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,
Scott

Proper Alignment to Hit Your Target On and Off the Course

Next to the foundation provided by the grip, alignment is considered by many instructors to be the number one fundamental of a good golf shot. Even minor alignment problems can be a problem for players at any ability level. Our mind needs a specific target and our shoulders, hips, and feet need to be in line with that target. This improves our chances of hitting the ball in the intended direction. Even tour professionals practice their alignment and focus on it during a round.

Here is a great tip on alignment from a friend of mine, Mike Bender, swing coach for Zach Johnson.
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Brian Mogg, former PGA tour player and a teacher at the David Leadbetter Schools, refers to Hebrews 12:2 to compare alignment in golf to alignment with Christ. Alignment with God requires aiming your life at Jesus by (1) getting to know Him, and (2) becoming like Him. We get to know Him by spending time with Him in prayer, reading God’s word, and fellowshipping with those with similar beliefs. We can easily get caught up in the do’s and don’ts of religion, but ultimately the best approach is to fix our eyes on Jesus and align our beliefs and actions with Him and God’s word.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
John l: 1-4

FINAL SWING THOUGHT:

My life must be aligned with the target of knowing and serving Jesus Christ.

The Grip is the Foundation

Many golf professionals describe the golf grip as the foundation for the golf swing. The grip is the only way our body connects with the clubs, the instruments with which we play the game. The force and finesse produced in the swing must be transmitted to the club by the grip. A proper grip allows the strength and skill of the swing to be imparted to the ball to produce distance and direction. Without a proper grip you will not achieve your potential despite other improvements you make in your equipment and/or swing.

Check out this quick tip by Brian Mogg on the proper grip:
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There is a parallel for life. You are, in a sense, like the golf club. If you let him, God will take hold of your life and provide the direction and power to fulfill his purpose. He can help you find the fairway and show you how to progress on the course of life. He helps those in the Master’s grip avoid the bunkers and deal with adversity. In life you get to choose to accept or reject living in the grip of the Master’s hands. In golf the clubs have no say in the matter.#IHGGolf Glove

Psalm 37:23-24
23 The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

FINAL SWING THOUGHT:

Your grip on the golf club
is the foundation for the golf swing.
God’s grip on your life
is the foundation for your life

Visualize Your Target

Visualizing the target is important in golf and life. Byron Nelson said “One of the most important–and often overlooked–factors in making a good golf swing is visualizing your target beforehand.” Instead of making the ball the target, you get better results when, “The spot where you want your ball to finish is the target, and by being aware of that spot, you give your swing direction.” (“Shape Your Swing the Modern Way”, Golf Digest, 1976, p.74)

What is the target of your life? Bob Buford wrote in Half Time that many men come to the half-time of their life, analyze what happened in the first half, and realize they need a new strategy for the second half. A later book by Buford, Game Plan, is about making plans for the second half by figuring out what is significant in life and setting a course of action to get there.

Significance is based in who I am as a person. Success is based in what I do as a person. Unfortunately, many people realize too late that to achieve significance you have to include it in your target. Otherwise you are likely to aim only at success.

asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, to lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him,
bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

Colossians 1:9-10

FINAL SWING THOUGHT:

A life of significance is a worthy target.

5 Keys to Hosting a Golf Retreat

FarmLinks Hole #17

I have been playing this great game of golf for over 46 years and have been on my share of golf retreats.  In fact, I am putting finishing touches on our Annual In His Grip Golf Retreat that I host at Farmlinks Golf Club in Sylacauga, AL.  A great course with the amazing Parker Lodge on site.   Experience has revealed a few “best practices” and I would love to share them with you.

1.  Define your Purpose: You may want to talk to your guys first to see what would be their ultimate golf retreat experience.  I am starting to learn that guys want to play A LOT of golf, BUT, they also want some DOWN TIME (a.k.a. fun time).   We always try to use our In His Grip retreats to have a life message in the evening or make it available for certain prayer requests.  Over the past few years this has been a deeply meaningful time for the guys including me.

2.  Date and Location: Most of the golf retreats I have been on are either in the spring or in the fall.  When booking your date and location remember to stay away from course maintenance weeks (punching the greens) and you may want to consider daylight savings time.

3.  Determine Your Budget: Hey, we all have family financial responsibilities and that means that our personal budgets are more sensitive than ever.  Searching the internet for deals is still a great resource and most golf facilities need the business so don’t be afraid to ASK.

4.  Define your Formats Upfront: I like to send out the formats and teams ahead of time.  I also like to switch it up.  For the last few years, our IHG golf retreat has been a Ryder Cup format and the guys love it. We have 20 guys this year and 10 will come home with their individual cup.

