The frustrations of golf are well known. Mark Twain is quoted (although falsely (link is external)) as having said that golf is “a good walk spoiled.” The sports writer Jim Murray (link is external)said, “Golf is not a game, it’s bondage. It was obviously devised by a man torn with guilt, eager to atone for his sins.” Their humor notwithstanding, these quotes express an essential truth, namely, that golf is an emotional roller coaster for many, if not most, of the people that play it.
This is especially true for men. Many men give up the game altogether and still more, myself included, play it and suffer in the process. And yet we long-suffering golfers return to the links every weekend hoping that this time it’ll be different. We remember our few great shots, savor them, and keep playing the game in hopes of recapturing that experience, as a gambler returns to the tables chasing the memory of a winning streak, or a crackhead to the pipe looking for that magical buzz. Still, misery waits in the wings, poised like a thief in the night ready to steal our confidence and render a perfectly enjoyable activity into a nightmare.