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Have you ever had a dream like this? This is my recurring dream. I can’t call it a nightmare, although it’s worse than frightening. This dream leaves me unfulfilled.

All systems go

All systems go

I’m golfing. The dream picks up in the middle of a round, and I’m feeling great. Strong and supple. There are people watching, and I am fearless, because I know my game is on, and my stroke is…you know, strong and supple. It’s my turn to tee off.

I address the ball, surveying the beautiful fairway. Which is a little narrow, but that’s fine, I’m going to boom this thing, no one will care whether I end up in the rough. I start my backswing, and the ball falls off the tee.

I replace the ball, but now I realize the tee is a little high. I push the tee deeper into the ground—which has turned into one of those rubber driving range mats. Instead of a tee, I have to use a flexible built-in rubber tube.

No problem. But now when I stand up, there is a tree in the way. I mean right in the way, pretty much in my face. Crap, I’m going to have to play safe and hit around the wide trunk, not going to be able to let the big dog eat. At least not until the next shot. I shift my stance to aim right and pull the club back, but the tree branches won’t let me get any kind of backswing.

I’m frustrated, as are my playing partners, the group behind us, and the spectators. And now it turns out I have to hit through a window. Not a “tight window” but a real one, because my ball is actually sitting on a counter in a kitchen. I have to play through a house, just like Chevy Chase in Caddyshack, except there is no helpful homeowner offering me a fat stogie-doobie and cannonball chaser.

The countertop is waist-high. I’m choked up on the club, willing to take my best shot, but now the refrigerator is partially obstructing the window, and I’m going to have to hit left-handed with the rounded backside of the club, with a restricted backswing to avoid breaking a hanging light. And when I look down, the ball has become nestled into an egg carton sprouting greasy black chicken heads. The awful chicks might even still be alive. I’m pretty sure I don’t have a club for that.

Everyone else is now done with the hole. “For crying out loud,” says someone (probably Jason), “just pick it up.” I do, feeling absolutely awful.

So, is that a classic golfer’s nightmare? Or is there deeper meaning, the unsuccessful golf swing just a metaphor for a failure to launch? I’d like to know if anyone else has a similar dream, where they are ready and willing to take the shot, golf or otherwise, but just can’t pull the trigger.