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CBN.com Professional golfer Tracy Hanson has had a long ride on the LPGA tour. Debuting in ‘95, she’s competed against some of the best in the game. She’s been inducted into the National Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame and San Jose State University Sports Hall of Fame. With all her accomplishments you’d think she had everything. But she didn’t.
“I knew God existed but I had no personal relationship with Jesus,” Tracy tells The 700 Club. “We went to church a little bit but He was not a part of my life at all. I was an ‘A’ student. I was one of the star female athletes of the high school, and I was a shy kid, but I could hide behind the athletics. People enjoyed and loved me. I felt more the better I performed.”
Tracy’s desire to perform for the people around her was the driving force behind her success. She earned a scholarship to play golf in college. But on the way there she was introduced to something new.
“My dad had given me a book called, My Head Coach, and it took the game of basketball and compared a head coach [to] Jesus being the head coach of our life,” she says. “So I read that book and put it aside, didn’t really think about it. In that drive I was scared; I was nervous. I’m going from a town of 2,000 people to the metropolitan area of San Jose. Millions of people. I just felt like, ‘Okay I’m going to try this.’ I prayed and accepted Christ into my heart. I didn’t really understand what I did, but God honors that choice that I made.”
But as soon as she arrived…
“I went back into finding my significance in performing on the golf team and performing in the classroom. But God really took care of me. He put some seeds in my heart about Jesus and who He was. When I was deciding on colleges I ended up choosing San Jose State and unknown to me my coach was a Christian. I didn’t actually find that out until I actually got to school. So God was protecting me and kind of leading me even without me knowing it.”
Over the next year Tracy began to grow stronger on the course and off.
“God was definitely starting to change me at that moment even though I didn’t recognize it. It was about a year later that He put some committed Christian women in my life that really started to help me understand what it meant to be a Christian.”
Tracy’s college career was a huge success. Shortly after earned her way onto the LPGA tour. It was there that she met a new set of challenges.
“You know it’s a challenge between you and the golf course. The challenge isn’t between you and another competitor,” she says. “The goal is to beat the golf course on that given day. Then you throw in wind, rain... Sometimes it's beautiful and sunny. Sometimes it’s 100 degrees, and so you’ve got so many elements that you’re fighting.”
Her fight wasn’t just on the course. After a dead-end engagement, Tracy hit rock bottom.
“I was trying to make God the center but yet this relationship was the center. He lead both of us really to walk away from the relationship. It was in that moment where I realized He really broke my heart -- and not broke my heart to my detriment but to my benefit in that I had to get to my knees and say, ‘Lord, I can’t do this anymore without You. I’ve been trying to play golf without You. I’ve been trying to make this relationship without You. But really I can’t have anything unless You’re the center of it.’”
Now with God as the center of her life, Tracy says she’s found a new reason to compete on the golf course.
“The Lord has given me the opportunity to share His love though the game of golf. He gives me a hope and a reason to live. I think if I didn’t know Jesus there wouldn’t be a purpose for what I do.
“God gives us the ability and the gift to do things. Whether it's an athlete, an artist, or a business person, that’s how we live, but that is so superficial compared to who we are in our soul and in our spirit. What’s important is where do you stand in eternity? Do you know Christ? Are you going to be able to say, "I know Jesus" when God asks, "Why should I let you into heaven?' That’s all it is. All you have to do is say Jesus. It doesn’t matter how much money you made, how many awards trophies, any of that. It's all about if you know Jesus in your heart.”
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