Who Are You Imitating?

Let me boil it down to THE ONE!

One of my all-time favorite golfers is Phil Mickelson. He is exciting to watch because he rarely plays it safe. His second shot on the par-5, No. 13 hole from off pine straw and apparently stymied behind the trees during the final round of the 2010 Masters at Augusta National will forever be one of golf’s greatest shots. Just thinking about it gives me chills.

But one of the curiosities about Mickelson that I love is that although he plays left-handed, he is actually right-handed. He wound up a lefty by mirroring his father’s swing when his dad was teaching him to play as a child.  Here is a great clip of Phil’s and his dad sharing their experience of learning golf and doing life together.

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I believe the spiritual application couldn’t be more obvious. There is an age-old debate about whether leaders are born or made. The truth is, everyone is designed to lead even if the only person you are called to lead is yourself. Leadership isn’t incubated in a vacuum. Every developing leader is influenced in some way at an early stage by others. It shapes the person and the leader they become. This is why choosing your influencers is critically important. Do you see in those you imitate the traits of the person you want to become?

Ultimately our model for leadership is our Heavenly Father. Like young Mickelson learning a golf swing from spending quality time with his father, the best way to develop as a godly leader is to spend time with God and mirror Him as revealed in Scripture. Mickelson submitted to his father’s instruction; likewise we should submit to our Heavenly Father’s instruction.

Jesus is our example of both submission and mirroring God the Father. He came to do the Father’s will on earth, even to the point of death. It was His joy to do so (Hebrews 12:2) and the irony is in Jesus’ total submission to the Father, He became the ultimate leader.

If you want to have an influence on the people around you, take your instruction from Jesus and imitate Him as He imitated God the Father. There is no better instructor than the One who is perfect.

Practice, then Play!

Golf is a game of precision and precision takes practice. Sure it’s great to get on the range and work on your game, but at some point you’ve got to tee it up and play for real. However, some people would actually rather spend all their time practicing rather than playing!

Range Time

Some people live the Christian life like that. God never intended for you to spend your time sequestered in your quiet place working through the daily drills. It’s okay to deepen your relationship with Jesus so that He can transform your character to reflect His glory, but who sees His glory if you don’t get out there on the course of life?

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22; NIV).

I love the book of James because there is no subtly. James follows verse 22 by saying that if you stare intently into the Word of God and walk away from it unchanged and forget what it says, you’re like a man who looks at himself in the mirror then walks away forgetting what he was looking at. James’ cure for forgetting is doing.

Let’s face it, you spend time with God, then get in the car to go to work. You catch every light red, get cut off in traffic and spill coffee on yourself; traffic is backed up and you are late. You get there and the elevator is down so you take six flights of stairs and sit down to a billion e-mails that came in over the weekend. Um, yeah, what was that you were saying this morning, God?

Life can swallow you like a water hazard swallows a golf ball. We can drown in the day’s minutia. That daily devotional prepares you for those hazards, but Jesus wants us to get out there on life’s course and aggressively take our shots; to play life with confidence knowing He has prepared us to be the salt and light to others.

Without the preparation, we’ll never reach the potential our Heavenly Father has waiting for us. However, the balanced Christian life requires both preparation and “doing” all that God is teaching.

Let the Orange Whip you into Golf Shape

With so many golf training aids out there, which one(s) should you have in your bag.  Well, for me and hundreds of touring pros don’t leave home without your Orange Whip.  I recently used it before playing a round at Musgrove CC in Jasper, AL.  We only had 10 minutes to warm up so I spent 5 minutes on the putting green and 5 minutes on the first tee swinging the Orange Whip.  Went out and shot a 70.

We all are crunched for time to improve your golf game but for me and my house, we keep swinging the Orange Whip and you should too.

4 Key Benefits of swinging the Orange Whip on a regular basis (5 minutes/day)

1. Flexibility: The weight on each end of the flexible shaft provides a low-impact stretch while swinging.

2. Strength: The Orange Whip provides a core muscle workout when used during repetitive motion drills. The wrists and forearms receive a workout doing various drills and during the hinging action while swinging.

3. Coordination: The Orange Whip synchronizes the arms and body while swinging it repetitively. If this motion is out of sync, the user will lose their balance and/or feel awkward.

4. Tempo: As the arms and body work together, a natural rhythm takes over the swing. This is how your tempo develops, some may be fast or slow, yet always in balance with an efficient motion.

