Get a (Proper) Grip:
“Strong is Long”

from Chaplain (Colonel-Retired) Steven L. Berry
Advisory Board, Hardrock Charlie Foundation

I confess, without shame, that I just spent the last two weeks on the island of Oahu. Plenty of sunshine and warm temps were a welcome break from the cold temps and knee-deep snow of northwestern Montana. While there, I was fortunate to spend much of the time playing golf poorly on some of Hawaii’s loveliest courses. The 13th hole on The Klipper at Kaneohe Marine Corps Base-Hawaii is absolutely breathtaking! And, yes, I am living proof that you can, indeed, play golf poorly on the most beautiful of courses.

For me, the most important part of my game is my grip. In fact, to me, my grip seems to be the single most important element that determines how well (or, poorly) I hit the ball. Nothing makes a bigger difference in the quality of my play than does my grip. My goal is to establish a strong grip, as I have long been taught that “strong is long”; that is, a strong grip equals distance on the ball. Not too tight. I don’t intend to crush the club’s shaft. Not too loose. I don’t want the thing to fly out of my hands. I want to establish a strong grip; one that equates to about a 3-4 on a scale of 1-10. Hands well-balanced and working together. When my grip is good, my game is good (well . . . better, anyhow). For me, a strong grip is the key.

 What I am really hoping to communicate is not a golf lesson. Instead, I want to highlight what I believe is an important life lesson as it pertains to the “grip” we have on our lives. I have often heard people say, “I need to get a grip,” or “I feel like I’m losing my grip. These comments, and others like them, beg the question: “What kind of grip?”


To that question, I think the game of golf offers an answer; that is, a strong grip. A firm, but a balanced grip. A proper and a healthy grip. Some of us are holding onto the past far too tightly. Loosen your grip on those things that lie behind. The past is immutable. It cannot be changed. Things done and things undone with remain exactly that. Relax your grip on these things. Maybe let them go. When the past comes knocking, don’t answer the door. Let it go.

In contrast, we may be holding onto other things far too loosely. Tighten your grip on these things. Hold them dearly and close. Family. Friends. Health. Soul care. Self-care. Don’t treat these things lightly. Cherish them.

Even the most beautiful golf course can be rugged, uncompromising, and unforgiving. Similarly, daily living can be exactly the same. Sometimes troubles arise. Sometimes we are in doubt, maybe even despair. Sometimes the demons come. In those times, going the distance requires a strong, but, proper grip on our lives; a healthy and balanced grip.

How’s your grip today, Ranger? If you’re finding yourself often in “the rough” or even “out of bounds,” maybe it’s time to reassess. There are plenty of “coaches” – your Brothers – who are ready, willing, and able to help. Reach out today. RLTW