“Swing Thoughts” are those simple thoughts golfers focus upon as they set-up to hit a particular shot. Maybe it’s a reminder to focus on hand-alignment; or to take the club back smoothly; or to rotate your hips; or to keep your head down. It may, in fact, be the thought to clear your mind of any thoughts at all.
This “swing thought” represents that single, overriding thought that a player believes should have the most influence on the outcome of that particular shot, at that particular point in time. Titling this book Swing Thoughts seemed appropriate.
For you see, the original inspiration for this book occurred on a Saturday around midnight, when it first dawned on me that I was scheduled to teach a class at my church the next morning. I quickly reviewed a few Christian-related books, and found nothing particularly inspiring. At the point of minor panic, a stream of observations entered my mind regarding some interesting relationships between our Christian faith journey. . . and the game of golf. One thought followed another in fairly rapid succession, and soon I had a collection of scribbled notes that would become the basis for my one hour lesson. Many of the chapters in this book are direct descendants of those original notes.
I should confess to you now, I am a pretty “average golfer.” I have played for many years, enjoy the game, and know more about what I “should” do, than I can consistently put into practice. (The same can be said of my personal faith journey.) I regularly shoot in the 90s, with the occasional rounds of a low 100 and mid-80s. My friends may think this characterization of my golf game is quite charitable.
My scoring is an eclectic combination of moments of brilliance (pars and a few birdies), and “snow men” (8s)—where I hit the ball out of bounds or in the water. (The same can be said of my personal faith journey.) Mine is a volatile game; one in which within any foursome I am equally likely to hit the best shot, or the worst.
Throughout Swing Thoughts, I employ the game of golf in an overall metaphor as it relates to our Christian lives. The “ball” may be that circumstance or need we face at the moment. The “swing” is taking some action as a Christian. The “course” represents the circumstances of our lives. I trust other examples will be self-evident.
My intention is that Swing Thoughts will illustrate the interesting connectedness between the game of golf and our faith journey.
Grace and Peace, David Felts
Table of Contents
A Bucket of Balls
As I do not play golf as frequently as I would like, I always try to start out on the practice range. Hitting a bucket of balls—chipping some and putting some. It helps bring back the feel and muscle memory.
When I don’t have a chance to warm up before around, I end up playing the first several holes poorly. I get frustrated, and then play the remaining holes even worse. Even if I finally do warm up, I have missed the opportunity to score well.
How often do we do the spiritual equivalent of waking up and going straight out onto the course without even one warm-up swing? Have you ever driven right out into 30 minutes of bumper-to-bumper traffic? Walked directly into a contentious negotiation? Or entered into a delicate discussion with a friend or loved one without saying a quick prayer?
What if that first interaction requires the equivalent of a strong drive? A driver is pretty hard to hit well with no preparation. What if the next moment requires the equivalent of a tight chip shot? Again, it’s pretty tough to accomplish without any warm up at all.
I believe we run a tremendous risk on a daily basis when we go right into the important aspects of our lives without any preparation. When we rely solely on our own strengths and abilities. We don’t do that on the golf course. I usually try to arrive at least 45 minutes beforehand to warm up . . . so why so frequently do we do it in real life?
It is so important that we are prepared to take full advantage of the opportunities God puts before us each day. On the golf course, does it really matter if you miss-hit your first twelve shots? But in our daily interactions, God may be counting on us to provide a positive influence in someone else’s life—to be His angels on earth.