Orange Whip Trainer has become one of our Key Partners for In His Grip Golf and when you order, be sure to use the Promo Code: IHG2015 for $10 off and $20 will be donated into the IHG Golf Ministries.


Be Bold Enough to Have Courage

All great golfers seem to have a defining shot. There have been so many through the years. One of my favorites, however, was Phil Mickelson’s second shot from the pine straw of the 13th hole during the final round of the 2010 Masters.

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Mickelson rocketed a ball between two close-together trees, over the creek and softly onto the front of the green where it rolled to within 6 feet of the pin. When asked the difference between a great shot and a smart shot, he responded, “I don’t know. I mean, a great shot is when you pull it off. A smart shot is when you don’t have the guts to try it.”

Steve Loy, his college coach and manager added, “He’d rather be bold enough to have the courage to do what most people can’t.”

Doesn’t Loy offer a great picture of courage? Merriam-Webster dictionary defines courage as “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear or difficulty.”

I believe the people of God must muster mental and moral courage if they are to embrace adversity and lead others through it. Consider the courage to fight sin. Let’s face it, the trappings of this life circle us like sharks in a tank. Like God said to Cain in Genesis, “Sin is crouching at [our] doorstep and it desires to have [us].” However, the Apostle Paul challenges us to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).

A renewed mind (mental) results in spiritual transformation (moral). If you are struggling with sin, you know it is most certainly a war for the mind, emotions and the heart. It takes incredible courage to fight for purity and holiness. The battles are constant.

But it isn’t just in sin where courage in the face of adversity is required in the Christian life. There is so much injustice around us every day. Sometimes the Bible calls us to have the courage to stand in the gap for those who can’t stand for themselves.

Living the Christian life isn’t for the faint of heart. Ultimately courage exists because adversity exists. But courage rooted in the promise of Jesus to strengthen you (Philippians 4:13) really does enable to you to do all things, and it is that confidence in Him that is the foundation of our courage to live boldly in this life.



How Do You Deal With Adversity?

Steven Fox’s breaking putt trickled down a slippery slope on the 37th hole of the 2012 U.S. Amateur championship and dropped into the cup, capping an amazing – and improbable – three weeks of golf.

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Fox, a University of Tennessee-Chattanooga student at the time and a Hendersonville High School graduate, just made it through the qualifier before heading to Cherry Hills (Colorado) Country Club. He opened with a marginal two-round performance that sent him to a 17-man playoff to make it through to the next round where he secured the No. 63 seed. He began working his way through match play, beating some of the top amateur players in the world to eventually win on the extra hole. He became the lowest-seeded player to ever win the U.S. Amateur since the USGA began seeding stroke-play qualifying in 1985.

His goal was just to make it to match play but he persevered and made history.

I love the definition of persevere: “Continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure or opposition.” Fox kept pressing forward to the final goal. What a long shot, but he did it!

What about you? Are you content to just play out the holes of your life because you have setbacks? True, adversity can be a momentum killer. Fear sets in and you become reluctant to be courageous and take risks. The easiest thing to do is to do nothing, so you become passive..

Perseverance, however, is the opposite of passivity. It is active. It means even if you have no paddle you are fighting for all your worth to get upstream.

In Matthew 24 Jesus is teaching the disciples about the adversity of last days and he tells them, “But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (v. 13). It is obvious that the expectation of God for His children is that they persevere. In fact, the books of Romans, Corinthians, Philippians, Hebrews, James and 1 Peter all make clear that: A) If you are in Christ you will face adversity, and B) persevering through adversity is actually a reassurance that you are a child of God.

Don’t let adversity be the sand bunker in your life that causes you to back away from the love of Christ. Embrace it, and experience that love in a profound and real way. It will carry you through the adversity and to the end.


Play To Your Strengths

I have been playing this great game for 46 years as my Dad introduced me to it on April 12, 1969 on my 8th birthday. My first solid 7 iron was a little draw and it is still my go to shot. Dog leg lefts are definitely my friends.

I have had to learn that one of the keys to playing golf at a high level is the ability to eliminate one side of the course or the other. It must be in the name as Tom Lehman hits a draw and is able to eliminate the right side of the course. Jack Nicklaus was able to eliminate the left side of the course as he played his patented fade.

In most cases, I am teeing up the ball on the left side of the tee box to give me the best angle to take it down the right side of the fairway and allow my natural draw come back to the middle. What is your natural trajectory?

In life, we must also play to our strengths.


