RTJ Shoals Devotional - Carlton Chambers

Jul 07 2015
 carlton chambersI recently finished reading a terrific book entitled "Getting to Scratch." I would like to share some of the book content with you.

Bobby Nichols won the PGA Championship in 1964 held at the Columbus CC in Columbus, Ohio, hometown to Jack Nicklaus. He won by three strokes over Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. A reporter asked Bobby what the best lesson he’d ever received was. Without hesitation, he said the lesson had come from his father and it was this: "Five is better than six, six is better than seven, seven is better than eight."

And if you asked Kevin Na about that, he might add that 16 is better than 17. At the 2011 Valero Texas Open Kevin was one under par through the first eight holes not far from the lead. Teeing off on the par-4 9th he appeared to have his game under control, but he pushed is drive right and into the trees. It was a dense wooded area with lot of branches. Na had to climb over and through the undergrowth and fallen branches to even get to his ball. Once there, he had no swing at all and had to declare an unplayable lie. His only option was to return to the spot from which he last hit, which was the tee. Now hitting his third shot off the tee, Na pushed it right again into almost the same place as his first drive. This time he tried to hit it from the dense woods. And it got worse from there. Ultimately Na escaped the woods, got to the green, and two putted for a score of 16.

Na is not alone in making a double-digit score. John Daily had an 18 on the par-5 6th hole at Bay Hill in 1998, which is the “scoring record” on a single hole on the PGA Tour since 1983. He did it by repeatedly (and unsuccessfully) trying to fly his drive 320 yards over water to a C-shaped green. Tin Cup in real life.
The host at that Bay Hill Invitational, Arnold Palmer, who himself once made a 12 in tournament play on a par-5. That was at the Los Angeles Open in 1961, and when reporters asked Palmer how he made 12, he famously answered, “I missed my putt for 11.”

That answer points out something else Na, Daily, and Palmer have in common, along with many other double-digit pros: they kept trying to get the ball in the hole. They cared about how many strokes they had on each hole. Remembering that from the 1st tee shot to the last putt is one thing that consistently separates those who shoot low scores from those who don’t.

This idea of “caring too little” usually happens where we have “given up” on a hole, or even a round due to a bad shot. It is not a pretty picture, and it almost never results in a better score. How many times have you had a putt for a double-bogey and not tried to make it? Example: I once played in a tournament with someone that missed a short easy makeable birdie putt. He walked up to his next putt and angrily knocked his ball off the green. He ended up making triple bogey. His anger caused him 3 strokes. Bad shots happen, even to the very best players in the world. But it is rare for those players, or even for single-digit handicappers, to have those bad shots cost them more than the price of that one bad shot.

One bad shot does not deserve another. What is the secret to following a bad shot with a good one? Not allow a bad shot to cause negative emotions. Have you ever seen a player in your group hit a terrible shot under pres- sure and hear him respond something like “You idiot!” Or various forms of swearing and seen clubs slammed on the ground, along with other kinds of emotional responses. Rather than having a calming effect it has an adrenaline inducing and mind-cluttering effect. The response you want to a poor shot is much more rational, and an easy way to make your response rational is to simply evaluate what happened. If you were a TV announcer watching you shot from outside, what would you say? It would be something rational, like, “Well folks, it looks to me like he lined up a little too far left and intended to hit a fade, but it didn’t work. That ball is out of play, but he did hit it solid.” As a TV announcer you would not say, “What an idiot!”

If you’ve paid attention to the commentators when you’ve watched a tournament on TV, you’ll know that there is a professional announcer paired with a “color” analyst who is usually a retired (or semi-retired) professional golfer.

  • Some of you older guys may remember: Pat Summerall and Ken Venturi.
  • NBC – Bob Costas/Johnny Miller, Roger Maltbie„
  • CBS – Jim Nantz/Nick Faldo, Gary McCord, David Feherty, Vern Lundquist, Peter Kostis
  • Golf Channel – Rich Lerner/Frank Nobilo
  • The announcer’s job is to simply tell the audience what is going on. The job of the color commentator is to add not only expert analysis to the mix, but some emotion (color) as well. When asked who golfers like to listen to, they rarely name the announcer. Why, because we all naturally remember emotional comments and tend not to remember factual comments.

