My faith was tested last week on the golf course. For so long I have identified myself as a golfer before being a man of God, and it comes back to bite me when I have a couple bad tournaments/rounds. It’s so easy to think about what the next golfer is achieving that you should be achieving, or if trying to reach the PGA Tour is worth it, and sometimes when it’s so bad you think about other jobs you could be working. When it comes down to it golf is hard, but I have made the choice to play this game professionally. So, no matter the results, I have to keep faith that God is orchestrating all of this and that my time will come.
With that said let’s go back to Latin America Q School in Argentina. I came off this nice round of 68 to miss qualifying by 1. I should have taken that as I sign to work harder but I took it as an “I’m on to something here” sign. First mistake! I had a week until my next tournament, so I went back home, to Memphis, to get a lesson from my instructor Dan Brown. He told me when I was in Argentina that my swing was fine, I just needed to trust it. However, I wanted to get to the bottom of the inconsistent shots. Second mistake! I saw him twice which I hardly do in a week, so I had a lot of information to process.
I came back to Dallas the following week to prepare for three 2-day tournaments on the North Texas PGA Player Series. I was excited to play Old America Golf Club, TPC Four Seasons, and Stonebridge since they were nice courses in the area I haven’t had a chance to play yet. I played a practice round at Old American Golf Club and I enjoyed the course. I hit the ball well during the practice round so I was confident about the tournament. I started off with two birdies on the first two holes of the tournament. Chipped in on 1, then made a nice putt for birdie on Hole 2. I just knew it was going to be a good day starting off like that. It was extremely windy this day so I knew the scores were not going to be that low, and that I was in a good position. Third mistake! When you are playing good golf you have to keep your nose in the ground like it’s not happening. Another thing, your playing partners will try to throw you off your game by constantly reminding you how good you are playing when they are playing bad. It was the 13th hole when it hit the fan. I made an 8 on a par five, just a series of bad swings then I make a double bogey on the next hole. Wow, what do you do now? Try to finish the round off decently which I tried to do and shot 75. I came out the next day and didn’t hit the ball as well or putt and shot 79.
The next tournament was two days later, so I tried not to stress about the first one. TPC Four Seasons may be one of my favorite courses in Dallas so far. From the two golf courses out there, to the practice facility and clubhouse, I was trying to figure out how I could become a member. I loved every second out there but my scores didn’t reflect it. I shot 75, 81 for the two days. That 81 was tough, I was in my head all day about swing mechanics, to becoming completely numb about anything that’s going on around me. Those are times when prayer helps me. All I can see is me shooting 81, not the bigger picture that all things work together according to His will, and that I have to stay patient.
The last event on this tour was at Stonebridge-Hills course, which is where I qualified for the Texas Open at last year. I knew the course fairly well already so I didn’t play a practice round. Long story short, it came down to me hitting the ball 75 times again. The second day got rained out, so they shorten it to a one day tournament. Everybody knew that was going to happen so it was best to capitalize on the first day. I was pretty down after that.
Knowing that you just spend about $1500 that week on tournament fees and other expenses, not making anything in return can be disheartening. In the book of James the Lord says that the testing of your faith produces perseverance, and to let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete. Those words always remind me to continue to pursue the things I love because win, lose, or draw it will make me a better person in the end. A couple bad tournaments is not the end of the world, just a reminder to stay humble, work hard and give thanks through it all.