Links Daily Devotional

How Not to Mark Your Ball

“Learn not the way of the nations, …for the customs of the peoples are vanity. A tree from the forest is cut down and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so that it cannot move. Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field, and they cannot speak; they have to be carried, for they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good.” (Jeremiah 10:1-5, ESV)

Do you have any golf superstitions? Some tour players do, and I know many amateur players who do as well.

Isn’t it amazing that I can ascribe the making of a putt to the color of the marker I happened to use?They can be as obvious as wearing a particular color on Sunday to as subtle as using the same coin—and only that coin—to mark your ball on the green. (I suppose wearing the same underwear for an entire tournament would be even more subtle, but no one I know admits to that.)

How do those superstitions start? When I feel one taking root in my mind I know it is because I had some success—or some failure—doing a particular thing, and I either want to repeat that success or eliminate that failure. Isn’t it amazing that I can ascribe the making of a putt to the color of the marker I happened to use? I’m smarter than that, but I feel the tug.

So I get that the people to whom Jeremiah prophesied, and indeed people throughout history, have turned away from the one true God to idols. Read today’s scripture passage one more time and, if you’re a golfer, see yourself on the golf course.

The last line is particularly powerful: “Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good.” That exact same thing is true of the quarter you mark your ball with. Having George Washington looking at the hole (something I like to do) will not make the putt go in, and marking it with George looking away won’t make it miss.

And yet we persist, because once we made a putt, or missed a shot, or had a good tournament, and we associate that with some random thing we did. How silly.

It makes me wonder if the house of Israel worshipping idols all started on a golf course just outside of Jerusalem.

Lewis Greer
July 11, 2017
Copyright 2017 Links Players International
The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday-Friday at www.linksplayers.com.