Wisdom From My Mentor

Crawl. Walk. Run.

Harvey Penick is one of golf’s legendary teachers and is known for shaping some of golf’s great talents like Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite into hall of fame golfers. But Crenshaw and Kite would be the first to say Penick’s influence extended way beyond the golf course and into life. He was a mentor in every way.

 

If you’ve heard my life’s story you’ve heard me mention Jack Countryman. Other than my father, Jack has been my life’s biggest influence. He has certainly been my biggest spiritual influence and it all began with my coming to faith in Christ through a little book titled, “In His Grip” and published by J. Countryman Division of Thomas Nelson (1997).

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Early in my faith, I had a chance to play several rounds of golf with Jack. As we finalized the arrangements by phone, he said, “Scott, I really look forward to spending time with you, hearing your story and getting to know you.”

 

There is no way I could have anticipated the longterm impact those three days would have on my life or the influence Jack would eventually have over these past 19 years. It’s been a journey of receiving great wisdom and insight by a great mentor who has helped me navigate life’s fairways.

Soon after that initial encounter with Jack, I shared with him the idea I had regarding what has become In His Grip Golf Ministry. Jack patiently listened, made mental notes and I then asked for his opinion. I got three words: “Crawl, walk, run.”

Jack shared that it takes a minimum of two to three years to gain traction, and told me I must first crawl and learn best practices. I’ve learned those three words extended way beyond ministry. All of life is a process. You learn to trim the things that aren’t working, enhance the things that are working and then seek to make those things even better.

I also learned it’s a cycle. Just because you get to the running stage doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing. God will trim your sails to take you in new directions, to grow you and to keep you dependent on Him. After all, our lives are to be lived for His glory and His purposes regardless of our vocational direction in life. Jack helped teach me that lesson too.

I have valued Jack’s investment in my life so much that I’ve tried to replicate what he’s shown me about being a mentor by being a mentor to several young men over the years. There is no greater joy than helping someone’s faith take root.

What about you? Do you have a spiritual mentor in your life? if not, find someone farther down the road of faith than you and ask if they’ll meet you for coffee and talk through it. Then, find someone you could possibly mentor and reach out to that person. Jesus told us to make disciples and walking the road of life with someone is really how it’s done.

And believe me, those relationships are a lot more meaningful than being inducted into any hall of fame.

How Special was the “86” Masters?

7 Under in the last 10 holes...not too shabby at age 46!

It is so hard to believe that it has been thirty years since Jack won his sixth green jacket.  Amazing!

Here is a video clip of the highlights, you just may want to watch it over the weekend to get prepped for what is staged to be an another amazing story…at The Masters.

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Jack is undeniably one of the best, if not the best golfer who ever lived.  I still find myself referring back to his book, Golf My Way.  I am sure you already have it amongst your golf book library but in case you wanted to get the updated version, here is a quick link:

 

Take the “Rocking Chair” Test…I Double Dare You!

This Monday, March 28, 2016 marks two years since bringing Micah home.

When I turned 50 on April 12, 2011, we took the Rocking Chair Test.  You know the one, picture yourself in your 90’s sitting on the front porch of your retirement cabin over looking the lake.  As you are rockin’ back and forth, ask each other this question; “as you look back at your life, do you have any regrets?”

Immediately, I answered, “I really wanted to be a daddy.”  Leslie quickly answered with, “I still want to be a Mommy, you know Scott, we could still adopt.”  What?!!! Yeh right, do you really think God wants us to be the new Abraham and Sara story?  Come on Leslie, I’m 50 and you’re 48.  She then pulled out the ol’ prayer card and said, “let’s just start praying about it.”  So we did, together, and in our own time with the Lord.

The confirmations that we started getting were as close to having a burning bush in my back yard that I had ever experienced.  Here is just one of the stories that happened a few days later.  I ran into a gentleman at the golf course.  He started asking me questions about In His Grip and then turned the corner to ask about my family.  I shared with him about my lovely wife and he then asked, “any kiddos?”  I said no, just wasn’t part of the Lord’s plan.  My heart immediately got rocked when he asked, “have you ever thought about adoption?”

What?!   As I stuttered to answer, he asked me another dagger-like question of, “what’s holding you back, age?” Bam, I’m about to buckle and could barely mouth these words, yeh, I guess it is age.  The gentleman then knocked me out with, “Scott, I know that we just met but I am 57 years old and I am about to adopt a 10 yr old boy from Africa, what’s your excuse?”  And down I went.  Truly, what was my excuse?  Age?

That divine appointment led Leslie and I on one amazing journey and as we kept taking the next step, praying and walking by faith.  It led us to the video clip of first meeting Micah in August of 2013.  Enjoy…

I don’t know about you but I have a deep desire of living a life with “No Regrets.”  Take the “Rocking Chair” test.  I double dare you.  I couldn’t imagine missing the blessed opportunity to hear just one word from Micah’s mouth…”daddy”.

