The Northern Open is an event which always takes place in the North of Scotland and this year we had the pleasure of playing Cruden Bay, which is one of those hidden gems with great character. This event has great history and is second in stature only to the Scottish PGA Championship. The only down side of playing here is that the venue is literally in the middle of nowhere, 20 miles north of Aberdeen. Not many players seem to hang about and you’d be mistaken for thinking this was just another day at the club apart from the scoreboard next to the clubhouse.
On arrival it was a very pleasant day, but the wind was starting to get up and you certainly don’t want to get this course with a stiff southerly wind. Well that’s exactly what we later starters got!
I was paired with two great guys from different backgrounds; a Head Professional and a younger Professional, considerably younger than the both of us, a product of the American College system. We all seemed to get on right away and chatted from the outset. The first thing that came up was my attachment of Logos Golf Ministries. This is becoming more and more of a talking point because of my introduction on the tee and the “Head Pro” was the first to comment going down the 1st fairway. As I explained what Logos were trying to do in Scotland he asked if they do that on any other tours and I mentioned about Ken and the other chaplains around Europe (European Tour, Challenge and Senior Tours) which seemed to surprise him. He didn’t say much about this after that but I could tell it made him think.
The play in the afternoon was very slow and it took us almost 3 hours for 8 holes. This was a combination of too much wind and not enough ball spotters during the early holes. This gave plenty of time for chatting and “Younger Pro” asked me more about Logos on the 3rd hole, which after sharing with him part of my own story and how I came to be doing what I’m doing, I emphasized that we are not here to bash anyone over the head with a bible but to be a presence for anyone who wants to talk about their faith or know more about Christianity. The answer he gave back was quite unexpected, “That’s a great idea, and it’s good there are people willing to do that.”
It was great he was so accepting and I definitely got the impression of a young man with strong family values. He didn’t say much about his parents but he talked about his siblings and is definitely a role model figure for them with a strong moral compass. He is a good golfer and fine young man who has great potential for the future so please remember him in your prayers.
As we finished our ‘6 hour round’ the scores did not flatter any of us but we kept going and were happy to be playing together the following day.
The second day was a lot calmer and as we were announced on the tee, the starter came up to me and asked ‘What’s Logos Golf Ministries?’ in a bemused way. As I explained to him he just looked at me as if I’d spoken double dutch and walked on. Both my playing partners smiled, but I suppose it gave another chance to reinforce what I had said to them the day before and hopefully the seed is well and truly planted. We all played much better today with the younger pro scoring 70 to make the cut right on the mark. I felt for other pro though as he missed the cut by only a couple shots which was the result of a poor last few holes. I was 5 shots the wrong side but did most of the damage on the first day and overall the swing is coming, just not quite there yet. I will keep going!!!
To make you smile and to remind us all about keeping calm when things don’t go our way, when I checked into my accommodation after the first round, the windows were filthy, every door in the apartment creaked and there was a note left to say how sorry they were that the room was not up to standard but they had a corporate booking who had trashed the room and they only just got it back open that day. To be honest they shouldn’t have bothered. I promptly left and booked into a travel lodge in Aberdeen where it took a journey to 3 separate rooms before they found a room suitable enough to book me into. It was 11pm before I sat down and although I felt a bit miffed as to what had happened I reminded myself that I had a roof over my head and a bed to sleep in. A lot of people don’t. Being thankful for what we have puts things in perspective and definitely keeps us calmer.
Please pray for those mentioned in this report and for the opportunities ahead.
In his service,
Vincent Brown, Logos Golf Ministries Professional Golfer on the Tartan Tour
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