What Does Your Golf Dream Tell You?
Have you ever dreamed about golf? I know I have and I know others who have, too. But what kind of dream did you have?
I bring the subject of golf dreams up because I recently ran across a column by someone named Tucker who wrote a piece for the Albany Times-Union about his dreams. Tucker was struck by their bizarre nature.
Set at his local country club they involved a mish-mash of Micky Mantle, a woman in a skunk suit named “Sparky,” and a quickie trip to Mexico to adopt a proffered infant.
But then, Tucker really caught my attention with this:
“In every instance of my golf dreams I spend the entire time trying to get a shot off. I may be constantly re-teeing to avoid obstacles that are constantly popping up, a flag that moves every time I look away, a hole that magically redesigns itself, or I may be looking for a club I’ve misplaced, but I have never made a golf shot in any dream.”
Whoa! How'd this guy get into my head?
Reading that immediately flashed me back to a round a couple of summers ago with two friends, Jeff Breitner and Jim Dines, both high-caliber players.
It was a pleasant afternoon, maybe a tad humid as the afternoon thunderheads roiled up at Paa-Ko Ridge Golf Club on the other side of the Sandias, east of Albuquerque. We were talking about our idiosyncrasies on the golf course as we stood on the tee of No. 15, a downhill par 5.
I had just told Breither that there have been times, many, actually, when in trying to read a putt, I have seen a mark or blemish on the green between my ball and the hole and concluded that the mark or blemish had been put there to guide me. That the mark's purpose, its only purpose, in my mind, was to serve as an aiming point. Just for me. And only for this putt. Otherwise, why would it be there?
To which Breitner, one of the best putters I know, piped up, “And I thought I was the only whack job who thought like that.”
With Dines waiting patiently on the edge of the tee for me to hit, I thought to myself, if there ever was an afternoon for a quick session of golf psychotherapy, this is it.
“Well, since we're being honest here, not to sound too weird,” I continued, “I have dreams about golf and they always involve trying to hit a golf shot from some incredibly awkward, even impossible, situation. Like on a fire escape. Or from the landing of a stairwell in an office building, or maybe in a basement with a low ceiling where I can't take a backswing, and, no matter how many times or ways I address the ball and test my backswing, I just can't figure a way to get a club on it.”
“Yeah, I've had those, too,” Breitner said. “And let me guess, you never hit the shot!”
“Whoa,” I thought I heard Dines say under his breath, which I took as a sign he too had had similar dreams.
Breitner, Dines and Tucker and I aren't unique. After reading about Tucker's dream, with a little more refinement of my search terms, I found online forums where people talk out golf dreams and analyze golf dreams, like one used by these guys in the United Kingdom.
“Sometimes it's like I'm in a walled driving range with only the front open – but then when at last I find a spot I can tee it and swing, walls appear out of nowhere to be in my line.”
“Last night I dreamed that I had cracked a drive down the middle only to find the ball resting on the seat of restaurant/diner booth. I could see the shot but couldn't get a proper swing because of the table, seats and then a few walls appeared as well.”
That last part rang a bell. “I could SEE the shot.”
So could I! How I could see the shot in a closed stairwell, I'll never know, but I could SEE how to play the shot — if only I could just swing the damned club!
I asked a psychologist friend about these dreams and he told me they are anxiety dreams, and not necessarily about golf.
The anxiety could be about work, or your job or your marriage. For a basketball player, a counterpart dream might be about not being able to take a shot at the hoop without traveling or getting trapped for three seconds by the defense.
We all have our stresses in life. While golf shouldn't be one of them, it does appear that it can be a window into them.
So, Tucker, you should know you're not the only whack job out there.
Dan Vukelich, former editor of ABQ Free Press and Sun Country Golf magazine, is editor of NewMexicoGolfNews.com. He is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America and the Golf Travel Writers of America. Reach him at email@example.com