The Lay of the Troubled Golfer

His eye was wild and his face was taut
        with anger and hate and rage,
And the things he muttered were much too strong
        for the ink of the printed page.
I found him there when the dusk came down,
        in his golf clothes still was he,
And his clubs were strewn around his feet
        as he told his grief to me:
"I’d an easy five for a seventy-nine—
        in sight on the golden goal—
An easy five and I took an eight—
        an eight on the eighteenth hole!

"I’ve dreamed my dreams of the ‘seventy men’
        and I’ve worked year after year,
I have vowed I would stand with the chosen few
        ere the end of my golf career;
I’ve cherished the thought of a seventy score,
        and the days have come and gone
And I’ve never been close to the golden goal
        my heart was set upon.
But today I stood on the eighteenth tee
        and counted that score of mine,
And my pulses raced with the thrill of joy—
        [just] a five for a seventy-nine!

"I can kick the ball from the eighteenth tee
        and get this hole in five,
But I took the wood and I tried to cross that ditch
        with a mighty drive—"
Let us end the quotes, it is best for all to imagine
        his language rich,
But he topped that ball, as we often do,
        and the [ball] stopped in the ditch.
His third was short and his fourth was bad
        and his fifth was off the line,
And he took an eight on the eighteenth hole
        [needing] a five for a seventy-nine.

I gathered his clubs and I took his arm
        and alone in the locker room
I left him sitting upon the bench,
        a picture of grief and gloom;
[T]he last man came and took his shower
        and hurried upon his way,
But still he sat with his head bowed down
        like one with a mind astray,
And he counted his score card o’er and o’er
        and muttered this doleful whine:
"I took an eight on the eighteenth hole,
        [needing just] a five for a seventy-nine!"

from Collected Verse of Edgar Guest
NY:Buccaneer Books, 1976, p. 424