There are people who play a game of golf just for fun. And then there are those who take it one step further. They still have fun, but at the same time manage to accomplish something for others, and with a generous spirit.

I know a fellow who loves to play golf. On Par 3’s, if his ball hits the green or gets over the lake in front of the green, he jumps out of the golf cart and walks. He then carries a putter and ball retriever and collects balls from the lake.

For many years, this man has helped organize three golf tournaments annually—two for First Church (the spring and fall men’s outings) and one for the local YMCA. When players sign in for the tournament, he smiles and offers them a mulligan.

This “Mulligan man” has a big tray of golf balls, mostly Titleist or Calloway, with a sign that says, “Mulligans $5—Have a ball!” Some generous guys give $20 or more, then smile and walk away saying, “I don’t need a ball, thanks.”

Over the past three years, this man has collected $7,240 in the name of scholarships for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and the Bonita YMCA. He thinks it is always a good day when he can play in a tournament and see people smile when they buy mulligans to help lower their score and at the same time contribute toward scholarships for young people.

Several times he has been yelled at by the foursome behind him for slowing down the game when he walks a Par 3, but he just waves and keeps on playing. After the round, he makes a point of talking to the person who yelled at him. He starts the conversation by saying, “I want to thank you and the other members of your golf/country club for your generous donation toward scholarships for the FCA and YMCA.” Then he explains to the foursome why he gathers the golf balls and how much he has collected by selling mulligans. They always agree it is a good idea and are suddenly proud of their own generosity. All smile and shake hands.

Each one of us can find a way to be just a little generous without others even knowing. Making a Legacy Gift or Pay-Forward Gift to our Endowment Fund is an act of generosity that probably only you and God will smile about.


by Nelson Robbins, Chair/First Tartan Society