Category Archives: Golf Ministry

Scottish Open & The Open – July 2018

Scottish Open and The Open – July 2018

What a fortnight in Scotland! It’s been a privilege to have been involved for the full duration of both the Scottish Open and The Open – the first time I’ve worked at both of those events in the same year. They were staged at two links courses – Gullane and Carnoustie – totally deserving of top level golf, with the sun shining almost continuously throughout adding to everyone’s enjoyment.

Let’s start with the Scottish Open in Gullane, East Lothian – a region of Scotland known for its amazing golf courses. With this being a lucrative Rolex event and also a handy warm-up opportunity for The Open, there was a formidable field. Masters champion Patrick Reed played, as did the likes of Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler, who had won at Gullane in 2015.

On the Wednesday before the Scottish Open, seven of us met for Bible study at a table in the sun outside the players’ lounge. Present were three players, a caddie, a coach, me and Ken Revie – the man who faithfully served in the LOGOS chaplaincy role before me. As I said to Ken, the amount of people who came to him as he walked along the practice range that day was testament to how good a job he had done establishing real relationships with those on the European Tour.

Scottish Open at Gullane

The seven of us read and reflected together on Exodus 3; the story of Moses being called by God from the burning bush. We reminded each other to be listening out for God’s voice and call, to have the confidence and faith to accept the calling and not to underestimate the power of the God who leads us into and through the calling. Afterwards we prayed together and it was heartening to do that as the busy-ness of the Scottish Open build-up went on around us.

One of the other highlights of the Scottish Open week was spending some time with one of the staff on the European Tour. He is extremely interested and supportive of the work and I’m so encouraged by that as we move forward.

The Open at Carnoustie was equally meaningful in some of the same ways and in some different ways. As many of you will know, The Open championship is referred to as ‘the one true test’ and arguably the best major of them all. All the big names were in the field, including a certain Mr Woods!

The Open at Carnoustie

The magnitude of the event means that everyone seems busier and more focused than at other regular events, yet it was great that five of us were still able to put all that to one side for 45 minutes on the Wednesday. Only one of the players we normally meet with had managed to qualify for the Open; so he joined us, as did a caddie, a coach, and a member of the European Tour logistics team.

‘Be part of forever’ had been the 2018 Open’s catchphrase on their advertising, so I thought it was an appropriate chance for us to be reminded how, as Christians, we really can go into every day knowing we can ‘be part of forever’ through the eternal life promised to us through Jesus Christ. Again, we finished our meeting with a time of prayer and also a parting encouragement for us all to ‘Be still and know that I am God’ amidst a whirlwind week.

During the week of The Open there were other good opportunities to let some other Seniors Tour players know about the work on the European Tour. They are very open about their faith and were pleased to hear what goes on. I also had good chats with a Christian PGA Tour player from the USA, and a Christian caddie for another PGA Tour player.

At both the Scottish Open and The Open, I stayed on for the full events to fulfil BBC Scotland duties, and I was encouraged further about how the two roles continue to compliment each other.

I’m currently on holiday with family but look forward to resuming the Christians in Sport/LOGOS work at the Czech Masters near Prague towards the end of August.

Thanks for your support and prayers over this busy July!

Kenny

Kenny Crawford, Logos Golf Ministries Chaplain to the European Tour.  You can follow Kenny on Twitter here.

DEER PARK MASTERS QUALIFYING – JULY 2018

Deer Park Masters Qualifying – 10/7

Having already played Deer Park this year in what was very tricky conditions, it was nice to go back to the course that seemed more familiar to me this week. A change in the weather brought some welcome cloud coverage and as usual the course was in very good condition.

I was pleased to play with a good friend. Due to a call off in our group it was only the two of us along with his caddy, He already knows the background to Logos and as we got going I chatted about the Pro-Am for this year and how we still had a few team spaces left but were making good progress.

He is more than happy to come along again and I was asking his opinion on who else to invite including some lady professionals. We were both agreed that I should try and get at least two along with teams attending due to Alison Nicholas being present, so he gave me a few names to think about which helps the process.

I knew early on in this round that my swing was not as comfortable as usual and had to make a decision to play smart golf rather than pretty golf. The task was to get it round and not take on anything that could cost me the chance of qualifying. The difference in playing a round like this is you have to putt well and that was something I had been struggling with recently.

