Thursday, February 7, 2013


Maul Hall from the 7th green
Maul Hall from the 7th green
Wednesday morning, and for the first time since last Spring, I finally got back out on the golf-course behind our house.
It’s been five months since Buckhorn Springs reopened following a long summer reconstruction furlough. Over 80 acres of grass was killed, scraped off, cultivated, and replaced with literally hundreds of thousands of sprigs. That’s 18 greens, 18 fairways, two practice greens, and a driving range.
The change to the greens was the most radical, including new soil, re-grading, re-contouring and new grass. Additionally, all the bunkers got new sand, hundreds of trees were removed, and there’s fresh landscaping throughout the property.
More than simply repaired or redecorated, the golf course has been renovated, rejuvenated, restored, and rehabilitated.
looking across to 17
looking across to 17
TOUGH: Interestingly, while every aspect of the course has been radically improved, it’s also a lot harder to play. There are a couple of potential approaches to golf-course renovation:
  1. You can make the course look pretty, make sure the greens run true, and generally help the members feel better about their game…
  2. Or, you can enhance the beauty while simultaneously increasing the level of challenge.
Buckhorn went with number two. Consequently (and for the first time in my life) I “four-putted” more than one of the greens. The grass is so fast you have to mentally reduce the distance of a putt by at least 50%. A stoke that looks like it’s going to come up several feet short just keeps on rolling, and rolling, running five, ten, 15 feet past the cup!
COUNTRY CLUB/CHURCH: So why am I telling you all this? I’m really following up some of my thoughts from yesterday’s post about church. Because I believe too many faith communities worry about looks and comfort, while forgetting that what keeps real disciples engaged and motivated is a place where vibrant, living faith is challenged to grow.
I know people who use the term “country-club church” as a pejorative when talking about congregations where – in their judgment – Jesus is eschewed in favor of “feel-good” religion. Typically, “country-club church” means an emphasis on social connections and a “watered down” gospel.
However, playing golf yesterday, the idea was reversed. Rather than church looking like the country-club, the country-club felt more like my church! Because at First Presbyterian of Brandonthe emphasis is on challenge, growth, discipleship, seeing things in new ways, and “practice, practice, practice.”
DSC_0098THE WAY: All the improvements made to the physical plant at FPCBrandon over the past few years have been designed to facilitate the process of becoming more seasoned “Followers of The Way of Jesus.”
Because we are involved in all these ministries – and because we are challenged, and inspired, and tested – we are better prepared to tell the truth about the Gospel of Love, each and every day.

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