We moved 12 times by the time I was 12. I had gotten tired of making friends only to lose them. So I began to hang out with my dog, Lassie, each afternoon after school. That was all my heart could handle.
I would take my BB gun and Lassie and head for undeveloped land near our home. There was plenty of that around. I remember lying in the autumn grass with Lassie staring into the heavens wondering what the future would hold. I loved looking up, it made me feel closer to the One who knew. I was deeply lonely.
One day we came upon some large land moving vehicles working in one of our familiar fields. They were developing a golf course. Not long after it was open, we joined and the remainder of my childhood was set. I ended up spending most of my waking hours at this rather undistinguished blue-collar golf course learning the great game of golf.
I made friends and developed a passion for the game. A mentor showed up as well. He was my golf pro. Johnny was his name and he had an indelible impact on my life and future.
That experience was the genesis of my book and movie. Johnny was the inspiration for the character that Robert Duvall played.
The course was plowed under a few years ago. I often drive by when back in town. I can still see remnants of the turtle back tee boxes and greens strewn across the landscape. It brings back deep memories.
I am truly in awe of a God that answered my loneliness with a story for the ages … and built a golf course that lasted but a short time in the history of the world, but the perfect time for His purpose. Golf has been the conduit God has used in my life to bring hope to those who stare into the heavens and wonder what the future holds.