After holing a 20-footer on the 3rd and then a difficult 6-foot par putt on the 4th, I knew my putting was in decent shape and I felt comfortable with it for the first time in a while. After working hard to get the toe of the putter more flush to the ground, it was finally paying off. Looking forward to when the swing comes back again and then its open season.

I managed to give the caddy a quick rundown of my life and work which got some funny looks but in there was a hint of respect which was something I suppose. He commented on how well I was getting it round and I explained I felt I was having to force it due to not swinging well. I could feel my neck becoming quite painful and this was a result of not being able to release the club properly and over compensating. I was not going to give up on this round though as I knew I could do it despite the developing injury.

I have mentioned recently having great peace of mind on the course and this situation was no different. I could’ve focused on the negatives and had a good old whinge to God that this was not fair, but sometimes we just need to play the hand we have as best we can, and one outcome is for sure – God is always there with us despite the situation or the outcome.

My playing partner struggled towards the end with the driver and this cost him the chance of qualifying with a ball out of bounds at the 15th. I was just focused on keeping the ball in play and played through the pain to post 2 over and a very satisfying finish to the round despite 3 putting the last for bogey. Job done and looking forward to the event at the end of the month. We both agreed to catch up again and I will definitely see him over the summer.

Please pray for those mentioned and for the ministry in the year ahead.

In His service,

Vincent

Vincent Brown, PGA Professional on the Tartan Tour
Vincent Brown, Logos Golf Ministries Ambassador to the Tartan Tour
Contact Vincent by email vb@logosgolfministries.com

 

 

 

 

ASI SCOTTISH OPEN QUALIFYING – JULY 2018

ASI Scottish Open Qualifying (Longniddry)  – 7/7-8/7

With the Scottish Open returning to Gullane this year, qualifying was at Longniddry Golf Club just a few miles along the road. Having never played the course before I went for a practice round on the Friday and was pleasantly surprised.

I was due to play on my own for the practise round but after I hit my opening shot I was joined by a player who I had never seen before and he was also on his own. He introduced himself and we strolled down the 1st hole giving me a great opportunity to tell him all about myself, Logos and the Pro-Am this year.

He currently plays on the Challenge Tour and it was good to play a practice round with such a good player and even better to get to know him a bit. We had plenty to chat about and I gave him my card so that he could get in contact when back in town. I look forward to our next meeting.

A really pleasant round in beautiful sunshine gave me a good feel for the course.  On the first round of the event I was paired with two guys I have come across before at points and knew this was going to be a quiet round. For the front 9 there was very little conversation at all. There was the odd small talk about the World Cup but I knew the guys were not interested in my work and thought it best to leave it there.

I’ve not played in many games where so little has been said but this had to be the one that sticks out for me and nothing much you can do but play your game and be as courteous as possible. A poor finish to the round left me 8 shots off the lead, but there was still a chance of moving up the field with a good second round. The putting stroke is getting better but still too many 3 putts to make a challenge. I bumped into a friend at the clubhouse and he gave me a couple of pointers that backed up what I had been practising, but I’m still finding it difficult to consistently make the right stroke. It’ll get there.

The second day was very refreshing as I was playing with two young lads. Normally younger guys don’t really say that much during a round but right from the start they both asked about my attachment and for about 6 holes I was talking to each of them on and off about my life, faith and golf.

It’s great to have these moments on the course and especially when the boys appeared genuinely interested. One of them struggled a bit on the back 9 but the other and I played fairly solid and each of us bettered our scores from day one.

During this event I also bumped into a pro and fellow believer. We hadn’t seen each other for a while but it was good to invite him along to the Archerfield Pro-Am and, all things going well, he’ll be there. It was great that he enjoyed my reports over the season and it means a lot to have his support in all aspects.

Please pray for the ministry and the Logos Pro-Am this year.

In His service,

Vincent

Vincent Brown, PGA Professional on the Tartan Tour
Vincent Brown, Logos Golf Ministries Ambassador to the Tartan Tour
Contact Vincent by email vb@logosgolfministries.com

 

 

KPMG Women’s PGA Championship – JUNE 2018

KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, Kemper Lakes, Chicago – 26th – 28th June 2018

Last week I was in the USA teaming up with Cris Stevens of Global Golf Ministries in a planned fellowship and Bible study time at the tournament site.

