In the book of Exodus, it is said that the Israelites wandering in the desert were grumbling from hunger when the Lord sent them manna from Heaven. The manna appeared daily after the morning dew had just evaporated and had to be gathered before the sun’s heat made it all disappear.

As written in my previous column, I had entered into a two month “golf fast” – and felt it indeed – all for the safe healing and recovery of Tess from her brain operation. I had resisted (or simply ignored) all invitations for tournaments with big prizes to be true to my fast. And true enough, just like the Lord sent manna to break the Israelites hunger, I ended my golf fast several weeks ago with Manna! Not from Heaven but from Manila – Manila Chapter’s annual Golf Tournament named “Manna in Manila”. And allow me to complete this homage to Exodus please. The manna arrived on a grassy golf course rather than a desert. We started our game early enough in the morning, just when the dew drops had evaporated, but on that day, despite the heat of the sun, the manna did not disappear.

On this day, I won my second Class C championship trophy with a score of 99, one of the rare times I am able to (barely) break 100. To put things in proper perspective, this is only a par 66 course, but quite a tricky one. The historic sites of Old Manila and Fort Santiago made for nice pleasant game in the company of BCBP brothers. The turf was in excellent condition as well. Not bad for a 103 year old club. (est 1907). I received my first Class C trophy at a tournament held on another short and more ridiculous course in Quezon City, the Capitol Hills golf course. I love these short courses as it is only here that I am sure to break 100. I had won two previous “other” trophies and embarrassingly enough – both were for the “Most Exercised Player” .

My main thought for that Manila game came from actor Jeremy Northam , who played golfer Walter Hagen in the movie “Bobby Jones, A Stroke of Genius”. He was giving advice to a young and great golfer, Bobby Jones, played by James Caviezel. He said, “Golf is a game of recovery.” In my game during the Manna tournament – I was openly wondering how I won since I made a lot of bad shots. But looking back I now realize I had made quite a lot of good recovery shots as well.

As I begin this piece during Holy Week, my first away from the golf course in years, I can’t help but write and reflect. And perhaps very remotely, and most reverently, relate the game to the greatest story of recovery ever. That of our Saviour falling several times and yet achieving His goal, that of reaching His Cross and Resurrection. This game of golf can be discouraging and unforgiving (homage to some irons I use) but it’s up to how strong your mental game will be. It’s a challenge indeed to forget about the last slice you made that landed in the other fairway. There are 18 holes, there are 18 opportunities to recover your game.

Such is the “ecclesiastesque” nature of the game – meaning – there is indeed is a time to win, a time to lose, a time for a birdie, a time for triple bogey, etc. The important thing is your commitment to yourself to improve – trophy or no trophy. Oh, did I mention that I also won the top raffle prize? A flat screen TV.

This being just my second trophy, I will now dare to share my reflections about the short course – a by-product of my reflections from the recently concluded (and golf-free) Holy Week.

Top Ten Signs that your chances of winning another Class C trophy are good.

10. You have less three puts on the par three holes. You still have them but not enough to mess up your game.
9. You are playing on a short par 66 course.
8. Despite your lousy tee shots, your second recovery shot needs a pitching wedge or less – maybe just the putter if you get really lucky.
7. You are keeping your newly bought, low CG, High MOI, perimeter weighted, optimizeable, titanium driver inside the bag .
6. You are keeping your ego inside the bag as well.
5. You are good at over-clubbing a 150 yard shot with a three wood.
4. You keep mumbling to yourself “direction, not power” – and you are still over- clubbing – hahaha!
3. The Class B players are making the same mistakes as you are today.
2. The other Class C golfer can’t play today.
And finally No 1:
1. There are only two of you classified as Class C golfers.

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