    Remember some of these famous calls:

    • „ 1986 Masters Jack Nicklaus putt on #17 

    Vern Lundquist “Yes Sir

    • „ 2001 Player Championship TPC Sawgrass - Tiger Woods 60 foot putt #17 island green

    Gary Koch “Better than most, Better than most

    • „ 2005 Masters Tiger Woods chip in #16

    Vern Lundquist “In your life, have you ever seen anything like that?

    We all felt the emotion he was feeling, which helped us remember the shots. Emotion helps your remember things, including golf shots, but a rational comment does not add to the memory of most things, including golf shots. If you want to remember a shot and be able to repeat it more easily the next time, slather it with emotion. If you want to simply forget it respond to it with logic and a rational comment. Controlling your emotions will be the biggest stroke saver you can imagine.

    There is a well-known passage in the Bible where a man is asking Jesus to cast a demon out of his son “if he can.” Jesus says to him “If I can? All things are possible to him who believes.” To which the man replied, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” Speaking of wasting strokes…Have you ever felt like that before hitting a golf shot? Doubt is a place on the road between belief and unbelief. To doubt is to waver. People who doubt have not made up their minds-they are of two minds and are wavering between them.
    Self-doubt – Get your “thinking” mind off the pos- sibility of failure (or likelihood of failure) Of all the mental demons that can wander into a golf game (or even into life), doubt may be the most destructive. Example: Putting and Short Game Yipps. To defeat self-doubt focus on target, not technique. Aim small, miss small. Make your target as precise as you can, because the smaller you make it the easier it is to focus on and the closer you will come to hitting it.

    Do you care? Not outwardly, where you simply go about your business, but inwardly you know that you gave up before the round was over, and if the score doesn’t convince you of being something of a quitter, your own conscience will.
    Imagine how your own game would improve if you didn’t give up on a round just because you had one bad hole. Imagine how much better you would feel about yourself for fighting back in any way you could from a double or triple bogey. Learn how to never give up on a single shot, even if you are having a poor scoring day, and see what it does for you and your score. Not to mention your playing partners will enjoy playing with you a lot more.

    At the end of the 2014 PGA Tour season the top 125 in money earnings kept their job for the next year. The difference in money earned between Nicholas Thompson, who was 125, and Charlie Beljan, who was 126, was only $725. The calculations came down to Charlie needing to have scored only 1 stroke better in any one of the 26 events he played to have earned $726 more dollars. You see every shot really does count.

    This advice is fairly simple and yet rarely exercised: To score better you must remember that every shot counts equally-even the penalty strokes-and remember to take equally good care of each shot. The shots you take care of will take care of you. .
    That of course, is the lesson Bobby Nichols’ father was teaching him. Keep trying to get the ball in the hole, be- cause even if it is your 7th stroke, that is better than taking an eight. Every shot really does count.

    We’re talking about golf here, but this also applies to our Christian walk. The truth is that we waste days and words and opportunities in much the same way we waste golf shots. Every day or every opportunity really does count. Every day of your life is eternally significant. How you live matters to God because you matter to God. We must live a Christian life seven days a week, not just on Sundays.

    • Get involved in your church: Teach a Sunday School Class or get involved in your church youth group.„
    • Stop by hospital and visit a Church/USCGA member.
    • „ Share words of encouragement to someone that may be facing an adversity
    • „ Get to know that new Church member or USCGA member
    • „ Sharing your Christian faith and witness when presented the opportunity
    • „ Face that sin that has so often defeated you and overcome it.


    Paul wrote in Romans 12:1. Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.
    In the Old Testament according to God’s law, a priest would sacrifice an animal and place it on the altar. In the New Testament Jesus became the sacrifice and died for all our sins. God wants us to offer ourselves, not animals as living sacrifices – daily laying aside our own desires to follow him. By offering our bodies refers to how we use our body parts(Eyes, ears, mouth, heart, limbs)

    • „ Ears: What we listen to
    • „ Eyes: What we watch
    • „ Mouth: What words come from our mouths
    • „ Heart: How we love and treat others
    • „ Limbs: Your body is a temple of God. Eat healthy and exercise. Restrain from alcohol/drug abuse.


    Every shot in golf really does count as in life every day or every opportunity really does count.