- - Tuesday, May 14, 2024

This coming weekend’s PGA Championship will feature the game’s newest father, Scottie Scheffler, whose wife, Meredith, gave birth to the couple’s first child this past week.

The 2024 Masters champion famously told reporters last month that he’d have left Augusta in the middle of the tournament had his wife gone into labor. Mr. Scheffler has impressed many of us over the years with his ability to prioritize life’s most important and foundational things.

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“I’m a faithful guy,” he said following his big win. “I believe in a Creator. I believe in Jesus. Ultimately, I think that’s what defines me the most. I’ve been given a platform to compete and show my talent. It’s not anything that I did. … I think that’s what defines me the most is my faith. I believe in one Creator, and I’ve been called to come out here, do my best, compete, and glorify God. And that’s pretty much it.

All of the golfers competing in the PGA Championship have excelled in their profession, but not all of them are doing equally well with their personal lives.

I enjoy playing golf. I love it for many reasons, but one of them is because it’s a difficult game. The first time I grabbed a club I didn’t master my tee shot. I didn’t drive the ball 300 yards perfectly down the middle of the fairway. It’s taken me years to develop my swing. But the more I master the mechanics and rhythm, the more comfortable I become on the course.

This is a lot like life, especially navigating our marriage and our family.

Good marriages and healthy families don’t just happen. They come about thanks to God’s grace and favor, but they also require us to do countless smaller things.

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Scottie Scheffler credits his trainer, Dr. Troy Biezen, with helping take him to the next level of his game.

“Now I’m training myself in the gym on how to move properly on the course,” Mr. Scheffler said. “And, when I’m out there (over golf shots), I don’t have to think as much to swing the way I need to swing.”

Dr. Biezen has chosen to focus on his client’s strength and endurance. In fact, a good deal of his workout doesn’t even involve a golf club. Mr. Scheffler rides a bike, lifts weights, and even pushes a sled. The regimen is all designed to stress his nervous system.

As a husband and father, I learned a long time ago that my nervous system is regularly being tested. The unpredictability of a day requires me to be flexible and accommodating. Things rarely work out as you think they’re going to go.

Developing stamina and stability in life takes time. One way to cultivate and lay a firm foundation is to begin your day by reading the Bible.

My wife Jean and I did devotions with our boys throughout their upbringing. Along the way, we discovered that “serious” doesn’t have to mean “dull” or “boring.” Jean preferred formal times of Scripture reading and devotion. Her degree is in biochemistry, so it fit her personality to whip up a lesson with the skill and creativity of a schoolteacher. As for me, I’m spontaneous and loose. I chatted with my boys about the Bible when we were engaged in routine activities. My boys always responded well to both. The point is, however your family goes about living life, bring the presence of God into it.

As a weekend warrior in golf, it’s tempting to spend my time practicing the game by going to the driving range and hitting the ball as hard and as far as possible. The “long game” is important – but most people lose their edge by flubbing their short game, which includes chipping and putting. It’s not glamorous to spend hours working your approach shots or spending time on the putting green. But the best ones do the work when nobody is watching.

The same can be said for cultivating healthy family relationships. Has the romance from the dating days faded? Write the note, pick up the flowers, fold the laundry, fill up and wash the car – all without being asked. This is the “short game” equivalent in marriage.

This weekend’s PGA Championship is being held at the Valhalla Golf Club, a course designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus. The “Golden Bear” said he loved the property because its terrain, vegetation and water gave him a lot to work with – and he made the most of all of it. But in the end, he said “The importance of my legacy is not the golf course, it’s what my life is, and what my life is intended to be. The game of golf is a game. My family is my life.”

Amen, Jack.

Jim Daly is president of Focus on the Family and host of its daily radio broadcast, heard by more than 6 million listeners a week on nearly 2,000 radio stations across the U.S.  He also hosts the podcast ReFocus with Jim Daly.

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