Time was spent connecting with many players, caddies and Tour staff from Europe and America which gave me the opportunity to let people know my plans to be out on Tour again this year representing Logos Golf Ministries as a fieldworker.

The fellowship and Bible study took place in the clubhouse at Kemper Lakes and 7 people attended – made up of players, tournament staff and past players. It was great to open the Bible and discuss passages from 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12, Romans 12:10 and 2 Timothy 1:6-7, encouraging and challenging each other to excel still more in love, so others can see the difference in us as we continue to strive to be more Christ like.

I had the opportunity to share my experiences at major tournaments from a spiritual and playing perspective and everyone joined in the discussion. We ended the meeting by praying together.

I look forward to my next event in Scotland where I can continue to build on the connections made in the USA, both new and old.

Embed from Getty Images

Alison Nicholas

FRENCH OPEN – JUNE 2018

Open de France, Paris – 27-29 June 2018

Hype surrounded this year’s Open de France because the course upon which it is played – Le Golf National – is the venue for the 2018 Ryder Cup in September. Several big-name players were in the field with the added objective in mind of getting a proper peak at the course in advance of the iconic event in September.

World number two Justin Thomas (USA) was there, as were Jon Rahm (Spain), Graeme McDowell (NIR), Thomas Bjorn (Den), Ian Poulter (Eng) and Sergio Garcia (Spain). Le Golf National is a beautiful course, but a tough one, and the 25mph wind on a scorching Thursday made scoring difficult. Only 14 players in a field of 150+ finished in red numbers after the first round. The rough was unforgiving and it will be interesting to see if it is cut back slightly for the Ryder Cup.

On Wednesday, four of us – two players, a European Tour support staff member and I – had an encouraging hour studying Matthew chapter 8 and praying together. The phrase leading our time was ‘faith and following’, delving into the chapter and looking at the different stories in which varying levels of ‘faith and following’ manifested themselves.

There was the leper (v 1-4), the centurion (v 5-13), the teacher (v 18-22) and the disciples (v 23-27). Working our way through each of those four short accounts, we noted and reflected on examples of amazing faith, wavering faith, dedicated following of Jesus, or following that was outmuscled by other priorities. Laced through all that were constant reminders of the power, consistency, hope and reliability there is in Jesus Christ.

The notes from this study were circulated to five more people not present at the Open de France; two players and two caddies competing in the Asian Tour event in Thailand, and a golf coach often present on the European Tour.

On Thursday, during duties with the equipment survey, there was an unexpected conversation with a caddie. His response to hearing that I was involved in a Christian role was that some of his grown-up children find church meaningful back in the UK, therefore he has a healthy respect for the Christian faith.

Later on Thursday evening, I had a chance to catch up with a player-caddie partnership who I’ve regularly met with and got to know quite well. This was a shorter get-together, but an equally valuable one, particularly from the perspective of offering encouragement when it was needed.

So, all in, a lot squeezed into a couple of days and God blessed us in many ways. Through study, through fellowship, through unexpected conversations, through success in tasks needing completed and through safety in travel. I am thankful to Him for all of that. He definitely ‘goes before’ us.

A sincere thanks again to those who pray and support this role on the European Tour, which is continuing to be such a worthwhile one.

Amy, Jessica and I are having a week’s holiday in Scotland now, before a busy fortnight at the Scottish Open and The Open. At both I will stay on for the full week for BBC Scotland duties.

Bye for now, Kenny

Kenny Crawford, Logos Golf Ministries Chaplain to the European Tour.  You can follow Kenny on Twitter here.

SHOT CLOCK MASTERS, AUSTRIA – JUNE 2018

Shot Clock Masters, Austria, 5-7 June

A busy three-week spell ended with a great few days at the Shot Clock Masters in Atzenbrugg, Austria – about an hour west of Vienna in the car. I had been to Austria once before in 2010 but was again struck by how pleasant a country it is. The towns I passed through or stayed in were all very clean and people seem to do a good job of looking after their own patch.