5.  Caravan to Build Camaraderie: We always try to have a central meeting point, like our church, and then load up the vehicles so we don’t have anyone driving solo.  It is amazing how many memories are also on the ride to or from the course.

I hope one or two of these keys will help make your next golf retreat experience more memorable.  You may even want to consider a survey from the guys to get their input.  Let me know what some of  your golf retreat experiences have been and what is your favorite golf retreat location and why?

I hope to see you on the course.

Scott

NOW AVAILABLE: Pre-order Signed Copies of My NEW BOOK

I want to thank you all for your encouraging words as we are near completion of sending out my new book, “More Than A Game Finding Life’s Answers Through Golf.” Many of you have asked to pre-order a signed copy which you can now do here at this link: SIGNED COPY

#MTAGBook

 

I just received my first review from Gerry James who received an advanced copy at the 2015 PGA Merchandise Show last month.  Very humbling to say the least:

Scotty

First off let me congratulate you on a splendid attempt at writing a book. Dude, you hit it out of the park. Wow, God inspired. I am so proud of you. I can tell how mature and deep you are in Christ just by reading this book. It really ministered to me. The chapter on attitude and pride was deep waters and all men need to hear this. You clearly pointed out how to draw into a deeper more trusting meaningful relationship with Christ and used golfing analogies with brilliance only the Holy Spirit could have inspired.

God Bless my brother.

Gerry James, PGA Professional

2X World Long Drive Champion

 





Does Your Life Reflect Your Heart?

I love the sixteenth hole of the Waste Management Phoenix Open played at TPC at Scottsdale. Players walk through a tunnel and to a tee box surrounded by thousands of raucous fans in stadium seating just feet away. The hole is a par 3. Golf is normally a game played with extreme quiet, but on this particular hole in this particular tournament, fans go wild.

It puts a significant amount of pressure on the players. Imagine being in the lead or close to it on the last day of the tournament having to hit a perfect shot to a tough pin location in front of thousands of screaming people. Millions of dollars are on the line. The pressure is enormous. It’s all fun and games during the Pro-Am, but when the money is on the line it is a different story. The pressure can either wilt the player or the player will rise to the occasion. You truly get to see what some players are made of.

Isn’t that the case with us? When we face a significant amount of pressure in our lives, it often exposes what we’re made of. It really doesn’t matter what the challenge is. It could be health issues, financial pressure, relational issues or work related challenges. When we’re hit with the pressures of life, the stress tends to expose the cracks in our congenial Chrisitan exterior. The Bible addresses this in Proverbs 27:19. “As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.”
bible,heart,love,typography,quote,reflects-e94c92f6234e0ac793fa5c7589decaf2_h
Wow! That rocks me. That is a huge blow to my ego. That verse exposes the pride that too often rises up in my life and feeds that false image I want others to have of me. You know the one. The image where it looks like you’ve got it all together and you love it when people tell you so. But think about it. Pride is the single greatest challenge with which the human spirit struggles. Satan tempted Adam and Eve by appealing to their pride. The pressure was on and it exposed what was in their hearts.

Here are a couple of other verses from Proverbs. ”Pride comes, then comes disgrace…” (11:2a); and “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (16:18). Ouch!

Jesus taught His disciples that “out of the heart come evil thoughts” (Matthew 15:19), and often it is life’s pressures that force them out. The best way to deal with the pressure is to seek God with all your heart and consume as much of God’s Word as you can. The Holy Spirit will transform your heart so that when squeezed by life, you’ll produce the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5.

No one hits a perfect shot in life every time, but with the right preparation, we can be confident we’ll consistently respond to pressure in ways that honor Jesus with our lives.

In His grip,
Scott

National Car Rental Expands Their Partnership With The PGA of America

I had the privilege and opportunity to spend time with Rob Connors, assistant vice president of brand marketing for National Car Rental and Mark Bradley, Keegan’s dad and I must say, these two guys are not only personable but also exude the quality of first class. In 2014 alone over 10,000 golfers attended the National Car Rental PGA Pro-Am Series. Wow! Here is the press release from last week at the 2015 PGA Merchandise Show.

NationalCarRental

National Car Rental and the PGA of America today announced the renewal of their partnership at the 2015 PGA Merchandise Show, extending National’s designation as an Official Partner and the Official Rental Car of the PGA of America. The five-year agreement features National serving as the Official Rental Car of the PGA Championship and Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid; an Official Partner of the 2016 and 2018 Ryder Cups; Title Sponsor of the National Car Rental PGA Assistant Championship and Founding Partner of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

“Since 2012, National Car Rental has supported our most cherished spectator championships and has played a key role in celebrating the work of PGA Professionals nationwide while helping us grow the game of golf at the local level,” said Pete Bevacqua, PGA of America Chief Executive Officer. “We are very pleased to continue our partnership with National, whose commitment to personalized service reflects one of the most trusted brands in the transportation industry.”

