Inside are a few of the things Armstrong has learned at God's lesson tee. "It's a collection," he says, "of stories and anecdotes from my many years in golf, each used in some way by God to bring home a truth about life, faith, relationships, and my walk with Christ in general." In The Heart of a Golfer, Armstrong offers thirty-six "lessons" covering different aspects of life's game: the fundamentals, swing mechanics, course management, mental agility, the spirit of the game, and giving back to the game.
Are you eager to shave off a few points on God's golf course? Then step up to the tee and let the lessons begin.
Author Biography: Wally Armstrong is a former touring golf professional and current speaker, skills instructor, and best-selling author of books about golf and the Christian life, including (with Jim Sheard) "In His Grip", "Playing the Game", "Finishing the Course", and an instructional book with golfer Tom Lehman called "Live Hands".
Frank Martin is a freelance writer from Colorado Springs who has worked or collaborated with O. S. Hawkins, Mike Trout, Bill McCartney, and Robert Schuller, and is a primary writer for the Dr. James Dobson radio show.
|Product dimensions:||5.22(w) x 7.44(h) x 1.00(d)|
|Age Range:||16 Years|
Read an Excerpt
KEEP IT SIMPLE
If there is one common problem I see among amateur golfers and high-handicappers, it is that they tend to overanalyze the game-- every aspect of it. They've read books and watched videos describing the "perfect" swing, and they desperately want to achieve it. They hold in their mind a detailed mental checklist of every movement necessary to hitting the ideal shot and go through that list before and during each swing. Without exception, this does little more than send them away confused and frustrated.
I see so many players approach the first tee with a sense of fear and anxiety. You can see it in their eyes. They look out over the vast array of green, lush grass in front of them, with traps and trees lining the fairway, and then their eyes focus on a tiny flag in the distance, barely visible to the naked eye. Three hundred and fifty yards lie between them and the hole, and they've got four shots to get it into the cup. The mere thought of it seems overwhelming to a frustrated golfer.
Almost without fail, the first-hole jitters get to these players. They swing too hard and slice the ball into the woods. Or they duff the club into the ground and send the ball trickling toward the cart path. Their second shot isn't much better, and once again they've set themselves up for another round of high scores and shattered expectations.
The truth is, golf doesn't have to be complicated to be played effectively. At its core, the game is really rather simple. You progress the ball forward with each shot until you get to the green, where you softly stroke the ball into the hole. It takes years of work and practice to shoot par, and no one expects the average golfer to do so. Bogie golf is a fine target for most weekend players and can easily be attained when we relax and keep it simple.
Begin with the swing. Forget trying to find the perfect swing and work instead on creating the simplest one. Swing with ease and freedom. Practice letting the club flow in a simple, circular pattern around your body. The goal is to swing the clubhead in a circular arch around the body, letting the ball get caught in its path. Don't try--or expect-- to hit the ball three hundred yards down the middle on your drive. Just focus on a smooth and complete swing that sends the ball toward the green with each shot. And don't worry about carrying the green in regulation. Most golfers are doing well to be within thirty yards of the target after two strokes, and there's no reason that even an average golfer shouldn't be able to get up and down from there in three strokes.
After a lesson with a student, I always encourage him or her to take the principles we've been working on to the first tee and to commit to them throughout the round. Most students find that if they'll just relax and take the game one shot at a time, what had seemed complicated and overwhelming is actually not that difficult.
CREATING A SIMPLE SWING PATTERN
Professional golf instructor Arnie Frankel wrote the following about the swing motion: "The ideal golf swing is a very relaxed motion. If you can just be relaxed, letting the clubhead go back and forward, on a plane like a pendulum, you will have the best effective swing.
"When I am hitting the ball at my best I feel like I'm gripping the club about as loosely as I possibly can. The club almost falls out of my hands. In practicing remember to practice small swings until the feeling comes back. Small swings until you can feel the clubhead swinging. Little to big is the way to go." Remember, when it comes to the golf swing, simple is always better.