I love what my 85 yr. old mentor, Mr. Countryman shares with Back 9 men, “whether you are 40, 50, 60, 70 or 80, you are entering into the best decade of your life.” He goes on to tell guys that they should now know what they are good at and it is a season to perfect this God-given gift.

Jack and I had lunch with a guy that had just turned 60 and as Jack spoke into this man’s life by telling him that he will do more for the Lord in the next 10 years that he did his first 60 years. You should have seen how this man’s chest puffed up as he knew that he knew that he knew Jack was right as he had honed his skills of aligning the right companies to the right sponsorship opportunities to get the most bang for the buck.

For many of you that is making money. This next statement may go against the grain of what you have been told especially if you have been sold a bag of lies that you need to sell your business and go live in a thatched roof hut and share the Gospel in 3rd world countries. Are you kidding me? Come on! If you have the gift of doing deals, then go make another deal and seed into the work of the Lord to build His Kingdom and not your own Castle.  Be sure to align to a cause that deeply impacts your heart.

There is a great little book called Kings and Priests by David High. In a nutshell it talks about some of us are called to Preach and share the Good News on a full time basis, The Priests. The Kings on the other hand are to be the fuel to keep the Priests tanks filled as it still takes money to drive the message of Christ across this great land.

I hope this helps you play to your strengths…on and off the course.

How Precise is Your Life?

Golfers today don’t fully understand how well they’ve got it.


Years ago, before driving ranges became full service ranges, golfers had to supply their own range balls and retrieve them. Needless to say, spraying balls all over could get quite costly. That’s why golfers like Arnold Palmer and Ben Hogan used to have a caddy stand down range and shag balls like they were fielding pop flies. Ernest “Creamy” Carolan caddied for both at different times. He carried a baseball glove with him to the range and fielded balls. This “target” not only required Palmer and Hogan to become extremely precise with their ball striking, it enabled them to dial in club yardages. Their goal wasn’t hitting fairways and greens, but hitting specific spots on each. Here is a video clip of Ben Hogan on the range at the 1967 Masters.

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Most average golfers are content to land anywhere in the short grass and are excited to hit the green in regulation. Sure, they may be putting from 40 feet, but at least they aren’t chopping out of the rough or blasting out of a bunker. Most never practice precision golf.


Professionals do.


Is your Christian life like that? Do you practice “Precision Christianity?” Precision Christianity starts by spending a lot of time in the Bible. The Bible is to life what a yardage book is to a golfer. It gives you a precise measurement of what the Christian life entails. The Bible and your life are inextricably linked. The only way to live a life that hits the mark for the glory of God is to constantly check His yardage book. Without it, at best you are simply hitting shots in the direction of the Christian life. There is no precision there.


Time to get honest and ask ourselves, “Am I living my life with such precision that I’m hitting the mark for which God wants me to shoot?” This means allowing the Bible to guide your concentration so that every “shot” you make with your life is landing in the right spot. You don’t have a caddy down range, but to gauge how you’re doing you can ask yourself:

  • How am I treating my friends and my spouse?
  • What kind of threads am I posting on Facebook and Twitter?
  • Do they build people up or tear them down?
  • How am I dealing with people in business?
  • How am I leading myself when no one is looking?


No, rule keeping doesn’t mean you’re a Christian, but an honest evaluation of how you’re “performing” can reveal how closely you are living out a Spirit-filled life in accordance with the Bible’s direction.


But that kind of Christian life only comes by practicing biblical precision.


2 “Major” Lessons I Learned from Speaking at The 2010 Masters Week Golf Breakfast

Five years ago, on April 6, 2010 I had the honor and privilege to speak at The Masters Week Golf Breakfast hosted by FCA of Augusta and held at Warren Baptist Church.  Last year, Zach Johnson, Stewart Cink and Dr. Morris Pickens were the keynote speakers. This is a story of “full circle” as the Lord revealed (2) major lessons that I am applying to this day.

Lesson #1: Always Be Prepared to Share Your Story

Many of you know that when I have the opportunity to share my story, I start with the 1997 Masters, the year that I received (4) tickets to Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday Practice Rounds.  Yes, this was one of those bucket list trips and there was a point as I strolled around Amen Corner I thought that life just can’t get any better than this.  It was a WOW experience.  This was the year that Tiger Woods won by….12 shots!


Just days later as I returned home to Cedar Rapids, IA I was greeted by my wife of two years and the words that came out of her mouth took me from the mountain top to the depths of the valley as she told me she could no longer stay in our marriage.  My reality was; a broken marriage, a devastating financial picture and living a life of no purpose or meaning.  Can you relate?