National and the PGA also announced the return of the National Car Rental PGA Pro-Am Series, which runs from March to October of this year. More than 10,000 amateur golfers participated in last year’s inaugural Pro-Am Series, which the PGA of America and National created to help further the PGA’s mission to grow interest and participation in the game of golf at the grassroots level. The Pro-Am Series links together over 90 new and existing amateur tournaments across the 41 PGA of America Sections nationwide. Keegan Bradley, winner of the 2011 PGA Championship, and his father, PGA Professional Mark Bradley, will continue to serve as ambassadors for the Series. The father-son team will also promote the National “Go Like A Pro” mobile experience, a customized, golf-themed tour bus that will travel to select events throughout the National Car Rental PGA Pro-Am Series.

“With our shared commitment to service and professionalism, National’s partnership with the PGA of America remains a natural fit,” said Rob Connors, assistant vice president of brand marketing for National Car Rental. “We know many of our business travel customers have a passion for the game of golf, and we are proud to work with the PGA to promote the game on both the local and national level.”

National Car Rental will commit advertising support to PGA major championship broadcasts, along with PGA-branded programming, including on-air, digital and print. In addition:

· National Car Rental will extend specially priced car rental rates to PGA Professionals, the 41 PGA Sections and the PGA’s family of nearly 90 corporate partners. PGA Professionals also will be given the opportunity to extend preferred rental rates to their club members and guests.

· PGA Professionals will be afforded access into National Car Rental’s Emerald Club, the car rental industry’s first comprehensive frequent-renter program, which expedites the rental process by offering counter bypass as well as Drop & GoSM service with convenient e-receipts. National features the Emerald Aisle – an exclusive section of the lot where members can select any vehicle as long as they reserve a mid-sized car – at 62 locations in the U.S. and Canada, including the top 50 airports for business travel.

For more information about the National Car Rental PGA Pro-Am Series, please visit www.nationalcargolf.com. Beginning March 1, fans can follow the Series on Instagram and Twitter @NationalCarGolf and participate in the conversation using #proamseries.

Attention PGA Merchandise Show Attendees, I will be doing an Advanced Book Signing of my NEW BOOK, More Than A Game (Release Date March 1, 2015) at the SeeMore Putter Booth #707 on Wednesday, Jan. 21st and Thursday Jan. 22nd from 4:30pm-5:30pm.  Come by and say hi, I look forward to meeting you.

Date: January 21, 2105
Time: 04:30-5:30pm
Event: Book Signing
Public: Private

5 Tips For Attending the 2015 PGA Merchandise Show

We are only 2 days away from the 2015 PGA Merchandise Show and to say the least, I am pumped. This will be my 15th year attending and I have 5 tips to make sure you have a productive show. Yes, these are very simple but it is also a good reminder for us all. Here you go:

#1. Plan Your Work. Work Your Plan.
There will be 40,000 attendees and 1100 exhibitors all wanting you to stop in their booth to take a look at their newest and greatest products and/or services. I have to always work my way backwards by asking the question, who are the key vendors that I want to make sure I spend time with? Schedule those first and fill in with any new potential vendors. Three days will go extremely fast.

#2. Wear Comfortable Shoes.
Yes, a no brainer for sure. I like to wear Footjoy’s Contour spikeless shoes, they are comfortable and I also love the look. Make sure you wear them prior and break them in a little, the worst thing that can happen on day one is to develop a blister. I have been there and done that! Never again!
Let me know what shoes you prefer to make sure you avoid a good walk spoiled.

#3. Bring a Phone Charger.
I always seem to run out of juice more quickly than normal at trade shows. I like to take a lot of photos and I am finding that each year I seem to take more and more video clips. I have a small mophie and it is perfect. You may just be a savior for a friend or business partner as they thirst for a little juice. They will become best friends for life.

#4. Have Catalogs Sent to your Home Office.
Even though printed catalogs are becoming a thing of the past you come upon vendors handing out catalogs for you to carry throughout the day. After about twelve you are going to wonder why your shoulder is killing you. Too much weight. Have the vendor scan your badge or give them your business card and have them send you a catalog. I may pick up two or three at the most each day for a little bed time reading.

#5. Walk Fast
What??? I have found that by walking at a brisk pace I allude the aggressive sale people that are handing you that free sample just to have you stop and spend time in their booth. If you walk slow, the good sales men and women will check out your badge and address you by name…now you are hooked.
Keeping a good pace allows me to scan and if something grabs my attention I can then make the decision to stop vs. having somebody else dictate my schedule.

I hope that there was one nugget that may help you have the most productive show yet. Please let me know any tips you have found helpful, I am sure my readers would appreciate it.

Have a blessed show!
Scott