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Get In Position

Published on March 21, 2023

Danielle Ripley-Burgess
This article appears in the Spring 2022 issue of the FCA Donor Publication. The FCA publication is a gift from our FCA staff to all donors giving $50 or more annually. For more information about giving, visit here.

Toby McKeehan, also known as TobyMac, hardly needs an introduction.

He’s an award-winning musical artist with multiple Grammy, Dove and American Music Awards under his belt. Most fans follow his music, not realizing TobyMac is also an athlete. Toby loves all sports; golf is a top passion. Every July, Toby teams up with FCA to host the TobyMac FCA Golf Camp.

Toby the AthletetYoTIKaY - Edited
“I always say I started the golf team at Liberty,” Toby laughed as he recounted the way that he, a player who started hitting the links with is dad in his adolescence, wound up on a college golf team. Most TobyMac fans remember that he met his bandmates from DC Talk at Liberty University. How exactly did he wind up there? It came down to his neighbor, who happened to be Coach Joe Gibbs, then-coach of the Washington Redskins.

“I had a scholarship for golf and played my first year at Florida’s Jacksonville University, but my heart was set on going to Liberty,” Toby explained. “I grew up two doors down from Coach Joe Gibbs, and I was super close to his son. One day my dad asked Coach Gibbs to call Liberty. He did, and he said, ‘You don't have a golf team. What's wrong with you? I’ve got this kid that's a good golfer and he wants to go there.’ So literally—Joe Gibbs called and the next year, they started the golf team.”

At Liberty, Toby’s music career took off, and it has kept going strong for more than three decades. His love of golf has done the same. Golf is one way Toby connects with the Lord, as well as his sons and others he disciples.

"Imagine taking a two to four-hour walk with someone, a lot of things will come out,” he said. “It's not like you're sitting at a coffee shop and everything has to come out at once. When you’re walking a golf course, everything slows down and there’s time to talk.”

His love for God’s Word and commitment to discipleship has made TobyMac a great FCA partner. That, and a mutual love of golf, summer camps and Pine Needles Golf Club.

Pine Needles
Growing up, Toby attended the annual summer camp at Pine Needles Golf Club in Southern Pines, North Carolina. In college, he returned to work as a counselor. Over the years, he formed a close relationship with Peggy Kirk Bell, a Christian woman and female golf pioneer who owned and ran the course with her husband, Bullet.

_DSC7231-3“The Bells used Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club as a place to bring ministries together and galvanize ministry efforts to reach people for Christ,” said Matt Roop, past Director of Camps for FCA Golf and current NE Florida Multi-Area Director. “Throughout my years of serving at Pine Needles, I was amazed to learn how integral the Bells’ efforts were in paving the way for FCA across North Carolina. Their love of golf and vision for using it for ministry made FCA’s very first golf camp in the late 70’s a no-brainer.”

In the early 2000s, interest and attendance for the camp had dwindled, leading FCA to discontinue it. Peggy longed for its return, and she knew TobyMac could help. During a sit-down meeting in 2010 between TobyMac, the Bells, FCA’s Chris Crockett, Eastern Tennessee/Western Virginia Area Director, and Jim Esary, FCA Golf Director, an agreement to relaunch the camp was made. Peggy was delighted to “have God back at Pine Needles” through the partnership.

In 2011, the camp restarted as the TobyMac FCA Golf Camp. Not only has Toby put his name on the annual camp that’s hosted each July, he’s committed massive amounts of time, personal finances and merchandise so campers have an incredible experience year after year.

“It is super impactful and inspiring for these kids, Huddle leaders and camp staff to spend an entire week with a celebrity (in the eyes of the“Toby is ALL IN with the campers and nearly every aspect of camp.”
-Matt Roop, NE Florida Multi-Area Director
world) and see him for who he truly is: A sinner whose been rescued by Jesus and has been given gifts of music and performance to love, serve, and bring others to Him,” said Roop. “Toby is ALL IN with the campers and nearly every aspect of camp.”

Toby greets the campers upon their arrival, and he can be found on the range during instruction and throughout the course while campers are competing. During the week of camp, he also shares his faith during Bible teaching, leads worship and puts on a concert, plays games, and by the end of the week, he says goodbye to them, by name.

“Campers truly get to know Toby,” Roop added. “There’s so much more to TobyMac than the guy we all have grown to love on stage—a real life, everyday, normal dude who has the same struggles as everyone else. Toby’s involvement has brought campers to Christ, people to the ministry of FCA, and new players to the game of golf—people who otherwise wouldn’t have had any interest.”

Toby has been involved in FCA for years, and the ministry has made a significant impact on his family. Several FCA staff and volunteers have mentored Toby and his sons over the years; two of Toby’s sons accepted Christ at FCA Camp.

“FCA and this camp have really blessed me and my family immensely,” Toby said. “There was a Huddle leader named Korky Kemp who poured into my son’s life and I can never repay him. I will forever be grateful.”

Performing songs packed with truth and grace is what TobyMac continues to do. And while fans of all ages and generations love his Untitled - Editedmusic, he continues to have a special place in his heart for the youth. He looks to FCA as a ministry that is effectively reaching young people.

“FCA gets in positions, places and conversations I can't get to anymore,” Toby said. “It can be difficult for a student to tell an adult
something he might share with someone who’s a college student. FCA is in coach-player relationships. FCA is building relationships through Huddles. They're on the campus. They're on the golf course. They're hands and feet where sometimes my hands and feet can't reach anymore. Together we are investing in the Kingdom of God, and sometimes that means putting people where we ourselves can’t go.”

Whether it’s through music, golf, or both, FCA and TobyMac are getting in position to serve the next generation of golf-loving coaches and athletes together.


Photos courtesy of TobyMac and FCA Golf