Books by David Gould

Released: Dec. 1, 1999

For every Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods, there is a platoon of Joe Hopefuls torturing themselves in qualifying school, the pro tour's proving ground and charnel house. Veteran golf writer Gould offers here a sympathetic, and often painfully funny, look at their predicament. Before you get to Augusta National or St. Andrews, Gould warns, the Professional Golf Association Tour Qualifying Tournament wants a donation of blood. Unless you are among the handful of the exempt—those who have won enough money the previous year—you are required to compete in six rounds of golf over a like number of days to enter the professional tour. There are 35 happy endings; the other 1200 or so contestants get to go home, wait a year, and give their nerves a chance to mend. Gould paints the school——an eerie mix of hope, free-floating dread, coiled up energy, and the knowledge that certain plot lines are destined to play themselves out"—in all its malignancy: After a host of regional and the preliminary matches, you finally get a chance to delaminate in front of your peers. You can neither run nor hide when your swing or putter or confidence falters, when your ball sheers off to explore the woods and your three-figure score doesn't fit on the tally board. Then again, Gould suggests, the school is also one of the last bastions of golfing democracy, in a sport that has become a turbo-charged money scene populated with unapproachable celebrity pros. It is a place where spectators can still feel —a subtle, personal identification with the people inside the ropes." As the stories artfully unspool, readers come to share Gould's respect for these golfers, each playing out a brief but life-shaping drama. A fine celebration of the journeyman golfer that goes a long way toward putting the game back in perspective. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen) Read full book review >