The apostle Paul wrote, “Let no man despise your youth, but be an example of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (I Timothy 4:12).
The game of golf is the ideal for that verse. It’s a game of honor, judgment and integrity. I have played at it for 60 years. It is the only game that doesn’t depreciate below par. During this week one of the lady professional golfer contributed $100,000.00 dollars for the small town in Kansas that was nearly wiped out in a tornado. I watched a young golfer play today in the Player’s championship and while he did not prevail, I couldn’t help but see the beauty of youth. Golf would be the game to display the words “Honor, judgment and integrity“.
It is a game of humility for those who are proud often struggle to find a way to win. The scriptures say, “Bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable unto all things” (I Timothy 4:8).
Remember Jackie Gleason as Ralph Camden in the Honeymooners. He was trying to help his sidekick, Ed Norton, learn how to play golf. He put the ball on a tee and said to Ed, “You first have to address the ball”. Ed stepped up with the driver in hand, looked down at the ball and politely said, “Hello ball!” Ralph’s eyes nearly bugged out.
Money raisers came to town with an 800 pound gorilla. The ape had been trained to hit a golf ball. I was chosen to be his partner, and on the first hole he drove the ball 410 yards. I thought, “Man, we got this in the bag”. On the green they gave my partner a putter and he drove it another 410 yards”.
In Miami Beach, I was scheduled to play a round and since a heavy rain fell the night before, no electric golf carts were allowed on the course. We had to pick from the caddy shack. I said, “Just get me one that can see the ball off the tee.” An old man of 76 years old came and picked up my bag. “Can you see my drive all the way?” I asked. The caddy replied, “No problem”. I swung the driver and the ball drifted into the rough some 250 yards down the fairway. When we arrived in the area I said, “Did you see my ball and mark it?” He said, Sure did”. “Well, where is it?” He said, “I forgot!”
It was the last day of the city tournament. I was paired with the best golfer in the club. It was “match play” and we were tied coming to the 18th hole. He sliced the ball heavy into the rough. Mine was in the fairway. My caddy and I went with him to search for his ball. We looked the usual five minutes, and I said, “I’ll go hit my ball while you continue to look.” A lost ball costs the player a stroke and he must return to the tee and hit a replacement.
As we were leaving the rough, he cried out, “Hey Jack, I found it”. I turned to m caddy and said, “That poses an ethical problem. I’ve got his ball in my back pocket!”
On the 4th hole, there was a large lake. I hit my second shot to the green. My opponent hit his in the lake. He played a second and shanked it into water. A third effort proved no better and he turned to me and said, “Can I borrow a ball?” He hit that in the lake and asked for another. I shook my head and said, “I can’t afford to keep giving you balls.” He grumbled, “If you can’t afford to play the game, don’t play it.”
On her death bed, she looked at her husband and said, “When I pass on, would you remarry?” “Aw darling, let’s not talk about that, I love you.” She parried his answer and said again, “Well, would you remarry again?” He said, “Well, I might”. “You mean you might remarry after my demise?” “Well darling, I might”.
“You mean your new wife would work in my kitchen, and sleep in my bed?” “Yes, she would.” “And she would use my golf clubs?” “No, he replied, she’s left handed!”
The preacher was out early one Sunday morning for a round by himself. Two angels looked down and thought “This is bad; I think I’ll just teach him a lesson”. His next drive on a par four struck a tree, skipped across a lake, dipped in and out of a bunker and rolled onto the green, disappearing into the cup.”
The other angel said, “I thought you were going to teach him a lesson?” “I did” replied the first – Who’s he going to tell?”
In Washington they tell the story of a clergyman who had been badly beaten on the course by a parishioner, forty years his senior. He was rather disgruntled when they returned to the clubhouse.
“Cheer up”, the old man said, “Remember, you win at the finish. You’ll probably be burying me some day”. “Even then”, replied the preacher, “It will be your hole”.
Then there was the condemned golfer who asked the hangman, “do you mind if I take a couple of practice swings?”
Golfer’s stories? You bet!