This was a lower profile European Tour event than the likes of Wentworth’s PGA Championship and the Italian Open in the weeks earlier, but still a really productive one in terms of relationship building.

Two Scottish players and a caddie arrived at Vienna airport at the same time as me and we ended up sharing a car journey to the golf course together, which was the first of several nice, unplanned opportunities that week to get to know people better.

On another occasion, I shared a meal with five caddies and it was interesting to have conversations with them about some of the joys and challenges of that role.

Of the players I normally meet up with for a Bible study, there was only one of them playing at this event, but we still had a meaningful time together looking at the closing part of the story of Joseph in a few different parts of Genesis 45 – 50.

We focused on the mercy and grace shown by Joseph to his brothers, when he revealed his identity in Egypt. The brothers, in the knowledge of their wrongdoing towards him, expected Joseph would want retribution, yet Joseph was forgiving and willing to give them a fresh start.

Genesis 50 v 20-21: Joseph said to his brothers: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid, I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

We then paralleled that with a well known verse in Romans to reflect on God’s mercy and grace towards us through Jesus Christ.

Romans 5 v 8: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Even if all the players I normally meet with are not there, the content of the study is still circulated to them so they can reflect on it wherever they are in the world!

Further chances and opportunities to get alongside new people arose unexpectedly during the week, and it highlighted again to me that God goes before us and prepares the way for encounters he wants to happen – even if it is just to talk about normal things. I am hugely encouraged and excited about the week in Austria.

The next event I’m attending is the Open de France at the end of June, so it will be nice to have a couple of weeks over the next fortnight where my work keeps me in the Glasgow area.

Thanks for all your support and prayers.

Kenny

Kenny Crawford, Logos Golf Ministries Chaplain to the European Tour.  You can follow Kenny on Twitter here.

ITALIAN OPEN – MAY 2018

The European Tour moved from Wentworth to Brescia, near the south of Lake Garda, for the Italian Open and it was great to be part of another one of the more high-profile events on the calendar. Fleetwood, Poulter, McDowell, Noren, Kaymer…many big names were there competing for a prize pot in equal value to Wentworth.

Crowds were predictably lower than that of England a week before, but the weather warmer and the ‘Gardagolf’ course stunning in places. It is the golfing home of Italy’s Matteo Mannasero.

 Wednesday was spent catching up with three golfers and a caddie for some Bible study and prayer. We looked at part of the story of Joseph in Genesis – what a great character to learn lessons and take inspiration from!

We looked at some of the different periods in his life between Genesis 37 – 41. Periods of prosperity and periods of prison, yet God was with him during both. Periods of pressure when he made the right call in difficult situations because of his close relationship with God. Periods of proclaiming when he picked his moments to publicly acknowledge God’s help in his life.

The players were encouraged by reflecting on these areas of Joseph’s story and there were several parallels able to be drawn to the golfing world as well.

One of the players also introduced me to a golf coach who is a Christian and who is keen to keep in touch. He won’t be present at every event, but will meet with us at those he does come to.

That’s five events I’ve attended now and I’m thankful for how they have gone in terms of continuing the work with the Christian golfers, and in terms of building relationships with other players and people. A lot of conversations happen over these days at events – some short, some long – and they are all valuable in different ways.

Tomorrow morning, I fly out to Vienna for the Austria Shot-clock Masters. I’m looking forward to it and would appreciate your continued prayer support; for safety in travel and for the chance to have more meaningful times.

Thanks very much, Kenny

Kenny Crawford, Logos Golf Ministries Chaplain to the European Tour.  You can follow Kenny on Twitter here.

 

 

 

DEEP PARK 36-HOLE CHALLENGE – MAY 2018

Deer Park 36 Hole Challenge – 21-22/5

I was really looking forward to playing this event due to the fact my game was in decent shape and out of all the venues across the country, this is the course I have performed best on over the years, even making a cheque last time out. My confidence was high and I felt that the only thing needed was to hole more putts so I made the decision to change my putter a few days before the event. In hindsight this was probably not the wisest decision.

On day 1 of the tournament I was paired with a younger player and an old boss and friend. As we got going in glorious sunshine, it was quite clear that the course had dried out a bit and was playing a bit firey. Balls were not stopping at all on the greens and it almost played like a links course. A completely different course to what we normally get and my old boss made a good point that this course probably plays easier when wet despite being a fairly long course.

