By David L. Cook
Editor’s Note: This post is taken from Golf’s Sacred Journey: The Sequel—7 More Days in Utopia, which follows David L. Cook’s bestselling book, Golf’s Sacred Journey. (That book was the inspiration for the movie Seven Days in Utopia, starring Robert Duvall.) It is a modern-day parable about golfer Luke Chisholm and his rival, both pursuing their common dream of winning the US Open while tackling trials, overcoming fear, and experiencing redemption. Here we find Luke deep in thought the morning of day five in Utopia when his mentor Johnny shows up to dispense his usual dose of divine wisdom.
On day five I did what I always did when I couldn’t sleep. I began hitting balls at sunup. The morning air was fresh in the Sabinal Valley. The dew shimmered as the sun rose slowly over the eastern hills. The range is a golfer’s haven. It’s our go-to place to think, to figure things out. Johnny’s story about the Dream-Giver fueled my imagination, inspiring thoughts of greatness for the first time in a long time.
I had dreamed of winning the US Open, but it wasn’t “the” dream. I was beginning to understand that victories in the games of life were only a destination along the way to something much bigger. I also knew that the new swing was somehow a vehicle, not an end to itself.
At about eight Johnny showed up at the range in his old Ford pickup, slung open the door, and said, “Come on, let’s go for a ride. You’ll have plenty of time to practice this afternoon.” Somehow he knew that last night was a door-opening experience. Today was about walking through the door.
We drove deep into his ranch to a 25-acre oat patch. Leaving the truck at the gate, we hiked to the middle of the cool, green field of oats dotted with wildflowers. It was one of the few planting fields on the large ranch. Standing in the middle of the field provided a 360-degree panorama of the Texas Hills. This piece of ground was surrounded by ten oak-covered peaks. The field itself was flat and showed evidence of the many animals that tracked through this restaurant of choice during the winter and spring.
He propped one foot up on the large, white stone he often sat on to watch the sun rise. Chiseled into the stone was the number 33:3, a reference to Jeremiah 33:3. “Call to me, and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things that you do not know.”
“I like this spot,” he said. “It’s out here, away from the distractions of the rat race, where I hear most clearly. It’s a place where I catch a glimpse of the supernatural revealing parables of life. Let me show you what I mean.
“This field has been plowed and planted in oats for nearly a hundred years. There’s no telling how many different plows and planters have been used, but let me show you one of them, the one that delivered a great revelation to me a few years back.”
We continued our walk to the opposite side of the field where Johnny opened a double gate that he used to access the field to plow. We walked down the fence line to an antique farm implement sitting among an encroaching persimmon bush, cactus, and a red ant bed.
“The rancher who worked this land years ago pulled this plow and seed bin out of the field the last time he plowed it. He unhooked it and left it here, never to do again what it was made to do,” Johnny said. “That was about 70 years ago.
“I walked this area before but never thought about the old plow and seed bin until one day as I was praying in the field.” He continued, “On that particular day as I was closing the gate I noticed this antique and was intrigued. As I walked over, I became curious about how it worked. I saw the plow and then this seed bin.”
Johnny encouraged me to look inside. As I lifted the lid, frozen with rust, it creaked and groaned. Sunlight filled the bin, revealing a treasure: oat seeds. It was half full of old oat seeds that were meant to be planted 70 years ago, stuck in the seed bin to never produce fruit.
“Dream seed,” Johnny said. “God plants dreams in the hearts of everyone, but for most of us, the seed gets trapped inside. Mostly it’s fear that traps it—fear that it’s too big, that I’m too small, that I might fail, that I might be laughed at, that the cost is too great.”
He dodged an assault from an angry red wasp that flew from his guard post in a dark corner of the bin. “The source of fear is the accuser, the dream-taker,” he said. “He is the true enemy of the dream seed.”
Carefully looking for other wasps, I reached in to feel the seed. I grasped a handful, allowing it to run through my fingers and let it fall back into the bin. I kept one seed in my hand, holding it between my thumb and index finger.
“Keep it,” I heard Johnny say.
“Take the seed and your journal and find an oak tree on the edge of the field to sit under. Quiet your mind and ask God about the seed, to identify it for you as well as the fears that prevented it from being planted. Use your journal to scribe all you hear from the Dream-Giver and plant the seed in the oat patch as a symbol to Him that you trust Him with your dream. The Scriptures say, ‘Unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, it cannot produce fruit.’ When we give it to Him we will see it fulfilled.
“One oat plant could produce ten or more seed heads easily. If one of the seeds left in the seed bin had been planted ten years ago and produced ten seeds, and each of those had produced ten the next year, and if this continued for ten years, that one seed would have produced ten billion seeds.
