If you’ve played golf at all, you understand the “golf gods” can be a fickle bunch.

They giveth and taketh away…sometimes on the same hole.

A friendly kick off a tree that lands in the fairway can be followed by a shot that is gently laid to rest in a fairway divot.

A beautifully struck approach shot to the green – seemingly destined for a crowd-pleasing tap-in – lands inches short of its target and rolls back into a greenside bunker.

As we have seen many times on the PGA Tour, an impeccable approach shot hit the perfect distance strikes the flag stick and ricochets into a nearby water hazard.

A putt holds its intended line all the way to the hole…only to lip out in such shocking and amazing fashion that you’re left standing frozen in time as if you’ve just seen the ghost of Old Tom Morris.

Situations like these are all too common on the golf course. When it happens to a playing partner, it can create fall-to-your-knees laughter and endless mockery.

However, experienced players may only show a wry and knowing smile in remembrance of their own gory experiences…and in fear of turning the eye of the golf gods back to their fragile game.

In the spirit of trick or treating this month, we wanted to share some thoughts on the scariest experiences one can encounter on the golf course, followed by the many “treats” that quickly eradicate those from our memory and keep us coming back for more.

It’s the “trick or treat” edition of GOLF TALK.

• First tee shot with people watching
(Veteran or newbie, old or young, skilled or not, public track or private facility…this is widely considered the scariest shot in golf)

• A 3-foot putt that means something

• Walking in to a new club for the first time

• Cart path only

• Hitting a delicate bunker shot with water long

• Realizing you left a club somewhere on the course

• Having one golf ball left with several holes to play

• Playing without “gimme” putts

• A dribbler off the tee

• A thunderstorm halting play

• A punch out shot that doesn’t get out

• Approaching the 18th green with a gallery watching

• A putt on the final hole for a career milestone (this should also be a “treat!”)

• Hitting into another group…on another hole

• That fourth who’s always late or cancels on the way to the course

• The dreaded shank

• Freshly aerated greens

• A six-hour round

• Calculating the “what if” after a string of good holes…almost always followed by a string of apocalyptic holes

Despite these frightening situations, we regularly return to the scene of the crime, not to be on the receiving end of more sadistic “tricks” of pain and suffering, but just the opposite; For the chance we are rewarded with the many “treats” this wonderful game can add to our goodie bag.

• Walking 18 on a beautiful day

• Making a long putt

• Hitting it close for a tap in

• A long, straight drive

• Watching a chip or putt track all the way to the hole

• Winning 2&1 (2 up with one hole to play) to take the pressure off the last hole

• New stuff! Clubs, shoes, socks, golf balls, headcover. Any, and all of it.

• Golf shop discounts

• A cold drink at the 19th hole

• Golf friends – old and new

• Golf vacations

• A closest to the pin award

• Sliding on a brand new glove

• Winning a charity scramble tournament

• The look on your child’s face after they hit one high and far

• A career low

• A lucky bounce

• The views

• First group out or last group in

• An amazing caddie keeping you informed, entertained and in play

• Golf club logos – Salem, Fishers Island, Winged Foot, Sleepy Hollow, Whistling Straits, Augusta National

Whether you’ve played golf this year for the first time or have played your entire life, hopefully you’ve experienced more of the “treats” than the “tricks.”

If you have any you would like to share, send me an email at cmgarrett19@outlook.com.

Play well!