Logos Ireland National Golf Day Portstewart GC June 16
We had a super turnout of over 30 at this year’s event and there were a number of non-believers who had been brought along by Christian golfers, which is terrific. There was a super opening to do the talk at the end with several new faces there. A good time!
There are times when God surprises us! Out of the blue I received a phone call from Roy, a club pro in Belfast, whom I had never met, but of course knew of. Roy had been in touch with Graham Daniels from Christians in Sport at his church when they had been having a CiS day, and he rang me up and came along to Portstewart. So we had a long chat and we have discovered another believer in the pro golf ranks. Hallelujah!
PGA Club Pros’ Championship, Luttrellstown Golf Club, near Dublin June 12-13
Whilst this is simply an event where I take part in the survey, it’s one of the few tournaments outside the European tour SMS venture into. Over the last eight years there have been several players who have ‘come down’ from the ET and are now working as PGA club pros and playing in one of the seven regions in the British Isles. So it is good to come across them at this event and renew some previous friendships.
At this season’s tourney my focus was more on who was alongside me on the survey. In the evening I had the opportunity presented to give my testimony to them and tell them all about Logos. They asked questions and got full answers. They were also aware of the other believers on Tour. A good opportunity and as we know we have to ‘make the most of …’ from Colossians 4:5 ….
The Moray Golf Club sits right on the coast at Lossiemouth and has hosted a number of high profile amateur and professional events. It is a mixture of fair and testing holes and even on a calm day presents a test golf. What we were about to experience for the event was something nobody could have prepared for.
I managed to make it up for the Monday practice day and got to play 12 holes with a former European Tour player. It was a beautiful evening and as we played the first hole he asked me if I was playing much. This gave me the opportunity to briefly share with him regarding my role with Logos and how I was hoping to get out there more with the support of Christians in Sport going forward. He seemed quite intrigued but did not really mention much about it after that. We spoke about where we played our junior golf as he recognised my face, probably from the old Glasgow Golf Union days, and when I mentioned my home club of Sandyhills the penny dropped for him. I had played his brother in a match in 1991 at Cathkin Braes and he had been watching so the dots were finally joined. We were conscious of the time so instead of playing all the way round we jumped across to the final six holes. Having played the course before we did not really need to go all the way round and it was just nice to get a feel for the place again after 4 hours in the car getting there. When we finished, we wished each other well for the tournament and had no idea of what was to come on Tuesday.
The weather forecast was not good for Tuesday and Wednesday and as I stood on the 1st tee the rain was driving in from the water and showed no signs of letting up. I was playing with players from Panmure and Banchory. If we had been playing any other course it would have been unplayable before lunchtime but Moray has one of the best natural drainage systems I have witnessed, and the course, especially the greens, were playable despite the amount of rain that continued for the rest of the day. Every single golfer on the course was soaked to the skin and was tasked with completing 18 holes which reminded me of that cult Japanese show ‘Endurance’.
One of my partners decided he could not play anymore so left the course after 9 holes. The remaining two of us continued as we felt we had no other option and there was only word to describe the back 9 – horrific. The one positive was that we both chatted away to keep each other going and I did manage to share with him about my role and my faith earlier in the round. He didn’t really enquire about it on the back 9 but that would probably have been the last thing on his mind during the squall we experienced. We kept saying to each other, “Only 6 holes left”, “Only 4 holes left” and any finesse about playing the game had just gone out the window.
We were just managing to hold on to our clubs and get the ball going forward which was success in our eyes. I still could not believe how well the course held up to it, especially the greens, and felt as though we had achieved something special by just finishing the round. Despite our rounds of 81 and 82 respectively, we were sitting around the top 30 out of 90 players. The scores were the highest ever recorded for the 1st round and when former champions score 19 over and 17 over par for their rounds you can understand how impossible conditions were. Easily the most difficult time I have experienced on a golf course.
I had spoken to one of the organisers briefly on the putting green before play and he already knew about my role from speaking to him at last year’s Northern Open. He was more concerned about the future of the Northern Open due to the event not having a sponsor which has effectively halfed the normal prize money. I half jokingly said maybe we could eventually have a Logos Golf Ministries Northern Open next year depending on how things go. He seemed fine with it and it wasn’t till I said it I thought about how prominent that would be to be sponsoring the second biggest event on the Tartan Tour. Something to pray about.
I was playing with with the same partner for the second round and conditions had eased slightly but there was a lengthy delay in the morning as the rain had continued overnight and parts of the course had started to flood. Eventually we managed a two tee start and two of the holes had to be reduced in length as this was the only way the course would be playable and get everyone out in time. I managed to speak with another player just before the round and he seems keen to participate in the Pro-Am at Dundonald in September so we have almost all our Professionals on board and I just need to speak with a couple more to get our full compliment. A score of 3 over on the second round was not bad but I did leave a couple of shots out there and narrowly missed the cut by the same amount. It was disappointing not to make it through but over the whole I did look back and feel I did pretty much the best I could have done given the conditions. Also, It was a pretty tough cut mark with only the top 32 going through.
