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Lessons from Augusta National––From Being Encouraged to Discipled?

I fell in love with the game of golf in 1992 when Fred Couples' ball hung up in the hill between the bunker and the water on the par 3 4th at Augusta National. As I remember, he holed the ball from the bank for a birdie and went on to win the tournament. I was amazed. He was even older than I was at the time. I thought if someone that old could do something so amazing, I could learn to play the game. I did and I'll forever be a fan of Couples for being the one who encouraged me, unknowingly, to step out of my comfort zone to learn the game. (He's back. His game looks great and I can't wait to see what he can pull off over the weekend!)

 

In 1999, I had tickets to a practice round to the Masters for the first time. We followed Payne Stewart and two other greats around the course for most of the front nine. On the par 3 3rd, Payne's ball was in the front, right bunker, probably 10 feet below the elevated green. As he stood in the bunker, trying to jump high enough to even see the green, one of the other golfers, as I remember it was Tom Watson, walked to the edge of the green, looked down on Payne, and said, "$10 says you can't hole that from there." Payne's demeanor changed, he looked the shot over a little more closely, and holed the ball. The crowd went wild, something that doesn't often happen in the practice round, and I was caught up with how these golfers could turn up their games when they wanted. That year, Payne barely made it through the tournament, taking home just over $9,000 in winnings. He went on to win the US Open that year in some of the most amazing golf I can remember and then died in an airplane crash in October. I'm thrilled I got to be there to see Payne in person, and I couldn't help but take away from that year two reminders. One, there's always an opportunity to do your best, even when it doesn't seem to matter, and two, you never know what the future holds for us.

 

This year, I tuned in to watch my favorites, Phil Mickelson and Fred Couples (you know, the old guys) and fell in love with some young players who set the course on fire––Rory McIlroy, Ricky Fowler, and Jason Day. McIlroy has probably the most beautiful, natural swing I've ever seen. Fowler has discovered the importance of matching his shoes to his belt (day 2 they were bright blue)––what we women refer to as accessorizing correctly. But Jason Day and his caddie Col Swatton most made me think. Swatton was described as Day's "caddie, coach, and life-long friend and mentor." Watching them, I could see the relationship that had developed over the year. One announcer said that Swatton had helped raise Day after his father died.

 

Coach, caddie, life-long friend and mentor. Can there be any better description of a discipler? As his coach, Swatton has spent untold hours at Day's side, teaching him, refining his moves, encouraging him in the tough times, and celebrating the victories. As his caddie, Swatton walks beside him every step of the way, providing advice, encouragement, keeping him calm, charging him up, investing in him, but carrying his baggage and knowing when to back up and get out of the way when it's time for Day to do his thing. 

 

Imagine how much of a difference we could make as disciplers if we could invest our knowledge and experience, our time, and our energy to someone who wants nothing more than to learn from us as they join us on the journey of discipleship. Is there anything that feels better or brings more true joy in life than to have that kind of relationship with another believer? I can't imagine what it would be . . . 

 

Margie Williamson

Community Manager

 

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Comment by Margie Williamson on April 10, 2011 at 7:27pm
Watched the final round today. Rory McIlroy completely fell apart and looked so alone out there. Jason Day had a few though moments, but had Swatton with him every step of the way. By the middle of the back nine, they were laughing and enjoying the moment together. What a beautiful picture of what a relationship between mentor and mentee can look like.

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