My Golf Nightmare


24 August 2016 (Pasadena, CA) This blog post is probably more about my own personal psychology than it is about golf but golf does have a prominent role in a recurrent nightmare that I have. Take last night for instance…I dreamed I was part of a group of golfers composed of two foursomes, I was in the first group playing with two gents I rarely golf with and a unknown player. At first I did not recognize the course but I was happy to be on the first tee of a downhill par 4. Immediately I am on the 2nd tee and hit a beautiful shot just to the right of the pin about a foot away. I do not celebrate the shot and only lament that I have never had an ace. When I go to tap in my ball it is now on the left side of the pin. I make my birdie. Things get weird on the third tee, a par 4 alongside some houses. I recognize the course now as Montebello Golf Course–the first big course of my childhood. The third hole is backed-up and the group in front of us transform from a foursome to a group of six, then seven, then eight. Part of the group on the green is now throwing balls back onto the fairway so their chums can re-hit. I am getting mad. During it all, the third tee becomes enclosed with more trees. I can’t see how I am supposed to tee off with so many large branches in the way. The tee area is wet and up against a fence now. How am I supposed to hit a ball up against a fence? I see the roof of my mother’s house (it was shaped like a temple). She actually did live along the 3rd fairway when alive (but not in a temple shaped house!). Now there are hundreds of people on the 3rd fairway and I am pissed. I say “fuck it” and decide to walk off the course. My playing partners are indifferent. I pack up my golf bag but realize I have left my shoes on the tee box. I am in socks and the ground is soaked. I hate wet socks. I wake up and am startled that I have had another golf dream that begins happy and ends with my inability to successfully begin and/or finish a round. Many times my deceased father is featured. I am happy to be at a course getting ready to tee off with my dad, then I get lost or am late to the tee and my dad is gone and I am left searching for him. On other occasions I see my ball and get ready to hit only to subsequently find it up against a tree, under rocks, against a fence, or under a branch. I hate these dreams but even more so hate what they might be trying to communicate. Why happy to sad? Why the game I love?  They are cruel dreams, nightmares, and my unconscious is violently communicating with me via the subconscious. They have occurred at least once a week for the last 5 years or so. I’ve shared them with a therapist and have been told the paternal connection is deep. My dad, who introduced me to the game left me when I was 13. I stopped playing altogether 2 years later only to pick it up again when I was 28 when I reconnected with my dad. It was the only place I could see him as an adult. No graduations, no weddings, no holidays, only the golf course. Then he died suddenly and I stopped playing again for another dozen years until a friend coaxed me back to the links in 2006. For some reason, the legacy of this complex relationship with my dad and the game manifests itself over and over again in these painful nocturnal revelations. I look forward to the day (night?) when the nightmares are transfigured into nighttime recollections of the game that brings me so much happiness and I am able to stroke a ball off that first tee to a wide open fairway one last time with my dad.

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