17-19 April 2018 – Trophee Hassan II
The second European Tour trip of the year was at the Trophee Hassan II event in Morocco. It is held at the stunning Royal Golf Dar Es Salam course just outside the country’s capital, Rabat. In many ways it’s an immaculate setting, but there was a feeling amongst the 156-strong field that the greens were too difficult, because of the challenging undulations on them that were a recent tweak by the course designer.
One golfer mentioned that on some greens, if putting from 25 feet, it was difficult to get it within 10 feet, and that players would find themselves trying to hole eight or nine foot putts to make par. That, perhaps, then explains why there were a clutch of players up at +7 or +8 after the opening round!
Sunny weather was a real bonus, especially after an unexpectedly cold and windy time in Madrid the week before. Despite being close to the coast, the golf course is surrounded and laced with many mature trees and therefore it was almost dead calm for round one on Thursday.
At midday on Wednesday I met up with two golfers so we could spend some time looking at a few Bible verses and then pray together. We reflected on the idea of being ‘bold’ for Christ, and how we can be confident in God equipping us with the ability and courage to do that, if we make it our desire. Here are a couple of the verses we looked at:
Ephesians 6 v 19-20: “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”
Acts 4 v 13: “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”
I encouraged the two guys not to underestimate the power they can have for God in being ambassadors for Jesus Christ – in the way they behave, in the way they speak and in the way they play golf. The verse in Acts was encouraging because it reminded them that they do not have to be Bible scholars to represent Christ in a good way. Our prayer at the end was that other players will gradually sense that the Christian players are people who ‘have been with Jesus’, so to speak.
There was another player-caddie partnership that had expressed interest in the meeting on Wednesday, but weren’t able to make it. However, I caught up with them for 20 minutes on the putting green later in the day for a chat and that was very worthwhile in gathering more context about their lives.
I can already see how the process is of building relationships and trust with players, caddies and others involved in the European Tour operation is gradual, yet crucial.
Thursdays are very busy in terms of the equipment survey for much of the morning and afternoon, but there was still the opportunity to go out and take in some golf and I varied who I spent time watching.
Overall, I continue to be very grateful for this role on the European Tour, and can see why this presence is so worthwhile. Two events in, I’ve probably made more progress than I expected on the relationship-building side of it, so that is something to be thankful to God for.
The next tournament I attend is from 8-10 May at the Rocco Forte Open in Sicily, so it would be really great if you can pray that God can go before me on that trip.
I sincerely appreciate your interest and support.
Kenny Crawford, Logos Golf Ministries Chaplain to the European Tour. You can follow Kenny on Twitter here.