Now that we have entered October the ‘winter’ golf events start to take place and I was looking forward to going to Dundonald again despite really struggling with my game. It’s difficult when you get quite close to playing well and then everything seems to just go backwards but there is a reason for that and more than likely I will have to break it all down and get back to basics. Never the less I was still happy to go along and have a chat with some guys who I have made friends with through the Alliance.
I was playing with an old amateur friend, who was a really good scratch golfer back in the 90’s and who I played a bit of Alliance golf with last year. He and I go back as far as the Glasgow County team of that time and he’s a very down to earth honest bloke. As we got going the weather wasn’t looking great but we just got on with it regardless and chatted away for most of the front 9. He could see I was struggling and noticed that my timing was quite a bit out despite the swing looking fairly solid. That’s the good thing about playing with a good player who knows your game as they can spot things you don’t normally do quite quickly. As we discussed the mechanics of the golf swing we also were chatting about the Logos ProAm and the work I’ve been doing this past year. He knows I’m a Christian and is happy to chat about my role as an ambassador but you always know with him when you’ve said enough and you leave it there. As we got into the back 9 the light rain became a little bit stronger and made it quite difficult to keep the equipment dry. There were a lot of punchy shots to keep control of the club and this suited me as I wasn’t confident enough in my full swing to trust it. I’m going to have to break it down on the practise ground over the winter and get back to the rythmn that keeps my game consistent – tempo.
I enjoyed my time with him and even though we had another wet and windy day I was pleased to get the opportunity to catch up with him again. He asked what time I was playing in the next event and I suppose that’s a positive that he wants to play with me again. As we handed our cards in I came across another of his friends and my Alliance foursomes partner. He and I have played quite a bit in team games for the Alliance and he was asking how I was getting on, in particular the Logos ProAm at Archerfield. I mentioned I was still looking for some teams and he said that even if he couldn’t get a team he would be happy to come along as an individual. I have to admit I wouldn’t have thought that would have been his thing but good to know he’s thought about it after our chats this past year.
When things are not going as they are supposed to and the frustration builds over time, it is very difficult to see the bigger picture. We are blinded to the fact that it’s not going our way and we’re not happy about it. The hardest thing is to ask ourselves what we can learn from the experience and what can make us stronger by going through it. I thought my game was just going to keep improving without keeping an eye on the foundations and the basics of what I needed to play consistent golf. I was getting ahead of myself and have learned a very humbling lesson. We need to constantly maintain everything about ourselves as it’s so easy to just forget about smaller things thinking they’re ‘fine’. Complacency is one of the biggest problems in our Christian lives and one that can lead to so many other issues. I pray against it for us all that the smaller issues don’t turn into bigger problems.
Please pray for the Logos ProAm and for those mentioned in this report.
In his service,
I travelled to Evian to represent Christians in Sport while partnering with Global Golf Ministries to do a bible study on Tuesday 11thSeptember at 4.45pm. The Ladies European Tour kindly put a notice about the bible study in the tour newsletter and so every LET competitor was aware that I was attending the event to do the bible study.
I was able to connect with many players and staff while having good discussions and building vital relationships.
Two people turned up for the bible study and we discussed the religious landscape of France and I asked the question in light of the sermon on the mount are you more of a “sweet” or “salty” person? Interesting conversation on Matthew 5:13 and we challenged one another to step out and do something different to build some new relationships with non- Christian players out on tour. We prayed for one another and for the tour and opportunities to share the gospel. Later that evening a bumped into one of the players who was going to attend the bible study and she apologised for missing it but invited me to attend a small group study with 6 players the next morning.
We had a great study looking at marriage from John Stott’s study book on the sermon on the mount. It was a great morning discussing Matthew’s gospel on divorce, oaths and covenants in regard to marriage. Everyone was honest and open about how we as Christians need to be different in this regard and be counter- cultural in how we approach our relationships with the opposite sex and marriage. Then the group prayed for one another and some of us continued the discussions for another 10 minutes. It was a really fruitful hour spent together studying God’s word and I was impressed with the groups insight and maturity.
It was an encouraging time and great to see players wanting to know more of him and study his word diligently. Next stop Spain in November.
If this event had been just a few days earlier I don’t think my ankle would have been up to it as there was still a bit of swelling from my last outing at Musselburgh. Thankfully, I rested it as much as I could despite the jobs of every day life, and made the decision to play after finally getting to hit some balls the weekend before the event. Not the best preparation but I felt it important to attend this one even though Storm Ali was set to hit the west coast on those very days!