SHARING YOUR FAITH
Most of us have at one time been given a project at work or school that seemed daunting. We wondered if and how we could ever get it accomplished. But as we began, taking it one step at a time, the task seemed to get easier by the day. We went from feeling overwhelmed to feeling confident. And once finished, we felt a sense of pride and accomplishment, ready to take on even a larger project.
This same principle holds true when trying to share our faith with others. For many new followers of Christ, or even for inexperienced veteran believers, the mere thought of sharing their faith causes their palms to sweat and their throats to constrict.
The first time I was asked to share my testimony about my relationship with Christ, I was terrified. Conrad Rehling, my professor and golf coach from the University of Florida, was a godly man and a committed follower of Christ. And when he discovered I was a believer, he asked me to go with him to a small country school out-side of Gainesville, Florida, where he had been asked to speak. I had not been a follower of Christ for very long and had little knowledge of the Bible, but Conrad somehow talked me into getting up and telling my story. "Simply open your mouth and God will give you the words to say," he told me. Then he shared with me from the Book of Exodus. Moses was being commissioned by God to bring the Israelites out of Egypt, and Moses was afraid he wouldn't know what to say. God told him, "I will help you speak and will teach you what to say" (Ex. 4: 12).
As I stood in front of those two hundred kids, kindergarten through twelfth grade, I was petrified, but I did as Conrad suggested. I opened my mouth, and God took over. The words flowed. I simply told them how I had come to Christ and what he had done in my life. Ten minutes later I walked off the stage, not even remembering much of what I had said.
Speaking to the children that day was an invaluable experience for me, because it taught me that sharing your faith doesn't have to be difficult or complicated. The best and most effective approach is to keep it straight and simple, just like the golf swing.
When trying to lead people to Christ, telling your personal story is always the best place to start. It's real and authentic because it comes from the heart. And, most important, it's something almost everyone can relate to. When someone doesn't know Christ, they're seldom interested in hearing about the Godhead Trinity or end-times theology.
What they want to know is why someone like you would choose to follow Jesus and make him Lord and Master of your life. They want to know what Jesus offered that you couldn't find anywhere else.
When you want to share your faith with someone and you feel overwhelmed, just remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 10: 19-20: "Do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you."
If you want to touch someone's heart, keep it simple. Tell them your story. Tell them about Jesus. It's not as frightening as you might think.
Table of ContentsBefore You Begin 7
PART 1: FUNDAMENTALS
1. Keep It Simple 13
2. Play to Your Strengths 18
3. Unlearning Old Habits 22
4. Keep Your Grips Dry 28
5. Imitate Your Mentor 32
PART 2: THE PRACTICE TEE
6. Have a Practice Plan 41
7. Work on Your Grip 48
8. Develop a Pre-Shot Routine 52
9. Find a Good Teacher 57
10. Practice Good Swing Mechanics 62
11. Learn the Truths behind the Principles 69
12. Trust Your Swing 74
PART 3: COURSE MANAGEMENT
13. Play the Percentages 81
14. Stay in the Moment 87
15. Pick a Target, Then Play the Shot 92
16. Know Your Yardages 97
17. Expect Some Bad Shots 102
18. Strive for Progress, Not Perfection 109
19. Trust Your Skills, Not Your Instincts 113
20. Always Carry a Course Journal 118
PART 4: MENTAL AGILITY
21. Play Your Own Game 125
22. Dealing with Adversity 131
23. Work with What You Have 139
24. Play within Yourself 144
25. Replay Good Shots in Your Mind 150
26. Put Bad Shots behind You 155
PART 5: THE SPIRIT OF THE GAME
27. Trust Your Caddy 165
28. Be Courteous to Other Players 170
29. Develop an Attitude of Gratitude 176
30. Keep a Positive Outlook 182
31. Count Every Stroke 189
32. Don't Forget to Have Fun 193
PART 6: GIVING BACK TO THE GAME
33. Develop a Love for the Game 203
34. Pass On Your Passion 210
35. Mentor Younger Players 215
36. Keep the Game in Perspective 220
Personalities Quoted 225