That experience rocked my heart and was the catalyst for my personal faith journey which led me to a book called, “In His Grip”, which led me to start reading the Bible which led me to committing my life to Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

For God to open up this opportunity at the 2010 Masters Week Golf Breakfast was one of those full circle stories of restoration and I am humbled to think that this May 27, 2015 Leslie and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage.  Thank you Lord!!!

Lesson #2: Always Share the Good News

Just minutes before walking up front to the 800+ people in attendance, the Senior Pastor of Warren Baptist Church, Dr. David McKinley pulled me aside to pray over me and said, “Scott, go boldly, share your story and share the Gospel, the Good News.”  I love that man!  There is plenty of bad news in this world and as a Christ-follower we are now the bearer of Good News and we need to step up and share it.

The Lord gave me a calm confidence and it was one of the most emotional messages I have ever been a part of.  As I shared about my broken marriage, I look down and there sitting in front of me was Leslie who 13 years earlier was ready to throw in the towel.  I don’t know where you are in your life story but allow me to encourage you that God can and will bring you through the trials that life can bring.  The Bible verse that aided in our season of healing is found in Proverbs, Chapter 3 verses 5-6.



As I brought my story to a close, the Lord prompted me to close with an invitation of the Gospel and 22 people committed and or re-commiteed their lives to the Lord.  To God be the Glory!



This year I will be again attending the Masters Week Golf Breakfast as I have been asked to do a book signing with my new book, “More Than A Game” that was just released on April 3, 2015, Good Friday.  I pray that you have a Masters-filled week.



A little over 4 years ago, I prayed that the Lord would provide me with a Godly man who could be my accountability partner and mentor.  A month later I met Scott after church and we hit it off.  Little did I know that the Lord not only provided me with a mentor and accountability partner, but He blessed me with a best friend, a brother, and father-figure all in one.


Scott has challenged me in so many different areas of my life, such as, becoming a better leader on and off the field, a better husband, father and most importantly to grow in my relationship with Christ. “More than a Game” can and will challenge you in the same way Scott has challenged me. Scott makes connections between his personal experiences and golf stories that captivate and encourage.

We need help along the way from other brothers in Christ; we need encouragement; we need to be challenged and held accountable for things we struggle with.  “More than a game” challenges you in those areas of life.


If your lacking passion for Christ, or just feel lost in your relationship with Him, this book will get you back on track with where you need to be with Jesus!  I would encourage men to get together and go through this book and challenge one another to grow in their relationships in Christ!




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

Are You A Competitive Christian?

No professional golfer in history has faced greater challenges than did the great Ben Hogan.

Hogan turned pro in 1930, but after a brief stint, had to take a job as a club pro – twice. Ten years later he finally stuck on the tour, only to be swept into WWII with so many other Americans. Once the war ended in 1945, he won 38 tournaments over the next five years. And that’s when everything changed.

Hogan, known for his buttery swing, nearly died in 1949 at age 36 when he and his wife were in a head-on collision with a Greyhound bus. Hogan suffered multiple fractures and life-threatening blood clots. He was in the hospital 59 days and told he could possibly never walk again. Never playing golf again was a foregone conclusion.

But the “experts” underestimated Hogan’s love of the game and his tenacious competitive spirit. Months later he won the U.S. Open. It was his competitive drive and dedicated work ethic that drove him to become one of the greatest golfers of all time. I love this golf tip by Ben:
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How about you? Do you like to compete? Have you ever considered your Christian life to be a competition?

The Apostle Paul sure did. He was stoned in the city of Lystra and left for dead, but Acts 14 says, “He got up and went back into the city.” He wasn’t going to let a good stoning keep him down!

Too often I think people expect Christians to roll over and lay down when challenged. Too often Christians have propagated among themselves that Christianity equals passivity. Unfortunately, that is an extremely poor representation of Jesus and His mission to come into this world and save souls. That mentality also does a disservice to all the saints throughout history who competed for their faith in the face of certain death.

I love this Scripture passage from Revelation 19. “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice He judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns. He has a name written on Him that no one knows but He Himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God…On His robe and on his thigh He has this name written: King of kings and Lord of lords. (NIV)

What do you think? Does that sound like a passive Savior, or a competitor who fights for the glory of God?

Life may be a struggle sometimes and may even get the better of you, but I encourage you, by faith in Jesus stand in there and compete knowing that the One called King of kings and Lord of lords has you covered.

Are you a competitive Christian? I would love to hear your thoughts…

In His grip,