The club champion defended her title as any great club champion would—played through the pain, never complained, and soundly trounced us all.
I — on the other hand — had a learning experience . . . an encounter with Rule 10.1 . . . and a reminder about the value of rules and tough love.
Rules, in any sport, are put in place to protect the legitimacy of the competition, thereby allowing players to play freely and creatively. Could you imagine the chaos in any sport if there weren’t any rules?
In golf, in particular, the rules are primarily there to help you—to allow you get relief from obstructions, poor course conditions, hazards, etc. Of course, they are also there to make sure competition is fair to all players.
When things are going well, I am a pleasant person to play with. But when my game goes awry, often so does my congenial attitude. On rare occasions (fortunately), but usually during competitions, if I play poorly, I get upset. Enter hole number 12 on Saturday—a par 4 which plays like a par 5.
Because of two poor approach shots, it took me four to get on. Then I barely missed what I thought was a makable putt for the 5 and the ball stopped six inches past the hole. In my frustration, when I went to hit the ball in for the six, I didn’t line up or set myself, so my club ended up catching the ground, then scraped, scooped, and pushed the ball into the hole. My playing partners looked at me in horror. We all knew this couldn’t be considered a legitimate stroke.
And it wasn’t. Rule 10.1, specifically says your club can’t do any of those things and mine did all three. You must make clean, momentary contact with the ball.
The consequence? Well, it wasn’t as bad as what happened to Moses when he struck the rock in frustration, but it was a hard lesson to learn. Two stroke penalty. So my double bogie, which I could have recovered from, was now a quadruple bogie. And it never had to be. I did it to myself.
There are always consequences for bad choices.
It’s funny how we value rules in sports, but chafe at God’s rules for our lives, and yet they are there for the very same reasons: to help us maneuver around obstacles, save us from chaos and confusion, and avoid unwanted consequences.
However, from the beginning man has rebelled in one way or another, and there are always consequences, immediate or in the future. As I read through the Bible and see individual waywardness and witness Israel’s backsliding and Judah’s blatant rejection of God, I am reminded of the grace and mercy of God’s tough love. Tough love doesn’t take away the consequences, some of which can be extremely hard and harsh, but there is always the choice to return to God, and with the return, reconciliation and blessing.