It wasn’t till the start of the back 9 that I got to chat with the younger guy about the ministry but we had a good conversation about what I do walking down the long 11th fairway and at first he seemed a bit surprised about the role I was doing but then accepted it as I explained more. He is a young lad and I find more and more that young ones these days have much more on their minds than God and faith and this is a result of the constant bombardment of what the world tells us we need all the time.

My old boss, on the other hand, knows my story and the role I have but he does not go there at all. He has already agreed to come along to the Pro-Am in October and I hope this will eventually move things forward for him to talk to me about it more. I’ll keep praying.

As we played on, it was clear that my choice of putter was not the best decision of the week. With how firm the greens were it was very difficult to get the ball close to the hole and I was finding the longer putts hard to judge with the different stick. After hitting 13 greens in regulation I ended up taking 40 putts on the greens which effectively took me out of the tournament and left me very annoyed with myself as I didn’t hit the ball that bad. I just wanted to use the new putter and went with my gut instead of using my head. Never a good thing to do!

We had a quick drink before leaving and discovered that there were some high scores from some good players, which was probably a result of the firm conditions, but that just made me more frustrated because if I’d only used my old putter I know that I could have been sitting well inside the top half and made a decent finish on day 2. I knew what was required the next day.

I was out quite early on the second day and was playing with a couple of guys that have played with me several times at this course. Both of the boys know about the ministry and I have chatted to each of them on separate occasions at Deer Park so it was nice to consolidate the previous conversations.  Right away, one of them asked me about the Logos Pro-Am this year and even said he is looking to bring a team to it which was great. Not even off the 1st tee and a great chat before we played which really encouraged me.

With the old putter now back in the bag I felt more comfortable and I was more at ease on the greens from the off. Distance control was far better and I didn’t feel that apprehensive way on the longer putts like the day before. We all played fairly consistently and chatted quite a bit for most of the round which gave me the chance to go into a bit more detail about my role with the more inquisitive guy especially. This resulted in us swapping details so that he can be kept up to date with the Logos Pro-Am and it will be an added bonus if he can bring a team along.

Despite being disappointed with the way I played myself out of the tournament, I was pleased with the overall event and the additional results that came from it. I know I am not far away from playing really well and just need to make better choices both before and during the round. A decent second round was the result of the right choice of putter and a 7-shot improvement, but even 33 putts is still too many. There’s more work to be done in that department and still more seeds to be sown as well as cultivation.

Please pray for those mentioned in this report and for the right people to be drawn to the Logos Pro-Am this year.

In His service,

Vincent

Vincent Brown, PGA Professional on the Tartan Tour
Vincent Brown, Logos Golf Ministries Ambassador to the Tartan Tour
Contact Vincent by email vb@logosgolfministries.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

BMW PGA CHAMPIONSHIP, WENTWORTH – MAY 2018

BMW PGA Championship, Wentworth, 22 – 24 May

What a privilege to be able to spend the week at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, the first time I’ve experienced that event in person.

Mixed weather on Thursday and Friday was gradually replaced by scorching sun at the weekend, providing fitting conditions for Italy’s Francesco Molinari to win after finishing as runner-up to Alex Noren last year.

I arrived on Tuesday evening and stayed in Sunningdale, just five minutes away by car. Wednesday’s focus was purely on supporting some of the Christian golfers/caddies and at this event it worked out better to see them individually at different times, because the hype and busyness  is much more than that of regular tournaments. It was heartening, also, to have one of the golfer’s girlfriends meet with us (she is also a Christian, but does not usually attend events because of the long travel it involves).

In the days leading up to Wentworth, the words in this verse in Genesis 28 v 20 had been on my heart:

“Then Jacob made a vow – if God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking, and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I can return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord will be my God.”

Jacob had his flaws and sometimes his decision-making was questionable. But we mustn’t be too quick to criticise because that can sometimes be true of us as well! Here was a juncture in his life when he saw the big picture of God’s provision, leading and sovereignty so clearly, and when that sunk in, what was his reaction?….”The Lord will be my God.”

