Sooner or later, a man can’t take it anymore.
He hits one too many three-hoppers to the red tee.
He gets worn out producing a scorecard with numbers normally found on the cable HD channel guide. (My specialty, the Comedy Channel stretch of holes: 8-6-8).
He is fed up being the laughing stock of his foursome. Words hurt, you know. Not as much as grinding a 5-iron into a tree root. But close.
And he must at some point ask himself: Do I really want to keep on playing/enduring golf?
One day a couple years ago I took the clubs out of the trunk, stood them up in the garage and never touched them again. They remained there like unused Christmas decorations, a fertile cobweb garden, until my son took them away to be ignored by another generation. I hope those sticks die a lingering, painful death.
Those many millions who continue to play through the singular level of frustration that golf breeds, I salute you. You are the better people.
What was the breaking point in my case? Can’t say for sure.
Was it the time I interrupted a dog relieving itself on a fairway with a drive that hit it square in the hindquarters? That would have been greatly pleasing had the beast been 300 yards downrange instead of 130.
Or the time I strung together such a colorful necklace of epithets that it became a part of lore? One of the fellows in our group adopted a portion of the tirade as the name of a tournament we would contest in the future. He made up a trophy and everything — a large figure of Godzilla with a few offensive words tacked onto its base.
Or the only time I visualized a shot that I was actually able to pull off: I told everyone I was going to hit that pipe that was no more than two feet off the ground just in front of the tee box — an almost impossibly feeble effort. Nailed it.
Couldn’t have been when I punched a hole in the roof of a cart because that was many years before I quit.
Whatever, my name is Steve, and I have a golfing problem. It has been two years since my last round.
The peace that has come with quitting is difficult to explain. Think about the relief of removing a popcorn kernel from between your teeth. Now multiply by 500.
There is a contradiction at work here. I really enjoy watching the game being played well on television. Covering golf for me is a professional pleasure. But the thought of ever playing again is too painful to even consider.
Somehow, the game survives.