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  • Writer's pictureTrace Pirtle

Christian Golf: Play It Where It Lies

Updated: Oct 3, 2022

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I recently talked with one of our brothers-in-Christ, a retired golf pro. He and I are serious about our walk with the Lord, but sometimes I think we get too serious. Perhaps God wants us to lighten up and have fun with Him as we study the Bible.

Here’s how our conversation changes when we relax, have fun, and relate our Christian walk to the game of golf.

The Bible and Golf

Those who subscribe to the Holy Bible (and Golf Digest) believe God created all things. He got busy in those first six days. After that, he made everything, including Adam, the first perfect man (and “potentially” perfect golfer).

We are told that God took a break on the seventh day and rested from His work (see Genesis Chapter 1). What we aren’t told, I believe, is that while God was kicking back in His heavenly hammock, He decided to have a little fun with His creation.

God knew that Adam was about to take a wrong dogleg turn toward the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and thereby forfeit his perfect scorecard with God. Of course, his caddy, Eve, should have talked him out of that play, but we’ll let them sort out their mistakes.

So, God decided to create golf to remind man that he is NOT perfect; that man will always fall short of perfection; and that despite the frustration man will experience on the course, NEVER should he use God’s name in vain. This is a serious challenge, and any man or woman who has ever swung a golf club knows what I mean.

In short, God created golf to teach us humility.

Or, as stated in scripture:

“Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.” Deuteronomy 8:2

I’m confident that the “desert” was used as a metaphor for the golf course. Who among us golfers would not see this obvious parallel? But, of course, I could be wrong.

Play It Where It Lies

Fortunately, God accepts our golfing imperfections and loves us unconditionally, whether in the center of the fairway of life or out in the rough. Our challenge is to always “play it where it lies.”

Years ago, my wife presented me with a little golfer’s gift…a rock with a golf ball wedged, super glued, in the crack of the rock. The inscription reads, “Play It Where It Lies.”

I tell you the truth, not even Tiger Woods could get this ball back in play. But isn’t God possibly allowing us to get stuck in an absolutely impossible situation precisely because we need to experience adversity?

I had to look up in the concordance where God talks about adversity. Here’s what I found:

“Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.” Isaiah 30:20

No matter how deeply embedded in a solid object you find your golf ball or how long and wide the water hazard is, God will open your eyes to His perfect teaching. He will make the impossible possible…even that 200-yard shot back over the small mountain you sliced off the tee.

In fact, Jesus said:

“Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 18:20

With Jesus, You Can Move Life’s Mountains

Now that is encouraging! While some would argue that Jesus is using hyperbole…not only that, but He’s using exaggeration for effect and not meant to be taken literally…what if He wasn’t? I’m no genius, but that last “nothing will be impossible for you” seems pretty straightforward.

I am not suggesting we move the mountain or water hazard from the golf course. However, golf would no longer be the four-letter word we have come to love.

But isn’t it comforting to know that we have the potential to move the mountains of damaged relationships, clear the debris that clutters our fairways, to purify the waters around us? Hence, they are no longer hazards but one more gift from God to be valued and appreciated?

May God continue to bless you in your own golf game, and may He offer gentle suggestions for perfecting your swing. Remember…He says that “nothing will be impossible for you,” and His Word (and golf swing) has always been, and always will be, perfect. What better golf coach could we ask for?

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About Me

Image of Dr. Trace Pirtle sitting on park bench identified as Jesus.

Greetings, I'm Trace!
I'm a retired counselor education professor who spent 35 years in the "helping professions." I'm a veteran and an "all-in" believer working full-time for our Lord Jesus Christ. I've included my personal testimony if you are interested. 
May God bless you beyond your wildest dreams!

In His Service,

Trace Pirtle

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