Golf lessons from the Bible

Ivan Morris

The sun rises behind the R&A Clubhouse on the par 4, 18th hole 'Tom Morris' on the Old Course at St Andrews (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Lessons from the Bible can be applied to golf. Here are a few thoughts from the Holy Book that may improve one’s golf game.

A Game of Opposites – For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whomsoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it. (Luke 9:24)

Golf is a game of opposites. To cure a slice, you have to learn to aim where you don’t want the ball to go. The natural tendency for the slicer is to aim further left, the effect of which is to emphasize the slice more. Instead, aim to the right and learn how to “get through the ball” and stop cutting across it – the very action that creates a slice. Another of golf’s opposites is when we need to relax our arms and shoulders to hit a difficult shot, we usually tighten up. The result is: we hit our worst shot when we most need a good one!


Steadfast Position – Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1Cor: 15:58)

In golf we need a solid foundation; the steadfast and immovable position created by the position of our feet and trunk at address and sustained by maintaining balance throughout the swing. We should never swing so hard that we lose our balance. “Rubber legs’ that allow sliding back during the backswing or forward on the downswing increases risks of losing balance.

The Release – Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Prov. 3:5-6)

The release is one of the most subtle and difficult parts of the golf swing. For the gifted it comes naturally but for most it’s a huge challenge. The secret is in the proper release of the hands, wrists, and arms at the point of impact. The release is neither a flip, or a hinge, nor is it throwing the club at the ball. Releasing the power of the muscles at the precise moment of maximum power and accuracy is a sensation that is felt more than it can be seen. You could call it the mystery of golf in which you must have faith.

The Power of Centrifugal Force – David took out a stone, and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead; the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground. (Sam. 17:49)

David’s story shows that the most unlikely among us, if we use our talents, can achieve wonders. Because of the importance of centrifugal force, the club has to be swung in a circle or arc. That circle needs to be on a plane that intersects with the location of the ball. In effect, the shoulders wind up the swing and then the arc of the club head goes around and through the ball. The golf swing is about making sure that the ball gets in the way of the club head.

Playing with Patience – Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience. (Col. 3-12)

A lack of patience leads to an inability to control anxiety and impedes golfers with natural ability more than any other fault. Without patience you cannot be a consistent performer; without patience you cannot reach your potential; without patience you cannot win.

Iron Sharpens Iron – Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. (Prov. 27:17)

For most of us, the best golfing partners are those who enjoy the game and want you to enjoy yours too.

Timing – For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. (Rom. 8:5)

The soul of golf is timing. As far as possible put your brain into your hands, let the ankles, knees, hips and shoulders move as subconsciously as possible. For each part of the body to be synchronized some part has to set the pace. That part is the hands. The hands control timing, setting the tempo that other parts follow.

Playing from the Bunkers – Blessed is the man who endures trials, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.  (James 1:12)

Many of us dislike playing from the bunkers. It is difficult to hit bunker shots cleanly and to judge how far the ball will go. While pros make it look easy, it is a challenge for amateurs. Virtue in life is best achieved by avoiding occasions of sin. The best way to deal with bunkers is to stay out of them!


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4 responses to “Golf lessons from the Bible”

  1. Sean Greene avatar
    Sean Greene

    It’s a pity that you refer to an ancient book that contains human sacrifice, mayhem , murder and misogyny, yes there is the odd Jewel in a mountain of shite . I would suggest you direct your golf students to the hard pressed club pro .

  2. Tom avatar

    In fairness you are a grumpy git

  3. Daniel avatar

    Thank you guys. I really enjoyed that. Truth conquers all. I think it is awesome that The Righteous Judge of all the earth delights to share His greens with all.. . the just and the unjust. Shame so many cannot see His goodness toward them. Carry on. 1 Cor 15: 58
    Pastor Dan

  4. William Falls avatar
    William Falls

    Sean may not agree with the Bible but he should refrain from being offensive. He should also read Psalm 14 verse 1 and uncover another “Jewel”

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