Australian Golf: Driving forward
The profile and popularity of golf is booming. From sports fans following it on TV, to local golf courses noticing a surge in lessons and competitions, golf is driving forward. For the governing body, the PGA, this translates into more business for the PGA professionals.
But who drives the PGA Professionals?
Now consider these PGA Professionals. Who looks after them? Who is there to support the "people side" of golf. The PGA have developed a player welfare network. Behind the scenes of the PGA is a man quietly working away caring for the people of golf: Grahme Lawrence, PGA Chaplain.
PGA Golf Chaplaincy: What does it look like?
Lawrence started his golf chaplaincy 25 years ago. He has been a constant presence behind the scene. But what does it look like? Firstly, Lawrence does not see it as a "ministry" but part of his life: a "lifestyle." By this, he means that being a Christian is not about putting on a public face Sunday and doing a task. Instead, he sees ALL of his life as serving Jesus. Being a Christian (or a golf chaplain) is about integrating every aspect of his life to follow Jesus. So if he is preaching at church on Sunday, he shares Jesus' grace and mercy. If he is on the golf course with players, he shares Jesus' grace and mercy. His love for golf is part of his life which follows Jesus.
Lawrence works with the PGA to support players and their families. This might mean conducting weddings or marriage enrichment classes. Or it could see him supporting players through trials such as depression. He is there to walk with the golfers in every aspect of their lives. Lawrence also conducts golf clinics and competitions for churches as a way to support the church's mission.
As the Australian Masters begins, consider the behind-the-scenes work of golf chaplaincy. Perhaps also consider how your faith is not just a Sunday issue, but part of your whole life expressed in your interaction with people everywhere you go.