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Ask a priest, pastor or preacher and they’ll tell you their decision to go into the ministry was one of the hardest they ever had to make. That’s the crossroads where I find myself — trapped, if you will, somewhere between the gates of heaven and the pits of hell. My selfish, carnal side tells me to stay on as Publications Director and Chief Bottle Washer here at TeeTime Golf Pass, a position which allows me the opportunity to write irreverent blogs like the one you’re reading now. But the other half of me is being pulled in a completely opposite direction — one with few rewards this side of glory.
I’ve been resisting this “higher calling” for several weeks, now. But the sleepless nights… the emptiness, the gnashing of teeth… the conviction… there’s simply no hiding from the truth. I really have no choice but to accept whole-heartily the godly task and responsibility that has been weighing on my soul.
Let me try to explain.
While playing golf with my eldest son recently, I found myself in a very compromising position — squarely behind a tall oak tree, on a sidehill lie, in the rough, and with a 180-yard carry over wetlands needed to reach the green. Jack, a lawyer by trade, assessed the situation clinically: “What you need right now, Dad, is a miracle.” What I got, instead, was divine inspiration to create the Miracle Golf Network (MGN).
“That’s the crossroads where I find myself — trapped, if you will, somewhere between the gates of heaven and the pits of hell.” -Bud Key
Whether or not the idea was predestined or of my own free will I’m not real sure. But I do know this: there’s a lot of golfers in the world who, when faced with a near-impossible golf shot, need my help and guidance.
Here’s what I envision. The MGN would set up an emergency telephone number (1-800-NEEDPAR, perhaps?) golfers could call or text for advice and encouragement. And since just about every player now carries their mobile phone with them on the course, help could be provided in real time just prior to the shot. For an additional charge (I mean, a tithe or offering), a MGN “professional” would stay on the line to offer post-shot counseling and assist the golfer in finding a MGN-approved support group.
The MGN hotline would be manned by a carefully selected staff of high-handicappers like myself — compassionate golfers familiar with having to pull off improbable shots from deep in the woods, over maintenance sheds, from two fairways over, and, in general, from places PGA teaching pros and TOUR players would not be qualified to address.
The MGN would be headquartered in a small chapel where the 11th, 12th and 13th holes converge at Augusta National, better known as “Amen Corner.” As an added service, golfers would be able to send a sleeve of golf balls (along with a check for $24.95 plus return shipping and handling) to be blessed in Rae’s Creek.
In time, the MGN would be expanded to include its own 24-hour cable channel (MGN-TV). The format would allow for live call-ins and video feeds from across the country.
[Wiffy Green in Pinehurst, NC, you’re on the air.]
“Uh, oh crap, is this the MGN? You just gotta help me, man. I’ve got to sink this 85-foot putt for double bogey to break 100. I don’t think I can do it.”
[Wiffy, I can call you Wiffy, right? Take a deep breath. Now… what’s that. Okay. Wiffy, we’re going to have to put you on hold for a few seconds. Do we have the satellite feed? Great. We’re now going live to Myrtle Beach, SC where Shorty Woods has just knocked his third consecutive tee shot into the water.]
It’s been said no good deed goes unpunished. And no less than the greatest evangelist of our time, Billy Graham, once confessed that the only time his prayers were never answered was when he was on the golf course (Mr. Graham later admitted it may have had something to do with him being a terrible putter). So perhaps the Miracle Golf Network isn’t such a good idea. After all, if what Hall-of-Famer Lee Trevino said is true and not even God can hit a 1-iron, all the prayers in the world won’t help Duffy McClubber in Kalamazoo, MI, miraculously hole out that bunker shot.