Back in 1982, my husband and I were in a yogurt shop where an elderly couple overheard that we were celebrating our seventh wedding anniversary. The husband proudly informed us that they had already celebrated their 60th. He then looked at my husband and commented, “You won’t even really know her until after 25 years!”
Well, I’d have to say that went both ways. Eighteen years into our marriage, my husband rediscovered and began to earnestly play golf. He had golfed as a kid with his father, but I figured that was long in his past. Not so. Of all the things that have tested my marriage, golf ranks high on the list. I had many an irreverent conversation with God about the state of affairs at the outset. But thanks to His abounding grace and the mentoring of some very dear Christian women, I weathered the storms. But, wait...there’s more. Not only did I accept the fact that golf was going to be a part of our lives, I discovered that my two daughters (seven years apart in age) both demonstrated pronounced talent and skill in this sport.
In the fifteen years since, I have walked hundreds of golf courses, sat through hours and hours of lessons, and read most everything I could get my hands on to better understand the game and learn how it is to be played well. (Note: I don’t play golf. I tell people I already know how to talk to myself!) The high point of all this came this summer when my youngest daughter participated in the 2008 USGA Girls’ Junior Championship. She exceeded her expectations with excellent scores during the two days of qualifying which allowed her to “make the cut” and play two more rounds of match play. The years of practice and diligence (on all our parts)paid off with the opportunity to play at a high level and learn a tremendous amount in the process.
I have used the sport of golf in numerous ways in our homeschool. Arithmetic, geometry, physics, and a host of other subjects have been interwoven with golf and were enhanced by the relationship. Early on, I worked to incorporate a biblical worldview into the activity in keeping with the fact that our faith is a faith for all of life. This gave us many chances to deal with character issues and matters of the heart. This year, we instituted a practice that when Dorothy plays a course, she carries a small notebook with key reminders on to how to play each hole. On every one of the 18 pages (one page for each hole), I’ve included a Scripture passage that is pertinent to trusting in God for every outcome and thanking Him regardless of the result. Here are the current selections:
Hole #1 – Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.
Hole #2 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Hole #3 – Let your light so shine among men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Hole #4 – Ye are the light of the world, a city on a hill cannot be hid.
Hole #5 – Cast your burdens on the Lord; He shall sustain you.
Hole #6 – Wait on the Lord; He shall strengthen your heart.
Hole #7 – Thy will be done, Lord, on earth as it is in heaven.
Hole #8 – In this world you will have tribulation; but have no fear, I have overcome the world.
Hole #9 – Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice.
Hole #10 – The things you have learned, received, heard, and seen in me do, and the God of peace shall be with you.
Hole #11 – I press on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Hole #12 – Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report…think on these things.
Hole #13 – God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus.
Hole #14 – The trying of your faith worketh patience.
Hole #15 – Let patience have her perfect work that you may be perfect and entire wanting for nothing.
Hole # 16 – Every good and perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.
Hole #17 – If God be for you, who can be against you?
Hole #18 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
The entire competitive round becomes an opportunity to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding as we endeavor to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.(1 Cor. 10:31)