I was playing with fellow pros I’ve played with before so it was nice to have a group that may give me another opportunity to share and that proved the case. A very windy start proved difficult to settle into a rythmn and this was especially evident on the greens. I was not hitting the ball badly but I was struggling with the short game due to lack of play and the strong winds. This day however was not about my game and I knew this travelling down. I just felt I needed to be there knowing I probably wouldn’t play that well.
One partner I was playing with is normally not noted for chatting that much but I was surprised when he finally enquired more regarding what I do. This has been a long time coming and after quite a few times playing with each other I got to give him the full rundown about my role, faith and the Logos ProAm on the 8th hole. A really positive chat and worth coming down for. Shortly afterwards he then got his bit in about definitely having a slot in the ProAm which I suppose is good due to the fact that he came last year and still wants to be involved again. We did get into a conversation about how people can offend others with what they say and do and he commented that people need to be careful around me especially because of my beliefs which at first I wasn’t quite sure what he meant but then understood. I then responded by saying that I am not offended by anything anyone might say against Christianity as it’s not me they are offending. I think I got my point across.
The boys were playing well despite the increasingly strong winds and he especially putted really well. I on the other hand did not and had far too many 3 putts on the back 9 due to lack of confidence on the greens and what I call a ‘cloudy head’. This makes it very difficult to focus and all the negatives tend to get exaggerated in difficult conditions. I would probably put this down as one of the worst rounds of the season but I kept going without getting annoyed as there was a greater purpose here. I know I will get to where I need to and I trust what I have been working on but can’t really expect much when I haven’t been able to put much in over the past couple of weeks. (Definitely thinking about a putting lesson though to give me more focus on the greens after the last month or so.)
After finishing I sat in the locker room and felt as though I had just been battered by a heavyweight for quite a number of rounds. I could’ve felt sorry for myself but I refused to do that because it serves no purpose, and the only sensible thing to do is to make a plan going forward and I had already started to form one in my mind before leaving for home. Just before I left I went to the shop to say hello to a friend and we had a good chat about the difficulty of the day but he also asked about how the ProAm was shaping up. This gave me a good opportunity to share about how we were still a bit short on ladies teams so he then kindly offered to see if any of the ladies at Prestwick would be interested with him being the team Pro. Great timing and continually praying for these kind of conversations to come to fruition.
We wished each other well and I left Prestwick quite pleased despite my worst round for some time. Everyone was saying that the full brunt of the storm was due to hit the following day so looked highly unlikely we would get to play the second round on Wednesday. That proved correct and for the first time I’ve ever known, the PGA cancelled the 2nd round the night before. I think the weather warnings had something to do with that and no point in forcing people to travel when there could be a risk to life. It’s not often common sense prevails these days but glad to see it.
There are more important things than golf but I will return from my injuries stronger and become the witness God needs me to be on the Tartan Tour. Please pray for the right teams to come into the frame for the remaining ProAm slots and for an increased Logos presence in Scotland
In his service,
Throughout the season, any time I asked a player to recommend a tournament to bring my family to, 99% of the time they said the Portugal Masters. So that’s what I did, and it gave the visit to Vilamoura a special dimension, in that I had my wife Amy and daughter Jessica (2) with me.
Over the last few months I’ve mentioned many names and described several scenes to Amy, therefore having her and Jessica present to meet some of those people and understand the look and feel of the tournament set-up was good. It was important to us both.
At various points from Wednesday to Sunday, we’d be at the course for a couple of hours and often crossed paths with people for chats. Having the family with me put a different but nice slant on many of the conversations.
Away from the course, we also bumped into some golfers and their families at Vilamoura marina where most gathered for dinner in the evenings. On the Friday night we shared a lovely meal with one christian golfer and his fiancé, and that was a special time of fellowship.
After the tournament we stayed on for a couple of days holiday, and we managed to keep those days golf-free!!
Next week I’ll have what looks to be my penultimate LOGOS/CIS golf trip of 2018. It’s in my native Scotland at the Dunhill Links Championship – split between St Andrews, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie. Looking forward to it!
Thanks again for your continued support and prayers.
Since the Scottish PGA Championship has been reduced to a field of only 66 players there is definitely a feel that the tournament has lost something. Although qualifying is not really that difficult due to the scores required only coming down by a shot or two, it does make a mental difference when there are only 12 places available and it used to be more than double that. For the biggest tournament of the year it really should have the biggest field and I think trying to make the nations flagship tournament exclusive has the opposite effect of what was intended. Hopefully the powers that be can see this over the past years and change it before its too late.
