Hi Larry -
Congratulations on being the first reader to submit a “golf anxiety” dream to Ask the Dream Doctor. I’m willing to bet eighty bucks, though, that you’re not the only golfer (or commodities trader) who has had this dream!
“Performance anxieties” often are represented in dreams through test-taking metaphors. If we’re worried about our ability to perform some task or assignment in the real world, we may dream that we are back in high school or college, and that it is the day of a big test or final exam. Suddenly, incredulously, we realize that we completely forgot about the test! We are totally unprepared! Then we spend the rest of the dream racing to find the classroom. When we get there, dressed only in our underwear, we realize that all the other students are leaving. We missed the exam! As we wake up, we are distressed (it’s never a happy dream) that we have to repeat another year of school to graduate.
The sequence of events in your dream follows a similar pattern. First you are playing in the big leagues. (Graduation day). You and Tiger are near to victory, and it’s an easy putt to drop. (Will you pass the test?) Once you stand over the ball though, it’s a whole different game. (Nerves). The ball is bigger than it first appeared to be - and there are complications. (There always are). A box sits on the ball. (A reference to the office?) You move the box, the ball moves, team is penalized. (Failed the exam!) Tiger is bummed and throws his club. (You did not impress your superiors). You miss the shot anyway. (Nerves again).
Your second dream carries on this “graduation” theme by having you caddy for a series of poor golfers. In a direct reference to your work, however, you also are told that you have to tutor Terrel, the office clerk, in the skills of caddying. As the dream draws to a close, you protest the absurdity of the situation. “But I’ve already been a caddy! I don’t need to do this anymore! I make plenty of money!”(Translation: I have graduated from this type of work!)
Just as “test-taking” dreams don’t reflect anxiety about math or history classes taken ten years ago, your golf dreams likely have little to do with the game itself. Instead, a rough day on the golf course appears to be serving as a metaphor for a rough day at the office. If you’ve been worried about closing a deal, making it into “the big leagues,” or how your co-workers rate your performance, any of these concerns could explain your dreams. It is significant to note, however, that in your second dream, an ambivalence appears about whether you even want to play in “the big leagues.” You write, “Who needs to put up with high strung members in a tournament, when I can make almost the same money and just walk around?”
What’s the message of this dream? If your job stresses you to the point where you wonder if it’s all worth it, why don’t you consider a different line of work? Your dream suggests you feel you could make almost the same amount of money elsewhere - and you wouldn’t have to put up with the high strung work environment. If you decide you do like your job - and you’ve just been feeling “off your game” recently - remember that even the pros (especially the pros) have to play through the rough spots.