The Game of Golf

By Mark Hopper

Photo By: Sarah Sanchez (L-R) Steve Almquist, Pastor Mark Hopper, Jack Penzes, and Al Smith.

Photo By: Sarah Sanchez
(L-R) Steve Almquist, Pastor Mark Hopper, Jack Penzes, and Al Smith.

I started playing golf with my father-in-law after my wife and I got married.  He was a good golfer – I was not.  He patiently endured my struggles as I learned to play the game. Golf has a lot of rules and regulations.  One interesting thing about golf is that each player is responsible to follow and enforce the rules on him. There are certain courtesies that each person extends to his fellow players.  For example, you remain quiet when another player is swinging or putting.  You are expected to repair your divots on the green and rake the sand trap after you hit your ball out of it.

A group of men from our church play golf every week on Monday afternoons.  I enjoy spending time with these men.  We are not good golfers but we have fun together around the golf course. The grass in the fairway is usually cut short and makes it easier to find your ball.  But the grass along the edges of the fairway is called the rough.  Here the grass is longer making it more difficult to find and hit your golf ball.

Recently, I hit my drive into the thick grass off the fairway.  My partners and I looked and looked trying to find my ball.  There was a group behind us waiting for us to keep moving. I was playing a “Titleist 2” with a red logo on it.  When one of my golfing buddies located a “Titleist 2”, I quickly hit my shot out of the rough and we moved on.

However, after we played the next hole, I discovered that the golf ball we had found was not mine.  It was a “Titleist 2”, but it did not have the red logo on it.  We had found and I had hit the wrong ball! Hitting the wrong ball is a costly mistake in golf.  The rules impose a penalty for any golfer hitting the wrong ball. As we walked up to the final tee box, the group behind us pulled up and asked if I had lost a Titleist 2 golf ball.  How did they know?  Because they had also lost a “Titleist 2” ball!  Apparently they had found my golf ball in the tall thick grass and I had found theirs!

I felt bad that I had hit their golf ball, but they were gracious and understanding.  Many of us had difficulty searching through the long grass for lost golf balls that day.  They were glad to get their golf ball back and I was glad to have mine too!

Golf is a lot like life.  We all make mistakes and we are thankful when people are understanding and forgiving.  I’m sure that there have been times when someone took your parking place at the mall or spilled a cup of coffee on your kitchen table. We need to be willing to forgive people and remember that we make mistakes too.   In Ephesians 4:32 it says, “Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgives you”.

Let me encourage you to be more patient and understanding with the people you meet this week.  Be willing to forgive them just like you would hope they would forgive you.  They will be glad you did and you will too.