 

CAUTION: Are You Losing Your Self-Confidence?

What’s the Source of Your Confidence?

 It’s common in sports, and especially golf, to hear that someone has “lost their confidence.” For instance, when someone, who has been known as a great putter, starts missing very makable putts, a TV analyst will say, “He needs to regain his confidence.”

Regardless of your vocation or station in life, confidence can be easily lost, can’t it? When we lose confidence, we can suddenly feel inadequate in areas where we previously excelled. I can relate.

 Leslie and I had just moved to Nashville in July, 2007, and worked like crazy to get settled. We had a full In His Grip Golf ministry schedule pressing in on us. At the same time, I experienced some deep shoulder pain and couldn’t even swing a club. The fear of possible failure welled up and I started doubting the whole move. I went to see a specialist, and, in the course of our conversation, was able to share with him the purpose of our ministry was to introduce men to Jesus Christ through the game of golf.

 He ordered an MRI just to make sure there weren’t any tears in my shoulder. During my follow-up appointment, the doctor, who was a fellow believer, gave me his prognosis. I had one of the most “pristine” shoulder joints he had ever seen. He then asked me a question that rocked my world. “Scott, have you been losing confidence in your game and wondering if you would ever take another swing?”

 A chill went down my spine! How did he know that was exactly what I had been thinking? He then said, “Your confidence must be in the Lord and not in your own ability.”

 Two weeks later, I was attending an In His Grip Golf tournament where I was to be the pro for the “Beat the Pro” hole. When I arrived on the tee box, I dropped to my knees after reading the verse assigned to the hole. “For the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught” (Proverbs 3:26).confidence

 The words from the doctor echoed in my mind. Fear was driving me to lose confidence. I was afraid because I was not relying on God. My pride drove me to think I could do this ministry on my own.

 The world will lie and tell you that self-confidence is only gained through your works, and then it stops at nothing to rip apart that confidence. The Bible teaches that building your true identity and confidence can only be found in Jesus Christ and what He can do in and through you to glorify Him. Let Him be the only source of your confidence.

Golf Is A Game Of Confidence


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My #1 Favorite Golf Course in AL is…

No surprises here, my #1 favorite golf course in AL is Farmlinks Golf Club which is situated on Pursell Farms.  This week the Golf Advisor shared his top 10 golf courses in AL and you guessed it, Farmlinks was numeral uno.  Read article here: Top 10 Courses in AL.

I have been hosting an In His Grip Golf Retreat at this beautiful location for the last eight years with another one coming up on April 22-24.  I have personally played the course over 50 times and have loved each and every round.  It is definitely a course you can play over and over again and as you drive off the property you are already anticipating your next round there.

Pictured below is my favorite Par 3, the seventeenth hole.  All carry over water with the majestic Parker Lodge in the background.  I would love to hear your comments if you have already played it or know of a buddy who has strolled the plush fairways and putted the near perfect greens of Farmlinks.

Farmlinks #17

Are Disappointments Really Just Divine Appointments?

Life’s disappointments can really be challenging, especially when you have been praying about something and were anticipating that God was moving in a particular direction. Disappointment can lead to discouragement when it doesn’t turn out like we thought, but that is the time to look in a different direction. Do you look for the Divine Appointments in the wake of disappointment?

For the last 10 years, my wife, Leslie, and I have taken a January trip to Orlando for the annual PGA Merchandise Show. It is the world’s largest golf show with more than 40,000 attendees and 1,000 golf companies on display. We typically have two ministry goals: To connect with and thank existing vendors who partner with In His Grip Golf and to cultivate new vendor partners to help us expand the mission of In His Grip Golf.

In 2012, our primary objective was to find an apparel company with whom we could partner. We had a wish list of a few key companies but became frustrated as one-by-one we realized they simply weren’t going to be a good fit for various reasons. I was becoming increasingly discouraged and disappointed. I remember turning my eyes upward and in a silent prayer saying, “God, we could really use some help here.” Yes, it was that short and simple.

I looked over and immediately saw the PING Apparel booth and we headed that direction. A PING representative came over, saw our In His Grip Buyer’s Badge and asked, “Is that referring to God?” I explained it did, that the mission of our ministry is to introduce men to Jesus Christ through golf.” He asked why we were there and I explained we were seeking an official apparel company with whom we could partner.”

“You just found it,” he replied!

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Imagine our shock. Within a short few minutes, the Lord not only answered that simple prayer by connecting our ministry with one of the world’s top golf equipment companies. But God always exceeds our expectations, doesn’t He? As we started to leave this new friend asked what brand of clubs I played. You guessed it. After playing a competitor’s equipment for over 20 years, I’m now playing PING.

Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps.” Sometimes we make our plans and expect things to turn out a certain way. However, our disappointments in life may become God’s appointments. Don’t let closed doors bother you. The things we think of as failures and problems often lead to being blessings in disguise.