As always, the weather at Crieff was very pleasant and I was looking forward to the day. I was paired with a partner from Fereneze and one from Carnoustie, and although I had played with one before, I had never come across the other. As usual, I was announced on the tee as representing Logos Golf Ministries and thought this might have sparked an interest. Sadly this was not the case and even when I tried different avenues of a way in there was no real interest. My partner did not say much and he just focused more on his game with a few indirect chats to there other partner and myself. Not much you can do in this respect and as in a few cases before I just had to be the example during the round.
I got of to a good start and was swinging really well. After the first 6 holes I was 2 under par and to be honest I was thinking about going low and winning. I have been working quite hard on my game recently and I could see the results of this for the first part of the round. I got too excited too early though and forgot the golden rule of one shot at a time. By the 12th hole I was 2 over. I hadn’t played badly but just got ahead of myself which is very dangerous in this game. Still in with a chance I thought if I finished the final holes in 1 or 2 under then at least a score of 1 over par for the round would have been enough to qualify. I was swinging well but was a bit disgruntled at the fact I had let the round slip with basic course management. I knew 2 over wasn’t enough so needed to attack the final holes. Still hitting the ball well I was just too aggressive with the putter and a couple of 3 putts later I had played myself out of the tournament. From thinking about winning to finishing outside the top 25, it was a bitter pill to swallow and something that will need to be addressed in reflection.
As I handed my card in and walked from the Clubhouse I scanned the car park and noticed a fellow pro who played in the Logos Pro-Am last year. We chatted for a bit and he mentioned that he really struggled and was not playing well. It reminded me that I still hadn’t asked him to come to the Pro-Am this year again and he was one of the names of my list of pros to invite back. He said that he was away to Portugal that week so could not make it this year but was very complimentary of the event last year and said he would be happy to support future events in the coming years. Something positive to leave on and I will definitely keep him in mind for 2019.
I hate driving home thinking what could have been, along with the should’ve done this or should’ve done that, but it’s hard not to when the opportunity was there. I know I will get there as I’m too close not to but I will keep trusting God to help me learn both on the course and off. I absolutely believe the hardest thing in this life is to wait our turn and be patient as we have so many emotions that can override what we should do. Allowing ourselves to be guided by the Spirit can seem difficult but we must continually look in this direction to get to where we need to be. I continually pray for the opportunity to share my faith and the ministry on the Tartan Tour as that is the most important thing and the reason why I’m out there.
Please pray for those mentioned in this report and for the Logos Pro-Am at Archerfield.
In his Service,
I’ve always enjoyed playing Musselburgh and this is probably one of the unsung gems of the east coast that gets lost within the names of Gullane, Muirfield and North Berwick, to name just a few. A previous Open qualifying course that is probably the fairest test of golf you will find and it has such a variety of holes where no two are the same. What you see is exactly what you get and made all the better with the blue sky overhead.
As I finished practising and headed to the tee I met my playing partners. I had recently played with one of my partners at the Scottish Open qualifying with not much conversation so was hoping for a bit more this time. The first few holes were promising with both guys chatting about their season so far and I tried to throw in a line about the ministry but didn’t really get an bites as such. As we continued through to the back 9 both boys had a couple of struggles, especially one who got a bit annoyed a couple of times but managed to keep calm enough to get through it without damaging anything. I remember so often when younger snapping the odd shaft due to frustration which really does not solve anything apart from cost money and stress you out. Now I always try to stay ‘flatline’ no matter if I make a bogey, par or birdie. It keeps everything more consistent and you feel better no matter what. As we neared the end of the round I chatted a little bit more to my partner regarding his journey as he came from the other side of the country and how it must be challenging having to travel so far for every event. I mentioned how we are having Logos events at different locations to make it easier for certain people to attend and I think he got the idea without enquiring too much more.
After not playing my best on the first day I decided to go home and hit some balls and realised that I was not getting to the correct position at the top of the swing. I’d been getting a bit cramped in my backswing and knew I needed to work on some mechanics before the next day or else I would be struggling again. I really wanted to post a sub par round for some confidence going into the last part of the season and feel it’s overdue. After having a decent session I was walking down the path from the practice ground and rolled my ankle on a tree root which did not feel good. After a few minutes I walked it off and it didn’t seem that bad at the time so just left it till morning. That didn’t help as I woke up to find my foot slightly swollen and tight the next day.