Sometimes circumstances can seem very unfair and in an ideal world everything would be in place for things to go the way we plan. Golf is one of those games that is not like that at all and making the best of what we are given definitely gives us a better perspective. Although disappointed not to make the cut, I left Lossiemouth with some confidence and an element of contentment as for the most part I did the best I could. I will take this forward with me and know it will help me in the future.
God is always at work and he always has a plan even if things don’t go the way we would like. I was on the reserve list for the Cawder Pro-Am last week and although I didn’t get to play due to a smaller field than usual, I had the opportunity to play with fellow Christian golfer and his friend. The former has booked a team in the Pro-Am and we have also been talking about his church golf day he is organising that would have Christians and non Christians attending sometime in August. These are exciting times for the ministry in Scotland and I look forward to the plans God has for us. Let’s be honest, If we knew everything that was going to happen it would all be a bit boring wouldn’t it?
Please pray for those mentioned in this report and for the future of the ministry.
Scandinavian Masters Barseback GC, Malmo, Sweden May 30 – June 01
I’ve often mentioned that some of the best contact times are when the other person can’t escape; shuttle bus, courtesy car, when taking refuge from bad weather … this week these came together on four separate occasions.
When leaving Copenhagen airport we had a 30-minute courtesy car run to the course and I spent that time chatting to a caddie from Stirling who has been on the Tour for five years. Then the gale force conditions on Wednesday gave two 3/4 hour chats with two caddies who between them have mustered 58 years on the Tour.
The shuttle bus took half an hour and one of those journeys was spent beside a player from Wales, who has in my time on Tour been back and forth on the EuroPro, Challenge and main circuits – he has ground it out and is still going.
The common thread during these four chats was how aware they all were of; my role on Tour [other than the survey], the amount of believers from South Africa and who they are, the Bible studies we hold and that life in general has more to offer than what they have … How right they are – four super conversations …. When people are on their own it’s amazing just how more open they are to talk as opposed to when in a group where their thoughts and words are guarded.
I also met up with an Asian player, and the only other believer there this week I was aware of …. Always good to get together on a 1 – 1 at these events, and his English is so good I can easily understand him, but not sure if it works the other way round?!
One other interesting and encouraging happening this week was through the social medium of What’s App. You’ll all be aware of a SA caddie who got saved over two years ago and is presently carrying for a player in Asia .. We keep in touch regularly by What’s App and he sent a message saying that his player was treating him badly on the course at this week’s tournament and he was ready to give it up … exact quote ‘I need advice I am really down’ so it was a joy to reply to him and the final sign off from him was ‘thanks, feeling much better now’ – I know social media can get a rough press but there are times when it is positive and when you can communicate instantly with someone in Japan!
Mind boggling …
Upcoming event; Club Pros’ Championship in Dublin – This isn’t really a Logos event but over the years when I have helped out with the survey at it, there has been an increasing number of players taking part whom I have come across on the Challenge and ET, with life on the circuit being so competitive then not everyone can stay in the top hundred or so and around 20 players will be in Dublin who now ply their trade at PGA club level – so we’ll see who the Spirit brings me across this coming week …
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
BMW PGA Championship Wentworth – May 24th & 25th 2017
I have often said of this event – which has become bigger and bigger over the years and is now worth a whopping €7 million – it can be something of a circus where doing any Logos-ing is lost in amongst the razzmatazz of all that goes on around the tournament.
I have to say that this time around, due to the Christians in Sport/Logos situation there were some meaningful meetings with those involved in this, which included SMS inc who have linked in with Logos these last eight years. Doubtless there will be a transition which shall be full of trials and errors, teasing out things and much prayer.
An old friend was there this week and had one of his chronological questions about how Herod seemed to have been in two or three places at one time in the gospels. Having explained to him that it is a title, opposed to just one persons name, he has gone away to read the passage where this ‘anomaly’ appeared, so we’ll await him next time around.
I did meet up with the two believers in the field there; Hennie who is playing on a medical exemption which gives him eleven starts only this season – He continues to work with the Living Ball Foundation in SA and other parts of Africa, a charity to kids, God moved him and others to start. Dean Burmeister brought his young family with him this week from SA, and he is looking forward to some good results through the summer. Both are well and enjoying God.
With the Manchester bombing happening this week, this was a topic of conversation which brought lots of opinions and evoked emotional responses. A photographer, several of the journalists in the media centre, caddies/players galore and and the Tour marked this with a minutes silence and the wearing of black ribbons and in the end I reminded all who proffered remedies for the perpetrators that;
“ .. each of us will give an account of himself to God.” Romans 14:12
Next week; the Scandinavian Masters in Malmo Sweden …
The Logos Golf Ministries Pro Am will be held at Dundonald links on Thursday 28th September and we are now officially open for team entries.
