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Golfers ‘Making the Turn’ in NAMB television special

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Golf fans will get a personal look at some of the sport’s top players, including the source of spiritual strength that keeps them successful even when their golf game is not, in a new television program produced by the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board.

“Making the Turn,” produced by NAMB in partnership with Dallas-based VisionQuest Communications Group, will be distributed to NBC network affiliates May 22 as part of the “Horizons of the Spirit” religious programming series.

“We take popular professional golfers and show glimpses of their personal lives, including some of the private struggles and challenges they’ve gone through,” said Martin Coleman, director of production for NAMB’s broadcast communications group based in Fort Worth, Texas.

“We show how their faith in God is an essential part of their makeup, both personally and competitively. And as these players share their stories, the natural outgrowth of that is a description of how people can come to know Christ.”

The title for the special is based on the point in a round of golf when golfers begin the return to the clubhouse, often after the first nine holes.

In an excerpt from the program, Larry Mize, 1986 Master’s champion, states: “The front nine goes out. You’re heading out and there’s no real destination. Well, once you make the turn, now you’re headed back in. You know you’re headed home.

“Well for me, the front nine was prior to 1986. I was headed out. I really wasn’t sure of where I was going. But once I made the turn and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, then I knew where I was headed. I know where I’m going and I have a great final destination.”

Other golfers profiled in the special include Tom Lehman, Lee Janzen, Bernhard Langer, Paul Stankowski, Scott Simpson, Steve Jones, Aaron Baddeley, Craig Kanada, Rick Fehr, George Archer and Larry Nelson.

“Making the Turn” is the third collaboration between NAMB and VisionQuest and is similar in format to the previous productions “Driving Force” and “Hoop Heroes.” All three productions begin with professional athletes talking about the technical aspects of what it takes to succeed. Then they discuss some of the adversities they have faced and the intense pressures of staying at the top.

Steve Jones, for instance, shares what it was like to be off the tour for more than two years following a motorcycle accident. The program details his first tournament back on the course, as Jones and Lehman prepared for a two-man playoff to determine the 1996 PGA Championship.

“Tom Lehman suggested at the beginning of that round that they begin the day in prayer. He encouraged his friend that whole day … and ended up losing to him,” Coleman said. “You hear that story from both points of view: Lehman, the friend who encouraged Steve to keep trying, and Jones, the beneficiary of that loving gesture.”

In the final segment, the golfers share how their surrender to a relationship with Christ helped them “make the turn” in their own lives, and how that relationship has influenced their lives.

“I needed a Savior,” Jones says of his 1984 profession of faith. “Jesus saved me from my life and gave me a new heart. He gave me peace and I was able to trade in all my junk for all his glory.”

Larry Nelson, one of the longtime Christian leaders on the tour, says man was created to have a relationship with God. “That is the only way we are going to be truly happy,” he said. “Nothing else will fill that void in your life other than that relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Ele Clay, television marking associate for NAMB, said that while the special is made available to all local NBC affiliates, stations decide when they will be aired. In the past, she suggested, contacts directly to local programming managers have been effective in influencing favorable air times.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: JONES JOINS IN and STANKOWSKI’S WITNESS.

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  • James Dotson