“The seed you hold in your hand represents the power of the dream seed inside of you to change history, to change eternity,” Johnny said. “On your last trip you buried the lies that had been holding you back in life. This time you are planting seed that will propel you forward to your God-given dreams. Just listen.”
I was drawn to a large oak on the south end of the oat patch. I spotted a nice patch of grass to sit on and leaned back against the trunk. Utopia is in the middle of nowhere, and this spot was about five miles from there. It was quiet. Butterflies and dragonflies moved about the oat patch. Rain lilies and miniature daisies dotted the landscape. Doves dove into the field, seemingly from out of nowhere. A Vermillion Flycatcher snatched up flying insects as though he were shagging flies from the cedar posts. I watched, taking it all in.
I felt connected with myself, connected with God. Then I heard Him speak. I heard it in my heart, in the deep place of my spirit. It wasn’t audible; it was clearer than that. It was peaceful and profound, like the weight of a warm quilt on a cold night.
“Golf is not your vocation; it is your platform. It is a place for sowing seeds of light, hope, and life, especially inside the ropes on tournament day where most players check out, allowing the selfishness of the moment and pressure of the day to close the door to true adventure and revelation.
“Don’t be afraid of the new swing. It is part of your platform, and it will set you apart. It will inspire seekers of truth in all walks of life to open the locked vault of false tradition’s stronghold. You will speak greatness into many as I flood you with insight. You will live life as a noticer as you listen to me. You will bring life where there is death, light where there is darkness, hope where there is pain, and freedom to those trapped in fear.
“Your fear is that if you do this, you will miss out, that you will not play well, that you will be wasting a career, and that you will look like a fool. But when you choose this path you will find life; you will be filled to overflowing with what victory can’t deliver. When you forget about yourself and focus on those with whom I cross your path, your performance will soar and you will play fearlessly, knowing neither failure nor victory has any hold on you. You will be relentlessly competitive yet full of grace, tenacious yet full of peace. And if you trust me instead of resisting, like Johnny’s horses, you will receive soul freedom.”
I knew I had just received the key for the true zone, a performance zone that defied typical wisdom. The revelation came in like a 220-volt current to a 110 outlet.
There is no experience like receiving a revelation, a call to greatness. No victory, no treasure, no person or object can compete with the overwhelming sense of security created by the Voice. To know that God is close and personal changes the game. This was the confirmation I had prayed for.
I had found new life on Easter morning on my first trip to Utopia. Today I received my place in the game. Everyone has a place in the game. The anxiety-driven lies of the dream-taker have relegated most to an unfulfilled destiny, wasted seed in an old seed bin.
To know that I was called to bring freedom to dreams trapped in rusty seed bins was profound. I had a choice: faith or fear. There was no other option. I chose faith, and in that instant I became a dream-guardian.
No longer was I afraid of the US Open. It was a platform on a journey of significance. I planted my dream seed five miles from nowhere. It became an open door to everywhere.
Taken from Golf’s Sacred Journey: The Sequel—7 More Days in Utopia by David L. Cook. Click here to learn more about this title.
Golf is more than a game. Behind every stroke and ace, there are hours of practice. Before every trophy, there is sacrifice. At every driving range, there are successes and failures. And inside every golfer, there is a story.
In Golf’s Sacred Journey: The Sequel, the book that follows bestselling Golf’s Sacred Journey, professional golfer Luke Chisholm returns to his winsome and wise mentor, Johnny Crawford for what he’s best at: advice. This time, Luke needs help of a different sort. He needs guidance on playing in the most difficult golf tournament in the world: the US Open. Victory is in sight.
From bestselling author and performance psychologist Dr. David Cook, Golf’s Sacred Journey: The Sequel is the fascinating byproduct of counseling thousands of athletes over the decades — from PGA Champions to Olympic athletes. His expertise weaves throughout this suspenseful and memorable sequel.
Luke’s story unfolds from the practice course of Utopia, Texas, to the fairways of the US Open. It’s there that T.K., Luke’s rival, re-enters the picture. Their rivalry comes to a head at the US Open. Their clash is epic, the payoffs and costs are great.
In this memorable book, you will acquire lessons about golf and life that you never expected as Luke and T.K. overcome gripping fears, trials, and brokenness as they pursue their God-given dreams. Golf’s Sacred Journey, the Sequel will deeply inspire you both on and off the green.
This is a story of two golfers. This is a story of redemption. And in the end, it’s not just about a game.
David L. Cook. Author, speaker, entrepreneur, and mental training coach are the roles Dr. David L. Cook has assumed over the past two decades. His clients have included NBA World Champions, National Collegiate Champions, PGA Tour Champions, Olympians, and many Fortune 500 companies. He is the author of the bestselling book Golf’s Sacred Journey. He and his wife, Karen, have been married for over 35 years, have two daughters, and live in the hill country of Texas.