"Golf" and "game" are often synonymous. Why, I do not know. For if golf is such a blissful recreation, why does it produce so many nightmares? You know the ones, visions that haunt whatever dreams you hold of the perfect day or round. The inescapable feeling of fatality to these horrors. Our destinies, foretold. There are stories of a lucky few spared from the abyss, sure, but they're viewed as anomalies, not hope.
And yet, we drive ahead, for the only thing worse than these apparitions is our surrender to them. Here are a golfer's 10 biggest nightmares.
Knockoff equipment presents
The holidays, a birthday, a graduation or retirement. This is supposed to be a time of celebration. But how do you convey to that smiling face, the one who gifted this thoughtful present, that a "Large Marge" is not what you meant when asking for a Big Bertha 3-wood?
Making an ace...on your second ball
In the most liberal sense of the definition, maybe you can say you made a hole-in-one. But, deep down, you know it's as useless as owning five million Zimbabwean dollars.
You're a single, sandwiched between foursomes
Not only are you frustrated at the obliviousness of the group ahead -- particularly when there are wide-open pastures past them -- but you can feel the stare-downs from the pairing behind, wondering why they're waiting to hit their drives when it's just a single in sight. A fate worse than death.
It's wrecked Hogan, Woods, Snead, Watson, Trevino, Els, Miller, along with millions of hackers. The disease does not discriminate. You can change putters or strokes, but -- with a causality rate high enough to qualify as terminal -- few live to tell the tale.
Your dream trip, rained out
Scotland, Bandon Dunes, Ireland, Pinehurst. The amount of financial resources needed, to say nothing of the scheduling shuffling and time commitment, makes these ventures a once-in-a-lifetime sojourn for many. To have that joy wiped out by Mother Nature is proof that a) There is a God, and b) He's not fond of the sport.
You win a tournament, only to sign an incorrect scorecard
You did it. You finally did it. After years of coming up short at your club championship, you played the round you have always envisioned in your head. You reach out to grab the trophy, it's gleam as bright as the sun. And apparently blinding, for you missed your playing partner's error on the 17th hole, giving you a bogey when you clearly made bird. Guess there's always next year.
The airlines losing your sticks
There's no sadder sight than seeing a poor bastard stare at the baggage carousel, waiting for club case that he knows will never come.
You discover your best friend cheats
Arguably worse than finding out your spouse has been unfaithful. Because, statistically, your marriage is going to fail. But a best friend is forever. Catch them breaking out the foot wedge breaks your heart...and makes you want to break a club over their head.
It's time to pay up, and you realize you don't have any money in the wallet
Golfers are generally an accepting breed, no matter where you're from, what you do, and most importantly, how high your handicap is. One thing they won't tolerate, however, is getting stiffed on their bets. Getting such a reputation is almost as bad as being labeled a cheater. This is especially true if you wrong your caddie, who just had to watch that monstrosity you call a swing for five hours.
You've been to the top of the mountain and seen the Promised Land. You figured it out. How to hit the perfect tee shot on command, to make an iron shot do exactly what you want it do to, to see the runway lights on the green guiding your line into the cup. You achieved total enlightenment, if only for a second...
...and, try as you might, you can't recapture "it." Now your drives are wayward, your irons don't talk to you, and the dance floor looks like Rubik's Cube. You've lost it, and you're never getting it back.