit would allow me not to "blow" this encounter by chasing after Bobby with my ideas. The Lord allowed me to be quiet and see what would happen next. The evening was awesome. Anne had no idea the magnitude of this miracle and for Ann Clampett to single her out as her attention that weekend, but, I surely got it and prayed that there would be a chance to have time with Jim Hiskey and with Bobby as well.
I got an appointment the next morning with Jim after breakfast. He was welcoming, yet there was so much going on around us, I felt he didn't have the ability to listen well enough to catch the opportunity I was presenting.
During the discussion, Polly, Jim's assistant, came up to me and said that my golfing foursome had been disrupted and that she would have to place me with others. "Who would you like to play with?" She asked. "Oh, it doesn't matter to me, Polly, just let me know."
Bobby had been conducting a clinic for the crowd while Jim and I had our meeting. When finished I went out to the practice tee and began warming up. Polly came by with a cart and told me to just head to the 18th tee to join my new group. As I drove to the tee, I could see three guys standing there and from a distance I could see the bushy blond hair of "the Pro" Bobby Clampett taking swings on the tee.
"Oh my goodness. No way." I thought.
Bobby placed his bag on my cart and said, "I'm with you today, Brother."
"What?" was my thought. "This can't be real!!"
It was real!!
Hitting my first drive after Bobby hit his straight down the middle some 300 yards or so was a real test and strain. I don't even remember hitting the ball, but, we were off and we had the advantage of "the Pro" leading our Scramble team. In fact, on the first hole we left our second shot about 20 feet short of the hole in the apron of the green. Bobby said, "Well, this is a chip-in-skee" and proceeded to chip it in for birdie. Oh my!!!
Of course, Bobby and I talked about of many things while in the cart. I knew alot about him and, as I stated earlier, had followed him at the Masters, so that I was familiar with him and his career, but about the fourth hole, I was able to share with him the Kingdom Corporate Golf idea to reach out to corporations and he listened intently. He responded, when I asked if he might help out with the program; "I can do that. That's awesome. Bill, Do you have 50 business cards with you?" "Yes, I responded." "Yeah, because there are about 50 guys on the Tour that I'll ask to help out as well."
"Oh my goodness. Are you kidding me!!" I thought in my head.
"But, Bill, I have a problem." Bobby said.
"Oh oh." I thought.
He continued; "Since becoming a Christian I have been approached regularly by ministries around the country who want to conduct some sort of outreach when the PGA Tour comes into their town. Most of these opportunities are for a breakfast or luncheon during tournament week. I want to assist, but I don't have time to coordinate or schedule the events. In fact, my agent wants to charge the ministry for my time, but, I don't want to do that and the Chaplain on the Tour can't do this work either.
Would you be the agent for these events, for our outreach at Tour breakfasts, etc. on the PGA Tour?"
I was dumbfounded!! Had he just asked me that? That was a fulfillment of what the Lord had spoken to me back when praying for ministry and golf years before.
"Bobby" I said, "I am gonna pee my pants. I can't believe you just asked me that question. But, yes, of course!!"
Immediately what came into my head was .... Wait a minute. Bobby doesn't really know me. In fact, what about the others that are on his team; the Chaplain on the Tour, Jim Hiskey and others that may be his advisors or counselors??
"But, Bobby", I said, "Maybe you should take this to the others on your ministerial team. Speak to them about your idea and get their counsel before you choose me. Speak to them first, then let's talk."
Again, I couldn't believe this was happening to me. I could clearly see how the Lord had orchestrated this entire thing. Wow!!!
That night after dinner, Bobby gave his testimony to the crowd. He left the lectern and walked right to my table and asked, "Do you have those 50 business cards? I spoke with the team and you're the guy."
Bobby and I joined together to establish The Players’ Outreach Ministry (TPOM) which was an outgrowth of the PGA Tour Bible Study. TPOM became an organization that conducted outreach breakfast gatherings at Tour stops during 1996-1998. During this time I participated in the experience of building relationships with several PGA Tour players like; Bernhard Langer, Tom Lehman, Bobby of course, Gary Hallberg, Scott Simpson and a few others, but, mainly, I helped develop the TPOM ministry, coordinate events at the Masters, the US Open, Muirfield, the PGA, and many other Tour locations. The objectives were; to introduce attendees to Jesus Christ, solicit individual commitments from attendees to a belief in Jesus Christ and coordinate contacts within the community to help these attendees in their walk with Christ.
One of the greatest experiences during that time was when I had to work with a PGA Tour Player on fulfilling his commitment to the Muirfield event when he was unsure of his ability to share his Christian story in public. It was difficult, but, I was able to help the Player understand how important it was to fulfill his responsibility and, from what I understood, the Player was blessed by fulfilling his commitment to that event.
Another wonderful experience occurred with PGA Tour Player Tom Lehman during the Masters tournament in 1998. Tom had conducted the testimonial the year before and Bernhard Langer was giving his testimony at the breakfast event that year. We had added an evening devotional and concert to the activities with John McArthur and Steve Camp participating. We were hoping to have a PGA Pro introduce the concert and when I saw Tom earlier in the week I asked him if he would conduct the introductions at the Wednesday night concert. Tom apologized and said he hoped he might do it, but, he was under a lot of pressure from his sponsors to participate in a few other events that evening. He said he would let us know.
We were in the prayer room at Warren Baptist Church just before the event that evening and a knock came on the door. It was Tom, apologizing again for his inability to conduct the introduction, due to earlier commitments, but he wanted to visit in person to apologize. What a wonderful and conscientious person!! That was a great experience!
For various reasons, TPOM dwindled in application due to nonsupport by the existing ministerial presence on the PGA Tour and after much soul searching and prayer, I decided to hand the ministry over to another ministry ministering to the PGA Tour. More to come ..............
Trying to follow the Lord's will regarding ministry and the platform of golf.