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playing golf with willie nelson

I have never been much of a golfer, but if I did golf more often, I think I’d like to golf with Willie Nelson. For many years, Willie has owned the Pedernales Cut and Putt Golf Club near Austin, TX. I also wrote this Titleist ap3 review if you’re thinking of buying new clubs this year and ones that I and Willie have used before, so you know they are great.

However, here are a few of Willie’s golf rules …

  • A ball hitting a tree shall be deemed not to have hit the tree. Hitting a tree is simply bad luck and has no place in a scientific game. The player should estimate the distance the ball would have traveled if it had not hit the tree and play the ball from that point, preferably atop a firm tuft of grass.
  • There shall be no such thing as a lost ball. The missing ball is somewhere on or near the course and will eventually be found and pocketed by someone else. It thus becomes a stolen ball. You should not compound the felony by charging yourself a penalty stroke.

One of the perks of owning your own golf course is getting to decide what par will be for each hole. Nelson once pointed to a hole and said, “See that hole? It’s a par 47. Yesterday I birdied it.”

Birdies become bogeys because the person swinging the club has made a mistake. Wrong club or angle. Too hard. Not hard enough. Misjudged the lie.

Have you noticed in recent years an increasing tendency for people to admit to mistakes rather than sins? But there is a fundamental difference between a mistake and sin. Many people assume mistakes and sins are synonymous. They are not.

A mistake is something you wander into by accident or lack of information.

A sin is something you walk into on purpose, with full knowledge that what you’re doing (or about to do) is wrong.

Here’s the problem: if all you do is make mistakes, then all you need to do is get better, try harder, find a life coach, or read the right book. But if you’re problem is something more fundamental to human nature, if you’re problem is sin — then you need a Savior. Why? Because you can correct your own mistakes. You cannot correct your own sin.

Mistakes or sin? There’s a big difference.