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It's in the Dirt...So Start Digging!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

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“Fact is, I’m in the bottom quartile out here [on the PGA tour] as far as talent. But I’ve made a lot more money than tons of guys who can hit shots I can’t. My career has lasted over two decades because I work hard at it every week.” – Anonymous PGA tour professional

One of the things I like best about professional golf – besides its rich history and proper etiquette – is that it is based entirely on merit and capitalism. In other words, if you perform well and make the cut, you will earn some money that week. A Top-10 finish will guarantee you several hundred thousand dollars. And, if you manage to win the tournament, your take-home pay will most likely exceed $1,000,000.

However, if you miss the cut after two days of competition, there is no paycheck whatsoever. You simply pack your bags and head to the next venue…minus your tournament entry fee, your travel expenses, and your caddie’s salary.

Admittedly, there are a handful of professional golfers who are so gifted that they can get by on their talent alone. But for the vast majority of touring pros, the difference between winning and losing – and between maintaining your tour exemption and losing your PGA card – comes down to hard work.

Or to one word, really: practice.

In 2002, basketball player Allen Iverson gave an infamous post-season press conference during which he mentioned the word “practice” 22 times, all in derogatory terms. Here is just a short excerpt from that verbal trainwreck…

"We sitting in here -- I'm supposed to be the franchise player, and we in here talking about practice. I mean, listen: We talking about practice. Not a game. Not a game. Not a game. We talking about practice. Not a game. Not the game that I go out there and die for and play every game like it's my last. Not the game. We talking about practice, man."

Meanwhile, golfer Ben Hogan, one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, attributed his success to an unmatched work ethic. When asked about his secret, Hogan simply said, “It’s in the dirt.” What “the Hawk” meant was that the key to his 64 PGA wins and 9 major championships was the countless hours he spent hitting balls on the practice range.

Salvation is a free gift and justification by faith comes instantaneously. However, sanctification – the process of being conformed to Christ’s image and likeness – requires a lifetime of hard work, self-denial, and spiritual discipline. In other words, lots and lots of practice, spent digging into His Word and talking to Him in prayer.

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12 (NKJV)

- Rev. Dale M. Glading, President

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