More Than A Game (Nashville, TN: In His Grip Resources, 2015)

Finding Life’s Answers Through Golf.

Running a special on my NEW BOOK for you, one of my special blog subscribers.

You can get (2) books for only $20 AND yes, I will be happy to sign each copy.

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Looking forward to strolling the fairways of the Orange Country Convention Center among 40,000 golfers as we check out over 1000 golf companies.

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What companies do you want me to stop by and visit?

 

Date: January 26, 2016—January 29, 2016
Event: 2016 PGA Merchandise Show
Public: Private

It’s Not How You Start But How You Finish

Are you reviewing your life’s bucket list and setting goals to check a few off that list during 2016?

The Masters, golf’s most iconic tournament, was at the top of mine, and in 1997, I received four tickets to stroll the hallowed grounds of Augusta National Golf Club. Wow! The Masters, “A tradition unlike any other,” and I was going to be there.

January 2016 In His Grip Photo

And it was a Master’s to remember. A 21-year-old Tiger Woods shocked the golf world. He was a bust on the front nine, shooting 40, and seemingly out of contention. However, Tiger amazed everyone with a backside 30, then went on to win the tournament by an astounding 12 shots!

Takeaway: It’s not how you start, but how you finish. Life is like that too.

I may have experienced the opportunity of a lifetime, but when I returned home, my wife of two years announced she was done with our marriage. This on the heels of losing my dream job just a couple months earlier and we were heading deeper in debt.

The cumulative effect put me in a position to experience like never before. I was speeding into an uncertain future with no idea how to navigate it. My world was rocked and at age 36, it was the first time in my life I looked to God and asked some tough questions. “Why am I here?” “Do you really have a plan for my life?”

Have you ever faced a similar fear of living a life that misses the mark and realizing your best effort would not be pleasing and honoring to God? That was me. However, there were two key verses in the Bible that grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. 5“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Shortly after, I realized I needed Jesus to save me from the life I’d created and set me on a path that would have Him at the center. I’ve been living “In His Grip” ever since.

Tiger just turned 40 in December. You could say he is making the turn into the back nine of his life. Maybe you feel you are at a turning point in your life. Are you staring down the 10th fairway wondering where you’re heading? Do you feel like you’ve blown your “round” so far? Take heart. Don’t lean on your own understanding. Submit to Him and He will make your paths straight!

Remember, it’s not how you start but how you finish.

More Than A Game

Finding Life's Answers Through Golf

KEY VERSES
Proverbs 4:5-7

“Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it costs all you have, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:5–7).

Spectators and Players

There are basically two types of people who show up at golf tournaments: spectators and players. Spectators stay outside the ropes, follow players around, critique every shot, talk theoretically about how golf should be played, and repeat comments they’ve heard about swing planes, wedge play, and players with “the yips.”

Players, on the other hand, are inside the ropes. They walk to the first tee and stare down the alley of people lining the tee box to find a place to land their ball. They fight feeling pressured to consistently hit good shots or to recover from poor ones. They experience the thrill of knowing they played their best and the agony of coming up short. They put themselves in front of everyone, know- ing that no matter what they do, someone will criticize them. They play the game because they love the challenges it presents and the sweet taste of success that comes from a hard-fought victory.

So, how would you characterize your life—spectator or player? Either way, I’m glad you’re here. Like the game of golf, this book is divided into three essential sections: Foundations, Development, and Application. Each section has three chapters that dive deeper into each topic.

There are also two things I want to say about this book.

First, my ultimate goal is to encourage you to be the best life player—not spectator—you can be. The Christian life isn’t lived outside the ropes. A lot of people try, however. They say and do Christian things, but their Christianity tends to stay in the theoretical realm. They may know a lot about Christianity, but they don’t truly know Christ. If this is you, I want you to know you were prayed for as this was written. Be set free from the tyranny of the facade of a Christian life. Grab your clubs, duck under the ropes, and let’s play this game called life. There is more than enough room for all who will.

Players press hard toward the goal of knowing—truly knowing—Christ. They step to the tee boxes of life and take their best shots, knowing things don’t always turn out as planned, but realizing that because they are in Christ, even life’s bunkers work for their good. Players know life isn’t easy; it is filled with victory, disappointment, joy, hurt, acceptance, rejection, friendships, betrayal, and so on. But players also know that if they’ve hung in there, they’ll putt out and hear the Father say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Second, this book is geared primarily toward men who want to play the front nine of life well. They want to be good sons, husbands, and dads. They want to honor God. They want to position themselves well so they enjoy deeper intimacy with Jesus and have a greater impact for his kingdom during the back nine of life.

SWING THOUGHT
Do you see yourself as a player or a spectator when is come to the game of life? Join me in ducking underneath the ropes of life and together let’s play each shot for the glory of God.

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