Alliance at Irvine Monday 3rd April & East v West Match Thursday 6th April 2017
With both of these days so close to each other I have combined the two reports into one. The last Alliance medal round was at Irvine and the East of Scotland V West of Scotland Match is always held at Bruntsfield Golfing Society Links, Edinburgh.
Irvine as always presented a stern test with yet more wind just for a wee change. I was paired with Frank and John who were decent single figure handicappers and I remembered them from about 20 years ago playing around the amateur circuit when I was just a lad. Frank remembered me right away but I had never really met John before, only knew his name from seeing it around back then. As we got going Frank asked me what I was up to these days which gave me a good chance to share about my life and where I was with my faith. The condensed version took about 5 minutes and I think I might have tried to squeeze too much in as I could see the shell-shocked look on his face, but he seemed to take it ok. John didn’t really say much, but again we had such strong winds that day so conversation was limited.
Each of us were playing in the East v West match a couple of days after so we used the round more like a bit of practise for that with the conditions worsening as the day went on. As we finished the round we were happy to get home and looked forward to a better forecast for Edinburgh. Not much else to mention about Irvine unfortunately but we take what we can get.
Every Alliance so far this year has been the windiest day of the week bar none and it has felt like a slog every time we have been out. Thankfully when we reached Edinburgh there seemed to be a calmer clear day on the horizon and this was the first day of the season that I had not needed to wear a waterproof suit. It was still chilly, but dry and playable, and I was very thankful for that. Before play I met with Crowwood Pro, Ian Graham and his father in the clubhouse. They were also playing for the West and I was able to sit and have a bacon roll and chat about how things were going. This gave me a good chance to talk about the family, work and the ministry to which they seemed quite intrigued. A good sharing time that I wasn’t expecting.
We play foursomes in the morning and then singles in the afternoon with one of our foursome opponents. My playing partner was Jim who is friends with Frank and John. Jim and I were playing against Colin and David from the East of Scotland and right away Jim started the conversation on the first tee. He asked me where I was playing my golf out of, hence the attachment, and this was just as half a dozen people gathered round us, including Colin and David, which allowed me to speak to about 6 people at that moment about my role with the ministry and my faith. It was quite a surreal moment but its amazing how these encounters come about. Jim then commented, “So your out spreading the word then.”
As we started our match Jim began to share with me about his family and how he introduced his children to their faith as he wanted them to have a choice as to what they wanted to believe in. I explained to him that I basically ran away from my faith for such a long time because I thought that was what I wanted then, but realised what a mistake I had made. Jim definitely gave me the impression that he has a ‘faith’ but is not quite sure of which denomination to trust. I spoke about how many times as Christians we can get lost in denominations when the real faith is in the title -CHRISTian, we believe in Christ. This is the basis of our faith in God and our salvation, and if we could just see past the cloudiness of denomination what a united and powerful people we could be. A good chat.
Jim and I managed to win our match in the morning and after lunch Colin and I played singles which gave us more time to converse. Colin didn’t really go there much regarding what I had said on the first tee that morning but spoke more about golf in general and his experiences in competitive golf. I managed to throw in a couple of small bites regarding the ministry during the afternoon, but there was no continued interest or questions so I left it alone until otherwise asked. After our match, which I lost on the last hole, we gathered in the Clubhouse for the presentation and I’m pleased to say the West retained the trophy, 13-11.
A long and tiring day playing 2 rounds but well worth it and I look forward to this match next year which gives some great opportunities due to the nature of the event. Please pray for those mentioned in this report and for God’s continued blessing on the ministry. His will, not mine.
The last time I played at Lanark was in the Alliance at the same time last year. It was a bitterly cold day with ground conditions verging on being unplayable, so it was nice to stand on the 1st tee with sun and blue sky, despite having to wrap up well due to a strong westerly wind. I was optimistic that the weather would calm down and we could have a nice dry day, how wrong I was.
My playing partner was Dominic, a former greenkeeper who played his golf out of Drumpellier and played off an impressive +2. As we started off I immediately got to share with him regarding my attachment as the first thing he asked me was what course I played out of. This can sometimes be a general query from amateurs to professionals but I prefer to think most of the questions put to me are a result of seeing ‘Logos Golf Ministries’ in black and white and that sparks an interest. It was fairly pleasant as we played the first couple of holes so this gave us a good chance to talk and we actually got through quite a bit regarding both our lives and work in the space of 20 minutes, even managing to hit some shots in between!
As we finished the 3rd hole, I would like to say I was surprised by the snow that hit us for around 5 minutes but I wasn’t. Living in Scotland gives the unique experience of unpredictable weather at any time and we saw everything possible from that moment. After the short blizzard we then had a few holes of 40 mph winds (with blue sky) followed by a mixture of rain and hail till we got to the back nine. There was then a very short lull for 1 hole where all the waterproofs had to come off as it was too warm and dead calm. The wind then got going again till the end of the round and we had to get suited up to defend against the driving rain coming in at a 45 degree angle until we got to the 16th. We didn’t get to chat much over this period apart from just encouraging each other to keep going and that we were ‘nearly there’. We said that quite a few times over the back nine.
