Meet Steve Burdick
West Region (Sacramento, CA)
In this new video series, you’ll meet each of our College Golf Fellowship staff members. Today, we’re sitting down with Steve Burdick. Check out his brand new staff profile video!
CGF Staff Testimony Video
Hi, my name is Steve Burdick. I have been serving with College Golf Fellowship for the last 12 years. I live in Sacramento, California and oversee the West Coast region for the ministry. I have a wife, Janelle, of 12 years and 2 kids: a 9 year old daughter named Jessica and a 5 year old son named Zachary.
The Road to Stanford
I was introduced to the game of golf when I was 3 or 4 years old by dad. He took me out to the golf course and started teaching me how to swing a golf club. I had a great time as he took me out on the golf cart and let me hit a few shots here or there. Really, I’ve been playing golf ever since.
I played high school golf at Roseville High in the Sacramento region. I had a real successful high school and junior golf career. That eventually led me to start pursuing a career in college golf. I was recruited by several schools on the west coast. Eventually I was fortunate enough to get a scholarship offer from Stanford University, which was a dream come true for me. I ended up playing college golf for Stanford in the early 90s.
Discovering True Contentment
I had grown up going to church a little bit. I kinda knew of God and hear about Jesus, but really didn’t have a relationship with God. My youth pastor took me out to lunch one day and rocked my world with a question that I’ll never forget. He said, “Steve, if all the success that you’ve had with golf- a scholarship at Stanford- and you’ve been amazing in the classroom…if all that was taken away, would you still be content in life?” And that rocked my world. For the first time I thought, “maybe I wouldn’t be content.” My performance is what dictated whether I was content and satisfied with life. He asked me another question, “Hey, do you want to start spending some time together and find out what true content in life was all about?” That really was intriguing. And so I started meeting with him and started understanding what the bible had to say about faith and life.
Glorifying God in Golf
So as I got to Stanford and I had really built a firm foundation with my relationship with God my senior year in high school, I got involved with Athletes in Action and there was also a ministry called College Golf Fellowship that I came in contact with one of the staff guys who lived in Texas. There wasn’t anyone out on the West Coast at that time. I came in contact with a guy named Rik Massengale and was blown away that there was a ministry to college golfers. I continued to grow in my faith and really was able to see God use me in some unique situations as I got involved with leadership, leading Bible studies, sharing my journey with other athletes, and connecting with them. Really, I saw God take off in my life and use me in some unique ways. I just thought, “Man, this is so cool. I can glorify God though the game of golf.”
Winning the National Championship
My junior year at Stanford was a really exciting year. I had just come off being an all-American my sophomore year. Casey Martin and Notah Begay III just came off a redshirt year. We had a really good golf team. We had a great year. We weren’t the best team in the country, but we were definitely in the top 10. We ended up surprising everybody.
We went down to Stonebridge Country Club in Dallas, Texas and ended up winning the National Championship. That was unbelievable. Notah Begay shot 62 in the second round. Will Yanagisawa shot 64 in the final round. I played pretty solid- my score counted 3 out of 4 rounds. Really just had an unbelievable experience. That went right into our senior year. That was the year that Tiger Woods came in as a freshman. We had 4 returning all-Americans, with Tiger leading the way. We really just had an unbelievable year. We dominated the fall semester. Then we got into the spring semester, and unfortunately I started playing poorly. As anyone who has struggled on the golf course would know, you start loosing confidence, second guessing yourself, listening to everybody trying to fix your golf swing.
“Now, I’m Being Benched.”
All of a sudden my game spiraled down and down and down. It got so bad that I was shooting score that I hadn’t shot since I was back in junior golf days. My coach then sits me down in his office and he says, “Hey, Steve. I’m really sorry, man. You’ve been such a great help to this team for four years. But I’m not going to be able to take you to the National Championships this year.
I remember just walking out of his office just devastated. I was thinking, “Oh my gosh, I played in every tournament since my freshman year and now, I’m being benched. And I can’t even defend the national championship.”
I remember leaving my coach’s office and driving up into the hills behind the Stanford campus and just crying out to God and just praying, “God, why? Why is this happening to me right now?” And I remember just flashing back to my senior year in high school when my youth pastor asked me that question, “Would you still be content if all these successes you’ve had were taken away?” And really I was being put to a test. My faith was being shaken.
“Am I Going to Trust God?”
All of a sudden I had to say, “God, am I going to trust you? Am I going to be able to say that my contentment was truly in You and what you think of me- not what others think of me or how I’ve performed on the golf course or in the class room or whatever it may be?” And I remember a verse that came to me at that point was Proverbs 3:5-6. It says:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”
So I had to ask myself that question. Was I going to trust myself – lean on my own understanding – or am I going to trust God? He had a better plan for my life. Because if It was up to me, I would have gone on and won another national championship and end up having a great career as a professional golfer. But God had other plans. In fact, that’s why I now work with College Golf Fellowship. I know what its like to be a college golfer. I know what it’s like to have success. I know what it’s like to have struggles out there. I want to encourage other young men to be able to say, “what is my identity placed on, what is your contentment in life based upon? Is it based upon your success on the golf course that may let you down, or is it placed upon something much more secure—a relationship with the God who created you for that purpose.”
Investing In College Golfers and Coaches
So my absolutely favorite thing I get to do with College Golf Fellowship is come alongside young, college golfers and coaches and really, just help them process life and really break down the misconceptions of the Christian faith. So many people dont have a faith background. Or maybe they’ve been to church off and on in their life, but they really don’t understand what a true relationship with God is. They may understand what “religion” is, but they don’t understand the gospel. That Jesus came into this world, and died for them and made a way for them to have a relationship with God. And that we don’t have to do a bunch of stuff to earn God’s acceptance. We are accepted because of what Jesus did. And now, we get to respond to that by faith. And trust God. And enter into this relationship that brings life and joy and hope in this world.
Steve Burdick and College Golf Fellowship
So I decided to come on staff with College Golf Fellowship in 2001. And really, it was a unique place where I could merge the talents and gifts that God has given me in golf and the passions and desires he had given me in ministry. To be able to merge those two worlds together and come alongside college golfers and coaches, and really encourage them to think about the big picture and understand, “What does golf and faith and life really look like?”
And so, really, it’s a great way to merge those two worlds of golf and ministry together. And I just feel so blessed to serve with College Golf Fellowship.
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