Greg Norman made headlines a few months ago when he suggested that professional golfers should take a pay cut in light of the financial crisis we’re in. While it may appear inappropriate that a tournament winner will take home a million dollars for a four day tournament while thousands of people are losing jobs and savings due to a near collapse of our financial system, it’s important to remember that for every millionaire on the tour there are thousands of professional golfers who struggle and fight for every single dollar and who are losing money for every tournament they play in. “Golf On The Edge” is the book about these golfers.
“Golf On The Edge” was written by English sportswriter and journalist (and The Golf Space member) Ross Biddiscombe. Ross has been a journalist and writer for over 30 years, working for major daily newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and golf publications like Golf Monthly and Today’s Golfer. He’s a single-digit handicapper, a long time Tampa Bay Bucs fan and marathon runner.
“Golf On The Edge” chronicles one year in the life of seven golfers as they’re preparing to play in the European Q-school at the end of the year. The seven candidates approach Q-school from very diverse backgrounds, from having struggled on the tour last year and having to qualify to being a long time PGA Professional who decides to pursue the dream of a PGA card. Some are young, some are old. Some have been at the top and have fallen down and some have no idea what it takes to bridge the gap between missing the cut and taking a cut out of the winners’ purse.
Each chapter in the book covers one month in the lives of the seven players, and it provides an intimate and honest view into the lives of the players who don’t have the big endorsement contracts and who are covered in the big golf magazines. They’re on the edge of making it, on the edge of making their finances go around, and on the edge of making it big, but they’re also on the edge of sanity and on the edge of risking everything in the pursuit of their dream.
The mental aspects of these golfers’ quest for a tour card is discussed in excruciating detail, and the helplessness they feel when things go against them is covered in painful candor. How do you tell your wife, who’s been supporting your pursuit of the dream for four years, that you want to try it one more year, and that this year it will be different? How do you tell your parents, or your sponsors, or your girlfriend, to get into a hole with you with no guarantees whatsoever that you will be able to get out?
The book concludes with a detailed review of how the players do at Q-School, and it’s an interesting look deep inside the incredible pressure involved in this tournament. Many would argue that the pressure of winning a tournament when you already have your own jet is nothing compared to the pressure of Q-school, where the losers return home with less than nothing, an little more than a job laying tiles waiting for them.
Ross’ writing is eloquent, and his research effort very thorough. The seven stories are told in a very personal manner, and it’s clear the author invested a lot of passion and hope into his subjects. From his voluminous experience he’s able to convey all the different facets of success and failure, hope and despair, that go into these golfers’ journey.
Although the book covers European golfers and venues this will in no way deter you from enjoying the book if you’re not familiar with this environment. The core of the book is in the personal stories of these aspiring golfers.