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Beyond the Score Review by Kendra Fletcher

By Jim Sheard, Ph.D.
New Leaf Press
PO Box 726
Green Forest, AR 72638

I was raised in a family of golfers, on a golf course, and around those sticks and little white balls my whole childhood. It's no surprise, then, that several of our kids are liking the game and choose to go hit some golf balls to clear their minds from school work, stretch their legs a bit, and get some fresh air. Golf is a sport that can be played lifelong, and we particularly like the idea of "personal best" that can contribute to the development of some excellent character qualities.

Jim Sheard understands this concept well, that we can sharpen our characters by challenging ourselves in a sport like golf. To that end, he's written Beyond the Score as an excellent primer on relationships. Citing 18 keys for golf and life, Dr. Sheard points the reader to Scripture as the basis for true relationship building, both on and off the golf course.

In order to give you an idea of each key's content, I want to you to see how Key #4, "Serve Others," is presented. First, Dr. Sheard defines serving as "giving value." He goes on to say, "Understand what the other person seeks, the value you can offer, then provide it more and more". He writes about serving others on the golf course, gives insight into serving others in any setting or situation, and shares how and when to make improvements in your service of others. Each key asks a question to help you evaluate yourself, gives you points to think about, and then encourages you to remember something. In this case, the key to remember is, "What I give matters more than what I get from my relationships."

If you have a budding golfer or a seasoned lover of the game on your gift list, Beyond the Score is a good little book to encourage and inspire. Because Dr. Sheard succinctly addresses each relationship key, it may be just the thing for a young golfer who doesn't love reading as much as he or she might like golf. The golfers in this house very much appreciate it when an author simply gets to the point, and Beyond the Score does just that.

I particularly appreciate Dr. Sheard's epilogue about having an eternal impact, "allowing the Creator to use your gifts and talents to influence people." When we begin to see how we can magnify God in every area of our lives, including our sports, we are on our way to developing an eternal perspective that can point others to Christ--and in turn affect their eternity as well.

Product review by Kendra Fletcher, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2011