Golf is a tragic game. We know this. We understand this. We know how hard it can be to deal with the pain and the incomprehension and the frustration that golf can all too easily inflict. But it may help you to know that you are not alone in your despair. Tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of golfers suffer annually from golf-related malaise. In this helpful article, we present the Seven Stages of Golf, a guide to a common path out of your golf-related stress and anxiety that numberless golfers have taken before you. Read on, dear golfer, and know that you too will make it out of the golf-related abyss one day.
Shock and Denial
"There's no way I could have possibly hit it that poorly, is there? It moved like three feet! Come on! There's no way that the evidence of my eyeballs could be accurate! Okay. I will, har-de-har-har, give it one more shot. Maybe I can just get back on the fairway..." *sound of a golf ball thwacking into a tree* "Are you kidding me? It ended up behind me? This game is broken. I want a refund. Your physics engine is awful."
Pain and Anger
"This is ridiculous. I hate golf. Who could possibly have designed a game so clearly meant to torture and convulse the human spirit? Is it Satan? It's Satan, isn't it. This game is meant to give glory to the Devil. Dear fuck, I'm bad at this. Can someone hand me a kitten? I need something to punch."
"Okay. I know what I'm doing wrong here. I'm tensing up in my shoulders, topping the ball, and not swinging all the way through. So basically if I do everything about my golf game differently, I'll be fantastic at it. Can I trade in my arms for other arms? I think I'd be better at this if I had longer arms. Okay, here we go. Time to hit a good shot for a change." *thwack* *splash!* "See? Told you. Longer arms. It's in the fucking lake because my arms are insufficient. Fuck you, genetics, you ate my golf success."
"It is time I just said this out loud. I will never be good at golf. Okay? It just won't happen. Golf is not something you get better at. You don't get better at being punched in the dick. That is not a skill that you can train. There are no dick-punchedness goals to which you can aspire. God, the numbers on my scorecard are like ACT scores. There is no way this will ever be fun. Is it time to putt? Should I even bother?" *putt* *rollllllll* "Oh, look, eight feet past the hole. When will I ever learn?"
"Oh look at me, la la la la, I'm using a putter when I'm three hundred feet from the hole. Why not? I suck anyway! Yayyyyyy! I'm in the sand trap? Bring on the driver! Hack, hack, hack, hack! Fuck it--I'm digging a hole in the sand and putting the ball on the lip. You can't stop me because I'm Batman. Time for a tee shot? Okay, I'm hitting this thing as hard as I can. I barely care what direction it goes in. Duck, fools! Death from above!" *whock* "Holy hell, I'm on the green. Now why couldn't I do that when I gave a damn?"
Somewhat More Constructive Not-Caring
"I could not be less emotionally invested in the flight of this ball. It is not a thing that I care about. I'm just going to hit it in a general east-southerly direction and see what fate decides to do with it. Trees in the way? Eh, what do I care. I picked up this ball from the forest, and the golf gods have decreed that the ball must one day return to the forest. Circle of life or some shit."
"You know, golf is a cruel game. It isn't meant to bring you happiness, at least most of the time. But when you hit that one great shot--and I know you know what that feels like, even if it's only happened once--doesn't it make up for all those bad shots? It does. It really, really does. Darkness just makes the light shine brighter, amirite? Oh, c'mon, don't be like that. This game has a lot to teach us about life, about struggle and sacrifice and yes, about joy, too. This isn't so bad. Lighten up, [stage 2 person]! This is fun!"
(Rough outlines of the stages gently borrowed from "7 Stages of Grief". Be kind to parodies--they're how we deal with golf.)