The Provisional

At the 2016 Masters, 22 year old Jordan Speith, last year's Masters Champion, hit his tee shot on the par 4, 230 yard 4th hole so far right into the trees, many thought his golf ball was lost. So he took out another ball and hit a provisional shot, a "do-over", if you will. Jordan found his first ball, hit out of the pine trees and miraculously made par on the 4th hole. Had he been required to play his provisional shot, he would have lost one stroke.

I love the game of golf, having only taken it up personally in my mid 50s so I could play with my son, who was good. When he was at Baylor Law School, we would often walk 9 holes on the shores of Lake Waco at Ridgewood Country Club, meeting at 4:00 pm. There is nothing in life quite like hitting a golf ball within 5 feet of the pin from 200 yards. In fact, just such a golf shot is one leg of my personal holy trinity. The second leg is successfully making 7 intense cuts on a slalom ski at 36 mph in glassy water. The third....that's a mystery.

But back to life, I mean golf, I've been known to need a provisional shot when my life, I mean my golf ball, is hopelessly lost because I've sliced it into the trees. While the criminal justice system is focused on retribution and restitution, God's grace is the ultimate provisional. We get a do-over. If the ball is lost, there are consequences, self-created, like a one stroke penalty, or humiliation, or divorce or prison. However, whether we're on the 4th hole or the 12th hole over the water, we can hit a provisional, take our penalty stroke, refocus, keep our head up, and the game continues. There is always the next shot until the ball is in the cup on the 18th green. Every swing has the potential of being the next great golf shot.

That fact of life, I mean golf, gives me great hope. Even here at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp.