We all know the story of Tiger Woods, Greg Norman, John Daly, and many other regulars of the PGA tour. For those who don’t, there are books full of the stories of their lives, both on and off the PGA. But what we rarely hear about are those who only glimpse the limelight of the PGA and the many others who almost make it, destined to spend their career on the nationwide tour or the various mini tours. John Feinstein introduces their often heartbreaking stories in Tales from Q School: Inside Golf’s Fifth Major.
The PGA Qualifying Tournament, termed Q School, is one of golf’s most grueling and often heartbreaking tournaments. Each fall, over 1000 hopefuls pay approximately $5000 each in hopes of capturing one of the 30 spots on the PGA tournament. For some, they are happy with the consolation prize of the nationwide tour – assuming they make it far enough to earn even those rare spots. It is one week of the year that determines their fate for the entire following year. For many, if anything strange or unusual is going to happen, this is the week when it will happen.
Tales from Q School is full of such stories - from the discovery of conditions requiring surgery, to a swollen cornea impacting vision, to signing a scorecard containing a circled bogey, a scorecard that meant the difference between the PGA tour and the nationwide tour. From young up-and-comers to veterans on the downswing, Q School is the path to and from the PGA tour, a path many hope to follow but few get the chance.
While the reading of the book is simple, there are few changes in voice or volume; it matches the stories. They are simple yet life-changing. It is somewhat difficult to follow - so many names, so many stories - and yet this, too, matches the reality of Q School: thousands of people, each there for a shot at the PGA, each with their own story or stories.
Tales from Q School will provide the listener with an appreciation for the golf profession. I know I will watch the tour with a new appreciation, especially for those new names and faces, ones that may not be seen or heard of again, except on the fairways and greens of the nationwide, mini-tours, or annual Q School.