“Open you stance, lighten your grip, turn your hip on the upswing, keep your eye on the ball, hit down on the ball, the power is in the follow-through, belt buckle to the target and hold your finish”
The vocabulary was foreign, the game was foreign, the instructor was familiar. Gary Heyes is a friend of mine, a minister of the Gospel by profession, a demonstrative minister of the gospel by personality, a husband, a father and a golfer.I have met Gary Heyes outside of the premises of the church building on a number of occasions, but this time, it was at the golf driving range. Our meeting changed my golfing experience.
It was a sunny day at the Eagle Classic Golf Centre, and once again, I was there to hit some golf balls. My desire to play the game was strong, only parred by my frustrated attempt to get over my futile efforts of hitting the golf ball.
Today, Gary stood across from me with the stern eyes of an instructor “Turn those hips, and I don’t want to see your right thumb, your grip should create a visible “V”; in order to do that, your right thumb should not be visible from where I stand” He would insist, “Take a practice swing” I would, and it felt odd, but when I took a swing at the ball, I made good contact. Gary will say to me “Its getting better but you’re still not fully turning your hips, see the power comes when you turn those hips on the upswing and swing down and through the ball on the downswing.”
He will continue to explain ” See Nabil, when your grip is light, it allows the club to pivot around your fingers with minimum resistance to make better connection with the ball; you want to swing through the ball and your hand is the only connection to the club, and the club is your only connection to the ball, so in order for you to feel like you are hitting the ball, you need not feel the clubs in your hands…Take another swing.” I would, he would watch, commend my progress, point out my shortcomings and repeat another slew of instructions.
He will often demonstrate by taking the club from me, assume the perfect stance and hit an unbelievable shot with excellent loft and distance. He would hand the club over to me and say, “Now, you try it”.
His instructions and demonstrations were clear, stern but generous. After hitting a few dozen balls, I noticed my grip was better, so was my stance, swing and ball-flight patterns; I got better results. Importantly, I noticed that I was adapting Gary’s style of playing golf.
Like most people, I thought very little of the game of golf as a sport, until I tried to take a swing at a golf ball. After many unsuccessful attempts, I finally made contact with the golf ball and projected it into space. It was an exhilarating experience. After which, I embarked on a journey to make more consistent, straight, long and accurate shots; a feat that seems to take a lifetime to master. prior to my meeting with Gary, it had been a couple of months since I made contact with the golf ball, and that evening, I felt I had broken through. I was on my way to becoming a golfer.
After my encounter with Gary, I learned from a dozen other people conspicuously and inconspicuously, however, there was one man in particular who really took interest in me and helped me adopt my own game. Kim was a retired preacher, with a new passion for golf. Each morning and evening, I would practice with Reverend Kim at the driving range. For three consecutive weeks, we would practice hitting over 200 golf balls in the morning and over 150 golf balls at night. By the end of the three weeks, I had adapted my own game. I understood golf.
When people first come to the faith, they often want to develop their own, but their desire to grow is only parred by their frustrated attempt to get over their futile efforts of living the life of faith.
They might be inspired by friends, family, minister of the gospel or persons of faith in the bible. Their attempt to emulate their role models often leads to frustration, disappointment and discouragement, mostly because they don’t find the Garys’ and the Kims’ of the kingdom.
The Garys’ and the Kims’ is what is needed in the church; in our world; and on your journey today. I speak of Leadership; Selfless leadership. When someone first come into the faith, their struggle to find their way is apparent. In order to develop, they often lean on the faith of parents, friends, family and role models until they finally understand and develop their own. As much as it was important for me to lean on Gary’s golfing knowledge until I developed mine, It is crucial for a new person of faith to lean on the faith of models, until they develop their own.
The founder of the Christian faith was a leader of 12 ordinary men. He took interest in them and led them by faith. They responded to his faith, adopted it and eventually developed their own. The fact that Pastor Gary and Reverend Kim are both coincidentally ministers of the gospel had little to do with their ability to help me find my place in golf; but rather, the testament to their leadership, was their willingness to take interest in me, coupled with their desire to come alongside, to help me on my way. That was selfless, that was leadership, that was faith.