We finished off with the Sun on our backs and just a slight breeze, the funny part being I’m sure I heard someone who just walked into the clubhouse saying, ‘Looks like its going to be a nice afternoon for a few holes’. Dominic made a fairly sharp exit as he had to head off but I wished him well and enjoyed his company and playing. He hopes to go through his PGA diploma soon and I will look out for him on the circuit should he do so. A good player and a nice lad and I hope I meet him again soon.
I was doing a lesson the other day with a family that I teach on and off and I got the chance to share with them regarding the work I do for the ministry and the Pro-Am. I hadn’t really thought about it before but I have been coaching them for a couple of years now and there had never really been an opportunity to talk like that. They are interested in attending the Pro-Am so it just goes to show how timing is very important and how the right time can make the difference.
No matter what is thrown at us, we keep going and trust that God will take us through, preparing us for the right times that lie ahead. Please pray for those mentioned in this report.
Falkirk is always a handy venue for me as it’s only 10 minutes along the motorway and normally I enjoy the layout as it is one of the flattest courses in the country, but today was very different due to severe weather that almost made the course unplayable.
After a few switch arounds with the pairings I was finally paired with Malcolm from Bishopbriggs.and we started at around 9.30am which was about 30 minutes behind schedule. Falkirk is normally a very dry course due to its sandy turf but I was very surprised at how wet the ground was under foot, even with the deluge of the previous night. As we stood on the first hole I was able to share with Malcolm of my attachment to Logos but he didn’t really say anything about it and nothing else was mentioned for the entire round. He either didn’t get the concept or had no inclination to speak about it any further which is fine, but that does not happen very often in my travels. The wind really started to get up early on and then there were some squalls on and off all the way which made life very frustrating, almost impossible to get into any rhythm.
There is nothing worse than dropping one shot after another in really bad weather as this really depresses you when you can’t see any way out or any chance of things improving. It’s almost like a ‘golfers depression’ and compounded when there is not much conversation because you really feel isolated out there. The only thing for it was to keep going and finish as best as I could. I was quite a few over par for the day and the worst part of it was at the end when Malcolm asked me what my handicap was. As I said before I thought he didn’t get what I was talking about at the start and I was right, even the part about me being a pro! (I definitely didn’t hit the ball that badly despite the conditions).
Now for the silver lining. I came across one of my fellow professionals and friend Craig Matheson, who works in the shop at Falkirk. We chatted briefly but Craig mentioned that he had seen the Logos Pro-Am on the PGA calendar and was impressed we had got something in place so soon I think. He said “That will be good exposure for you guys” to which I replied this could be the first of many events on the circuit eventually leading to a series of events each year. Any time I have chatted to Craig he has always been quite supportive of what I was doing and I feel he would be a good Professional to have at the event in September. Every cloud …
Please pray for those mentioned in this report and many thanks for your continued prayers for the future.
In his service,
Dundonald Links named as 2017 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open venue
Aberdeen Asset Management
I was in two minds whether to play at this event as I had not been well with a chest infection and my body was still trying to recover. After a very restless sleep I woke to a beautiful morning and although my mind was saying not to go my heart wanted to play. Dundonald is a future Scottish Open venue and a great test of golf so I did not want to miss it.
On arrival it was such a calm day without a cloud in the sky which is very unusual for the west coast. I was really looking forward to playing but as I got started I just didn’t feel right and my body was not working the way it should. My playing partners were Colin and John from Glasgow and I got the opportunity to share about the Ministry on the 1st hole as we walked up the fairway. John was intrigued about how I had come back to my faith and was working with Logos whereas Colin wasn’t too bothered. It’s funny how most people ask what course Logos Golf Ministries is attached to and when I give the full answer you can tell by the look on their face whether they are interested or just plain scared.
As we continued, the sun shone brightly in the vast stretch of uninterrupted blue and it was a sight to behold above a fantastic course. Any other time I would have been in my element but my body was not coping well and I had to resign myself to the fact that I was not in a fit state to continue playing. I forced myself to get to the 9th hole and then made my apologies to the guys as I retired. As I made my way back to the clubhouse, which thankfully was not far, I was annoyed that I was not able to finish but I think I was more annoyed that I did not listen to myself when I knew I really shouldn’t have played.
As I drove home I kept telling myself how stupid I was for going and what a waste it was. Even when I got home I started complaining to my wife about what a bad decision I had made and then she put things in perspective for me before I fell completely into that pit of self pity. She said “Yes, you probably shouldn’t have gone, but at least you tried and that’s all you could do.” It took a while to sink in but she was right. I gave it a go and it didn’t quite work- Ok, move on.
There is nothing worse than feeling sorry for yourself and it can be so easy to do. I am thankful I was able to manage the 9 holes and get the chance to share with the guys. I now look forward to the final event of the season at Preswick in November and the next step forward.
Please pray for those mentioned in this report,
In his service,
Vincent Brown, Logos Golf Ministries Ambassador and PGA Professional playing on the Tartan Tour
to contact Vincent email firstname.lastname@example.org