"Golf really is the best microcosm of life -- or at least the way life should be. In fact, I think golf is a better microcosm of life than life is of golf."
"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate I do." -Romans 7:15. I have a hunch that when the Apostle Paul spoke those words, he may have just finished a round of golf.
'For over twenty years, I have been questioned and, at times, criticized regarding the validity of a golf outreach. However, over this time, most would be surprised if they knew the things disclosed to me during a golf lesson. Where the pundits may see a practice tee, it’s actually my coaching office.
When someone calls me for a golf lesson, there is a good chance they need to talk, and all kinds of things have been shared with me.
The networking and relationship-building characteristics the game offers are second to none. Most remarkably, during the recent pandemic, starting times at golf courses were nowhere to be found as the world shut down. People in record numbers flocked to golf courses for the serenity, fellowship, and challenge this great game offers. Observe a person's behavior on a golf course, and you will get an uncovered look into their real character.
Golf course architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr. (that's not Bobby Jones), called the game "A Philosophy of Life." "It's Like a Church, A Religion Almost," he said. Reverend Billy Graham was quoted saying, "For many years, I played golf. I enjoyed the game because it is similar to the game of life, with its many obstacles, struggles, victories, conflicts, and blessings. If you're not modest about your abilities when you start playing the game, it won't take long for you to assume a role of humility" - that's the nature of both games.
For today's disadvantaged youth, the golf environment can be a university. Go to a club and make a commitment, and get trained in professions ranging from golf, food management, agronomy, event management, administration, general business management, and, let's not forget, caddying. Professional caddies are making heaps of money these days. We have both participated in and heard of success stories that have been nothing short of miraculous.
Following is one such story about my good friend Randy Taylor. (Big dude in the white shirt along with myself, a little dude with white hair, Donald Russell, one of our founders, and three students from Pathways Youth Ministries.)
Randy grew up in Bridgeport, CT. Randy’s mother and father both worked. So his father would drop him off every morning at Brooklawn Country Club, which was a town over to caddy. Randy's father felt left alone, and Randy would probably drift into trouble. Randy made a commitment at the golf course, and the rest is history. Today Randy is the head P.G.A. Professional in North Carolina. CLICK THE LINK FOR THE FULL STORY.
Golf's precepts are the perfect life coaching system for golfers and non-golfers alike. Golf is played with a reverence that we could only hope the game of life would be played with. Both the influence and connections golf can offer adults, and particularly our disadvantaged youth, are unmatched and Randy is living proof of that.
In both life and golf, there is no such thing as luck. There are no excuses and no blaming. Neither game owes us anything, and we are entitled to nothing. "It Takes GRIT" For our purposes, we refer to "Grit" as Gratitude Responds Intensely to Testing. When either game tests us - we get accountable and stare it down. Our success comes from the rhythm we shape by maintaining a gracious perspective in life and our commitment to play both games with rigorous honesty and a work ethic beyond reproach. Flirt with the out-of-bounds lines in either game, and you might as well pick up and walk off either course.
As we as a society are becoming more isolated as a result of the internet, golf is a perfect means of fellowship. "We were made for fellowship," to quote Rick Warren, author of the best-selling "Purpose Driven Life.". Think not? When "Fore!" echoes on the course, and we are standing near someone, we will innately respond by shielding each other. For our purposes, FORE stands for Fellowship Offers Refuse and Encouragement.
At Game of Life, we coach and train golfers and non-golfers alike how to identify their one true authentic swing, "the swing they were born with." Our goal is to coach and train our students in a way where "attitude meets ability." Perhaps you're one of those or know someone who had a God-given ability and today is known as that person who threw it all away or, as some may say, "just plain blew it." No one just plain blows it. Something holds them back, which discourages them or causes them to self-sabotage themselves. We refer to that as their "key log." Our purpose is to find the "key log" that has our students stuck and lead them to find "I.T." For our purposes, I.T. Stands for Intercessory Triumph.
Our motto, "If You Do What Most Won't - You Will Enjoy What Most Never Will," has held tried and true in the success of our students for the last twenty-plus years. Combine our motto with incurable gratitude, and our students are packed with a powerful one-two punch for success.