My encouragement to the golfers and caddies was that God would continue to provide, bless and lead them on their golfing “journey”, and that they should not lose sight of His hand guiding them on that journey, even during more challenging times. We concluded that making “the Lord my God” is most definitely worth it.

It won’t always be the case, but each of those players made the cut and two of them had top-20 finishes in what is the European Tour’s flagship event.

On Thursday, I helped as usual with the equipment survey and that continues to be a really useful time to be close again with the players and caddies. Later in the day, I crossed the path of a high-profile Scottish sportsman who was attending the event as a spectator. I had met him before through BBC work and it was good to share briefly with him the Christian aspect to my role on the European Tour.

I stayed on until the end of the event to fulfil duties for BBC Scotland and there’s absolutely no doubt my role in that capacity is only beneficial for my overall role on the European Tour, in terms of building relationships.

On Monday, I flew back to Glasgow and then on Tuesday I flew out to Milan before driving to Brescia/Lake Garda for three days at the Italian Open. It is great to have this opportunity.

While I am away my wife Amy is doing a faithful job looking after our two-year old daughter Jessica, so please pray for their ongoing blessing and protection, too.

Thank you for your support and prayers, of which I really am sincerely grateful.

Kenny

Kenny Crawford, Logos Golf Ministries Chaplain to the European Tour.  You can follow Kenny on Twitter here.

MINI TOUR, GLENEAGLES – MAY 2018

Mini Tour event at Gleneagles – 8/5/18

After a beautiful Bank Holiday weekend, it was disappointing to have an afternoon of misty rain and cool temperature of 11 degrees, but it was still nice to play the Queen’s Course at Gleneagles. No matter how many times I make the drive I’m always aware of the stature of the venue and just how vast it is. With 3 tournament courses, a Par 3 course and a golf academy, not even taking into account the numerous European Tour events and a Ryder Cup, that kind of says it all.

We all settled in the Dormie House for lunch before play and it was good to catch up with two younger guys that I had played with. They already knew my back story but there was little to mention about taking the conversations further than before.

As we moved down to the academy for some practise before play, I got to talking with a leading player about golf and the year ahead. He has been a top player on this tour over the past 10 years and is now thinking about getting a ‘real’ job as the opportunities to play are going down each year. He was not on the list of professionals I was planning to invite to the Logos Pro-Am, and as we spoke about the future I was in two minds to invite him along, but thought it best to stick to the list for now. Maybe this could change.

It was a later tee time of 3pm and I was playing with one of the two I chatted with at lunch and a player from Edinburgh. Both of these guys knew each other from Europro events, so they were chatting away quite regularly, but I did get the opportunity to speak with the Edinburgh player early on about my role and had a fairly positive reaction.

Both are not PGA professionals, so are not eligible to enter the Logos Pro-Am, but maybe in years to come we might need to have a non PGA event to allow other tour players to attend. Something to pray about going forward. There were a few other ‘bites’ throughout the round and this came in the form of how my own life has changed from my younger days which the boys could relate to better. They are just in their mid 20s so are still enjoying socialising which I know seems fun at their time in life.

We all played reasonably well despite the mixed weather and going into the back 9 all of us were under par. It’s always a really good test playing alongside quality players and keeping pace with them was really encouraging. I now feel my game is ready to challenge on the Tartan Tour which can only be positive for my work with Logos.

Heading down the last few holes it was clear that the guys were really pushing for more birdies and this is where I probably tried to protect what I had. Either way can work depending on the circumstances, but I was probably a bit over cautious and it made the difference between a top 10 and top 5 finish. Still a decent showing among a strong field of players but I know this can be improved. It’s always a good sign when your disappointed with a score in the 60s, but I could have been at least a couple of shots better.

Heading home, I began to think of my next event at Deer Park which is a venue that I normally play well at. I really pray for some good conversations at this event which will not only lead to more Professionals attending the Pro-Am, but to prompt those to ask me questions that they want to without feeling restricted.

Please pray for those mentioned in this report.

In His service,

Vincent

Vincent Brown, PGA Professional on the Tartan Tour
Vincent Brown, Logos Golf Ministries Ambassador to the Tartan Tour
Contact Vincent by email vb@logosgolfministries.com