McMahon

Have you ever watched professional golfers and been awed by their ability to land a shot from 200 yards away, just a few yards from the hole? You wonder how they can judge the distance to the hole with such precision. Do they have an internal GPS system that enables them to guess the distances on the course with uncanny accuracy?

Not really. What they have is a yardage book. A yardage book is a map of each hole on the course that gives distances from various landmarks on the hole to the green. Decades ago, Arnold Palmer and his caddy began drawing rough yardage charts with little pictures of trees, fairways, greens and sand traps of the various holes on all the courses they played.

Jack Nicklaus was the pro who really made yardage books popular. Today, along with the maps, many pro golfers will keep what essentially is a personal journal of how they have played each hole of the course, what clubs they have used from various distances, what the wind was doing, and what happened to their shots.

Golfers swear by their yardage books. Zach Johnson, winner of the 2010 Colonial, says, “I feel naked without it out there. It’s my golf bible.” Steve Marino says, “You see what you did in the past, you make sure you have the right number and then trust all of it, because the room for error is nil.” Scott Vail, caddie for Brandt Snedeker, says, “There are huge ramifications if you are even just 1 yard off.”

One former caddie, George Lucas, has made a business out of driving the country and charting distances of some 1,000 golf courses and publishing his data in a book that is now available to the public.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have yardage books for the tough decisions we make in life? Should I marry this person or not? Should I go to this or that school? Take this job? Should we buy this house?

In our technological age, we want specifics. We want everything mapped out. We want to remove all the uncertainties from life. We want to be able to use our past experiences to predict exactly what will happen in the future.

But God hasn’t chosen to work with us in that way. We need to realize there are some things — no matter how much you’ve prepared — that only faith can handle. God has given us an essential book of guidance that we can’t do without, but we still have to use judgment in how to apply what it teaches. Most important, we need to be walking with God. And let me add that nothing is too big or too difficult for Him.

Golfer Arnold Palmer once played a series of exhibition matches in Saudi Arabia. The king was so impressed that he proposed to give Palmer a gift. Palmer said; “It really isn’t necessary, Your Highness. I’m honored to have been invited.”

“I would be deeply upset,” replied the king, “if you would not allow me to give you a gift.”

Palmer thought for a moment and said, “All right. How about a golf club? That would be a beautiful memento of my visit to your country.”

The next day, delivered to Palmer’s hotel, was the title to a golf club. Thousands of acres, trees, lakes, clubhouse, the whole ball of wax!

The moral of this story is: In the presence of a King, don’t ask for small gifts! What “big things” come to your mind that you need to approach God with?

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