The price for a team of 3 players will be £350 and this entitles you to breakfast on arrival, 18 holes on the 2017 Scottish Open venue with an experienced PGA professional plus dinner. Please bear in mind this is a great price for the venue as most Pro-Ams cost around £450- £500 at your average members club.
For those who would like to book a team please contact me by email Vincent Brown at email@example.com or call 07590 588730 and I will then instruct you on the payment procedure. All payments are to be made before 31st May 2017 and prompt payment is appreciated.
There are limited places for this event so please enter as soon as possible to reserve your team. I look forward to welcoming you to Dundonald on the day and thank you for your support.
Vincent Brown, Logos Golf Ministries Ambassador to the Tartan Tour in Scotland
I was not sure whether this event was going to take place, especially after the 6 inch snow fall just before the weekend which did not look like it was going anywhere fast. I then found out it only seemed to be central Scotland that was affected and by Monday morning everything was clear again almost hitting double figures with the temperature. We do live in a very strange country with the severe changes our weather brings, but overall we do get away with our winters most of the time.
As I approached the hills at the top of West Kilbride on the west coast of the country I could not believe seeing a sheet of brilliant white snow covering the landscape before me. I had driven for an hour with no sign of rain or snow just to arrive at my destination thinking it was a wasted journey. As I crept through the town fearing the worst I was amazed to see clear views to Arran with no hint of snow whatsoever on the other side. It really was incredible how there could be such different scenes within half a mile and how pleasant it was on the other side.
I was paired with Neil and Roy from Kilmacolm and I recognised Neil from my outing at Lanark last year but had not met Roy before. We got going fairly sharp and when identifying our balls it didn’t really sink in with the guys that I had my attachment named on the golf ball. By the 4th hole Neil asked how I was getting on to which I reiterated my evolving role with Logos and the upcoming Pro-Am this year. I got the impression he did not really remember our previous conversation but it was nearly a year ago and sometimes I cannot remember last week never mind last year. Shortly after that Roy asked about my role as a professional which allowed me to expand on this as I did with Neil. Roy immediately asked me, “What denomination is that?”, which left me quite surprised. I responded by saying we were not a denomination but just Christian to which he replied, “So am I, I’m a Christian and attend my Church regularly”. Right away we had a connection and I knew this was not an accident. Roy and I agreed that sometimes we all get a bit of a ribbing about our faith and it is sad when people think we are off our head when really it’s the other way about. I emphasised that if they really knew what the truth was the last thing anybody would do would be to make fun of it. Anyway we are reminded that what we go through here will not compare to what awaits us, and a little bit of ribbing is not really that bad compared to what happens in certain other parts of the world to believers.
As we played round the sun came out with stretches of blue sky showing and although it was fresh the temperature seemed to be warming up. It was an enjoyable game despite the greens being a little bumpy and a birdie on the last for 2 over was probably a decent score for the day. We sat in the lounge for a drink afterwards and I mentioned to Roy about the Pro-Am again so we will keep in touch and he hopes to attend the day at Dundonald in September. It may not be long before the teams for this event are filled which is very positive considering how early it is in the season.
So often we see doom and gloom on the horizon and it’s only by pressing on through that we experience the blessings God has for us. He can change the things in our lives that may seem daunting and allows us to see past the worries that hold us back. Please pray for continued support for the ministry this year and beyond.
In his service,
Vincent Brown, Logos Golf Ministries Ambassador to the Tartan Tour
Tshwane Open Pretoria CC Sth Africa February 27 – March 04, 2017
After a week of ‘British’ weather that reduced last weeks event to three rounds, upset every timetable and filled the reservoirs of SA to overflowing, things were back closer to the norm with the Pretoria tournament where the sun shone and the heat returned ….
We were able to plan for a bible study on the Wednesday, things have progressed from 7am starts to 8am and now it’s 1pm – good sense prevailing … sadly three of the players and two caddies who’d usually come along missed getting into the Tshwane Open as they failed to qualify from the Tuesday Pre-Qualifier so they weren’t around on Wednesday …
I had managed to meet up with our believing Chinese friend Ashun Wu on Tuesday and it was great to see him come along to the Bible Study …. his English is very good, he doesn’t think so and admittedly struggles to read English but he can follow on his Chinese bible and contribute verbally, so everyone was delighted to see him and it was good for him to make some new friends as life can be a little isolated for Ashun with so few from his part of the world on the ET …
There were eight in all at the study and, as they don’t mess around in SA, the group have been studying Revelation no less! So we looked at the chapters on the seven churches and the history and message for today from it, a good study …
We particularly dwelt on – Revelation 3:20“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”
Reminding ourselves that although this is mostly used as a gospel verse to unbelievers to allow Jesus into their lives, it is in fact spoken to us children of God – much reflection followed …
I did manage to meet up with Jake Roos who was one of those who missed out in the PQ, he was at the course on Wednesday morning before driving home (14 hours) to Cape Town, so we had a profitable 1 – 1 time .. .
