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How hard is it to make a living playing golf? PGT contributor Steve (apples2967) shares some insight from his run on the Australian PGA tour in the age of persimmon. Steve has a talent with writing as well as playing and was recently outfitted with some vintage persimmons for a week long golfing trip across the outback. He’s agreed to provide report back to PGT with his thoughts on the performance of his new persimmon, the techniques that must be employed to swing them correctly, and the feedback they provide. While we look forward to that, here’s Steve’s recollections of his tournament experience in the late 1980′s. Enjoy!

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“Back then, there was no tour school as I remember (Australian PGA), we had to pre-qualify on Mondays. So i had just finished my time in the shop, past all playing test, and I was admitted to the Australian PGA. I was able to teach, and be a club pro. To play the tournaments, I had to qualify.

Anyway, I worked overtime on my game, an embarked on the Australian Tour. First event was Palm Meadows Classic or something on the Gold Coast. At the time it was a premier event, I mean the Shark was playing. My qualifing course was a local track and I was delighted to learn that 156 players were playing for 2 spots over 18 holes. How’s that for a crap shoot. Anyway, i feel my game is sharp, so out I go. I play nice, miss a couple putts, shoot 68. …………..Miss by 3.

Oh well.

Next event was in Perth, (think LA to New York).

I decided to fly to Perth straight away, as staying on the Gold Coast for a week was kinda expensive.
So I fly into Perth on the Tuesday, find my hotel, and then go find my qualifying course. The Western Australian GC. I turn up, via cab, and was turned away as it was members day and no visitors were allowed ! Couldn’t even use the practice green.

I found a vacant field to practice all week, as the only time we could play the Western Australian GC was after 3pm on Sunday.

I play on the Monday, play great, 67, on a tough course, never seen it before. 8 spots available, I’m thinking I have a good chance. Well, as it turned out, it gets me into a playoff. 6 of us in this playoff for 1 spot. Playoff hole is tough. Its 235m 260 yard par 3, down hill, OB right, crap Left, hard fast green. I hit 3 wood, 20 foot, 2 putted for par. I finished 3rd. ! guy holed a chip, another holed a 50 footer. So they continued down the second, I continued back to my hotel, hoping I had enough to pay for the week.

Next event, South Australian Open, at the historic Royal Adelaide GC. Of course due to me being only 7 under in my 2 previous rounds, I’m not in the field, so again i need to pre-qualify on Monday. I again practice hard all week, and this time I’m allowed plenty practice rounds at my qualifing course. Again I play nice, shoot 67, 5 under, thinking that’s good. Nope, playoff again. 6 of us, for 2 spots. First hole in short par 5, I’m 20 yards short hitting my 4th. I chunk it, 20 feet short. Other 5 doing GREAT comapared to me, 1 got an eagle putt, others got great birdie puts. I’m putting for a 5 from 20 feet. Somehow I make, the eagle boy only one to make a birdie, 5 for 1 spot.

2nd Playoff Hole.

I hit a poor drive, right into trees, all others smoked it down the fairway. Somehow I dragged a lie and a shot, muscled it into the front edge, to a back pin of course. All others hit the green, much closer than me. I closed my eyes, said a prayer, mine went in, they all missed. WOW, I’m in a Tournament !!!!

Was a great feeling.

So it late Monday, I’m in the tournament, so i go over to the Royal Adelaide GC to practice. The golf course was amazing. I had never seen a course set up for a tournament. I hit a wedge to the first, the ball bounced 15 feet in the air after hitting. Wow. Hardest fastest greens i had ever faced, brutal rough, this was a stern test.

I practice my ass off all week, ready for Thursday’s first round. Being a nobody I get an early tee time off the 10th. I don’t care, I’m happy I’m in the field, and my game is sharp. My first shot was as pure as I would hope for. Played the first 9, hit all fairways, all greens, shot 2 under, I was happy. I saw a leaderboard, Mike Hardwood 6 under thru 8 . WTF 6 under thru 8!!!!!!, Was he playing the same course ? It appears he was.
I continued, played nice, shot 70, 2 under, not to bad. Well, i was 9 back, Hardwood shot 11 under. That was my introduction to professional tournament golf.

I finished that tournament 6 under par, was an also ran, pocketed $1500 and I went home. I had just spent $13000 and shot under par each round, and received $1500 in prize money. It didn’t take me long to realize, I just wasn’t good enough.”

Royal Adelaide

3 Responses to “Making it On Tour in the Persimmon Age”

  1. Avatar of St Hubbins St Hubbins says:

    Very eye-opening story, thanks Steve.

  2. [...] and Sam Torrence collect victories along with Hale Irwin, Mike Harwood (who got a mention in this PGT post), Greg Norman, and Peter [...]

  3. Avatar of Neil - NMM Neil - NMM says:

    Wow. Amazing and fun to read. I was rooting for ya! The costs were crippling.

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