My Letter to a Gifted Sixteen-year-old Golfer in South Africa

May 14, 2018


A few weeks ago in Pretoria, South Africa, Becky and I met a teenager who caught my attention and admiration. His name is Ernest Ludick. Right away we connected. I was speaking at a church, The Gathering Family Church, where his father pastors. We started talking about golf. His father Pastor Louie has a six handicap. But, just-turned sixteen-year-old Ernest, has a one handicap. Ernest has been playing golf for just two years. He is a practice fanatic. His dream is to be a professional.
 
Back home in Phoenix, I started thinking about writing a letter of encouragement to Ernest. What could I say to Ernest, elevating him to his next level of many other levels to come? So I wrote the letter. I’m hoping this letter might be an asset to some of you readers too in achieving your dream.
    
Ernest, you are a young man, with amazing talent and an engaging personality. You carry in you the capacity, the ‘It’ factor, to be a professional. Now you need to increase your competency. Increasing your competency will unleash your God-given capacity. That’s how you go from dream to done.
 
Ernest, if there was any advice I could give you, it’s the following. There was a prophet named Nehemiah who accomplished in fifty-two days what others looked at for seventy years. He had a burden to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, destroyed by a siege seventy years before. He had a dream like you.
 
Here are four X-factors Nehemiah possessed to accomplish that task. They are competency issues. Whether golf, getting a degree, starting a business or aiming for any goal someone might have; these four X-factors unleash capacity. They move you from the impossibility to the possibility and even the probability of achieving your dream.
 
The first X-factor is Nehemiah had a ‘burdened heart.’ When he saw the destroyed city walls, he “…sat down and mourned for days…” He had a passion for Jerusalem. Passion means ‘to suffer.’ You see this in Christ’s passion. He suffered. Your passion for God and golf will cost you. It won’t be easy. It will take you to depths in God and yourself you didn’t know existed. You will need to have a ‘heart’ engagement with golf, not just an ‘art’ engagement. There will be ups and downs. There will be droughts, frustrations, and disappointments. There will be levels you will be stuck at temporarily. Keep on keeping on. Guard your other passions and it will guard your main passion. Keep going unless God says differently.
 
The second is a ‘bended knee.’ “…Let Thine ear now be attentive and Thine eyes open to hear the prayer of Thy servant…” Your dream requires God. God is wanting, waiting, and willing to walk with you. You have not because you ask not. Many golfers and athletes out there don’t pray on the outside, but believe me, there are times they are praying on the inside. Prayer is an X-Factor that makes a difference both on and off the golf course. You will get heavenly advice that can make a difference.
 
The third is a ‘clear mind.’ “…I did not tell anyone what my God was putting into my mind to do for Jerusalem…” The first and second X-factors are more heart. The last two are the art. Hope is not a strategy. It takes more than hope to move from dream to done. There is planning involved. Ask yourself, “How am I going to get to where I want to go?” You stated you want to move to America and attend a university to improve your golf and experience (How about Arizona State University?). That’s thinking strategically. Strategy is found in counselors, too. Access their wisdom.
 
The fourth you are familiar with, Nehemiah had ‘calloused hands.’ “So they put their hands to the good work.” Impression without expression leads to depression. Faith without works is…not alive. Practice, practice, practice - but remember good things taken to extremes can become bad things. Sometimes it’s OK to take a break. Don’t just let passion lead you. Be God-led and purpose-driven. Most tournaments are won in the preparation time midweek before you play the weekend.
 
There you go, Ernest. Apply all of these. I believe you can get there. Thanks for listening to the old American guy. Don’t laugh, someday you’re going to look like me!
 
For you other ‘Ernests’ out there, copy this article now. Go from dream to done.
   
Ed Delph    May 14, 2018    CCC  

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Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
Visit Ed Delph's website at www.nationstrategy.com