This brings an end to the SA and ‘long haul’ part of the season, four events this time around my schedule is set for the rest of the year … I greatly appreciate that many of you ask for this so as to be able to pray ahead ..
I continue on “together with the prayers of God’s people ..” Revelation 8:4 and in His grace and power ….
After my last visit to this course last year I was looking forward to returning and enjoying my first outing of 2017 in much calmer conditions. Playing with a 40mph crosswind at this venue previously was not pleasant, but a calm breeze was blowing on arrival and I was eager to get going and post a good score to start the year off well.
I was playing with my Irish friend from Prestwick, Adrian and David Stein from Ranfurly Castle. Adrian was well aware of my attachment from our last outing but I had not met David before who is one of the professionals at Ranfurly. As we got going I immediately got chatting to David who had mentioned he saw my name around over the past couple of seasons and also wondered about Logos Golf Ministries and what that meant as an attachment. Great introduction and proof that many of the guys who I have not spoken with yet will have the same questions and that many conversations await, especially with the Logos Pro Am in black and white on the PGA roster.
As we walked along the second hole I got the chance to go into things in a bit more detail and explained about my role as an ambassador and someone who can be approached to discuss anything regarding the Christian faith without fear of views being forced on anyone. He seemed pleasantly surprised and agreed with the concept which is always positive. I have yet to experience someone completely disagreeing with what I am doing but I know there will be some opposition, as there always is eventually when it comes to Christianity. I will continue to trust that God has the situation in hand and no matter what comes against us, he has the answer and the victory.
We all played fairly solid for the rest of the round and although not much else was said regarding the Ministry or the Pro Am, we all got on well and I suppose it shows that the guys were quite comfortable with me and that is important when laying foundations for the future. I felt for David on the 14th hole as he was going along at about level par and hit what we thought was a decent drive. As we got down to where his ball should have been there was no trace and very strange not to find the ball. As play was tightly packed behind us he chose not to go back which effectively ended the round for him. Very unfortunate but I wish he had gone back to play another ball as he still could have returned a decent score. He was probably still in shock not to find the ball, as we all were, and made a rash decision without really thinking it through, but he did not want to hold play up anymore. I’m sure if it was an Order of Merit event he would have went back and played on.
On completing the round I managed to finish in 3rd place with 74. Not bad for the first round of the year on a challenging course as always. It was just nice to not be blown off the planet this time and keep the ball in play for a steady round. Hopefully signs of things to come with performance, and especially colleagues noticing the Logos name more and more this year. It is so easy to give up when feeling despondent but God has called us to press on and he rewards those who are faithful in that respect.
Please pray for those mentioned and the future of the ministry in this exciting year ahead.
In his service,
Johannesburg Open @ Gauteng South Africa February 20-26, 2016
You’ll know the saying that some things come back to bite you, well … my comments that I was being made to go to SA and face sunshine and 30-odd degree temperatures, came back to bite and then some … There was rain, rain, thunderstorms and then more rain … you’ll get the idea; the players were on the course, back, out again times beyond counting ….
These conditions have good and bad points for me; it does mean that we can’t arrange a Bible Study as those who were pre-qualifying missed their intended day, and with the course being unplayable on Monday and Tuesday the players needed to practice as much as they could Wednesday [and this is a two course event] so all is tricky to put it mildly …. The good point; due to rain the players/caddies were in the clubhouse much more than normal so I was able make contact with them coming to me rather me wandering around looking for opportunities …
I was able too meet up 1 – 1 with; Mike Vlismas [media], Alex our new born caddie, Peter Karmis [player and Greek bible scholar] … and there was of course our old friend Reggie who was his usual bullish self with his desire for facts, times and visible proof … reminded me of Titus Ch 3 V 9,
‘But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.’
Another player I came across for the first time was, Ryan Fox [NZ] whose wife helps out with the survey >>> He was trapped beside me in the shuttle from the course to the hotel and so it was good to chat to him for the 25 minute journey …Also player Rob Dinwiddie with whom I had a similar chat in another shuttle ride, do put them on your prayer list …
You’ll also be aware of the saying that it is a small world, and on Sunday I had the opportunity to do a 10 minute interview on my Logos role at the church of Danny Marshall, whose family belong to my home church High Kirk in Ballymena, here in Joburg then spend the afternoon with him, his wife and new baby daughter and enjoy Sunday lunch with them …
Off to the Tshwane Open this coming week in Pretoria, where I hear the sun may well come out … Lotion at the ready!