I wasn’t even thinking about withdrawing from the event as I could still walk about and thought if I kept moving it then it should be ok for the round. I got in the car and drove to Musselburgh fully expecting to play the second round. Hitting balls felt ok but I was struggling to make the full turn I normally make which didn’t help. I still thought I could get it round and after a few moments I decided to give it a go. I was playing with a partner from Prestwick and Edinburgh and this was one of the reasons I wanted to come as I knew I was playing with them. The moment we met up at the putting green we got chatting about the ministry and the ProAm. It was a really good chat and he even offered to try and get some ladies teams involved which was a great encouragement. As we teed off and made our way down the first few holes I knew right away that I probably shouldn’t have played but kept going anyway. I lasted 6 holes before I had to retire and I could feel my ankle had swollen up a bit more. After apologising to the boys for having to leave, he reminded me to contact him with all the details so he could forward this on. Really frustrating to not finish the round but I probably shouldn’t have started it in the first place and disappointing not being able to complete the tournament. I was pleased if only to come and catch up with Neil and it was worth the effort, but looks like a week of rest on the ankle and then I’ll see how it is for Prestwick St. Nicholas in a couple of weeks.
Please pray for those mentioned in this report and the Logos ProAm.
In his service,
After a little mystery tour of the Scottish Borders, I finally found West Linton Golf Club which I had never played but only heard about. I was slightly apprehensive of playing the course ‘blind’ but it was not practical to get a practice round over the past few weeks and I just had to get on with it.
I was playing my first round with Robert and Jordan. I always like it when the club starter asks about Logos as they need to announce this on the tee and normally the first thing is to get the pronunciation right. This always leads to a question that gives me a chance to explain and the 1st tee is as good a place as any. I even got to talk a bit about the Pro-am and he asked me how much it was for a team so possibly another booking to add to the growing list.
We all got off to a good start and it was a very comfortable group. Jordan was asking me about my conversations over the past years and had mentioned that his dad read some of my reports. He asked me about sharing my faith and I explained that I am more than happy talking about it but it has to be in the right way and unless someone asks me about it I won’t force it as we have to be very careful these days not to say the wrong thing, especially with the PGA. He seemed very interested in the ministry and I was happy to offer him a spot as one of the professionals to come along to Archerfield. Robert didn’t ask too much more about the ministry but I know after the Pro-Am this will change for a few of the guys.
We all got pretty wet due to some strong winds and showers but over the whole managed to get it round in a fairly respectable score despite the conditions. I hate 3 putting any green and to do it on the last 2 holes for 73 was disappointing despite the birdie putts being extremely difficult. Some positives to take home and a target of beating my first round score for day 2.
I was paired with Stuart and Michael for my second round and although I had never met Stuart before, Michael and I knew each other from last year. Michael has never really asked much about the ministry and there was not much change this time either, however Stuart commented during the front 9 that I would have to explain Logos to him as he had never heard of it before. A really good chat which linked in with the Pro-Am and he seemed interested that we had grown our event since last year. I explained we would like to have a few events over the country to which he said he tried to get a couple of events going where he is up north and its becoming harder all the time. A possible opportunity up North which would link in with the vision of East, West and North Events? Praying on. Something amusing to share was when Stuart hit his tee shot on the last and the ball ended up on the other side of the green after a very good shot into the heart of the green. His comment was, ‘Jesus Christ’ and then he turned to me and said, ‘Oh I’m sorry, didn’t mean to offend you’. I wasn’t offended but appreciated the thought.
Despite staying a bit drier today the conditions were still wet and windy and it felt more difficult to score. I was hoping for at least a 70 or 71 but had to settle for another 73, this time though holing a 5 footer to prevent another 3 putt at the last. It is such a sloping tricky green for those who don’t know it.
I suppose a fair result from West Linton but will work on my lower body movement over the next couple of weeks as I felt a bit static towards the end of the second round with it. There is always something to work on. Please pray for those mentioned in this report and for the Logos Pro-Am at Archerfield.
In his Service,
Vincent Brown, PGA Professional on the Tartan Tour
Vincent Brown, Logos Golf Ministries Ambassador to the Tartan Tour
Contact Vincent by email firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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 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 Crawford, Logos Golf Ministries Chaplain to the European Tour. You can follow Kenny on Twitter here.
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 Brown, PGA Professional on the Tartan Tour
Vincent Brown, Logos Golf Ministries Ambassador to the Tartan Tour
Contact Vincent by email email@example.com