The beast and the five towers

We all come to face the beast at some point in our lives, whether figurative or literal. There is the Blue Monster at Doral. Every course has a long par five to tempt the lengthy. My second dream from 18 years ago starts as a struggle to climb a cliff to reach a vista over a vasty plain. I am aided in this struggle by several able companions. We reach the plateau, and climbing up, we see a giant beast, four-legged with a slug-like sheen, corpulent and supported by timbers which restrain it. It had a stout neck and a maw that was wide like a hammerhead but rounded and meatier. It’s mouth gaped passively. There were towers, numbering five, each ending in a diving platform. Thousands if not millions of men and women queued in valley below, each rising up one of the towers and jumping into the mouth of the beast. One of my companions turned to me and said in that otherworldly voice, “who can resist the beast?” My other companions made the decision to descend and join those endless lines. Small mobs dressed like Roman soldiers roved the valley finding people who hadn’t made up their minds and dragging them into one of the lines. I stood on the precipice with a choice.

This is the question when faced with a seemingly insuperable opposing force. To join the crowd, to resist, or to flee (to fight another day). Golf offers an infinite variety of responses to this question. Pride, desire for glory, these trick you into one of the lines.

There are five golfing towers of misfortune: lying to yourself, lying on your scorecard, lying about your handicap, rolling the ball to improve your lie, and giving yourself putts. Given 600 yards to the green, you can hit four 7-irons and good putt. Two putt it or miss the green and chip it close, and leave with a bogey, you can live to fight another day (or another hole).

Golf is about leaving the golf course with your integrity intact. It’s about being honest about your daily labors. It’s about giving yourself to the process knowing that the process is an enlightening one.

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