While many of us are enjoying this time of year in Florida for recreational golf, professionals on major American tours come through here to fight for their livelihoods.
In the last few weeks, early qualifying stages of PGA Tour qualifying school (q-school) have been contested at several locations around Florida, while the 50-and-over Champions Tour held its q-school final at TPC Eagle Trace in Coral Springs.
This week it’s the LPGA’s turn, as its q-school final is contested at LPGA International in Daytona Beach. Aspiring LPGA pros will play five rounds, and the course is closed to the public from Nov. 26-Dec. 2 to account for tournament rounds and practice.
Admission is free, and it’s a great way to see true pressure-packed golf up close. It is one thing to attend a regular Tour event and watch players grind to win, quite another to watch them playing for their lives. Players who don’t advance from q-school end up on minitours or in “real” jobs, biding their time to hopefully try again next year.
The golf itself isn’t always pretty; there are many stories about players missing a spot on a Tour with a last-hole bogey or worse. To see agony and ecstasy side-by-side, just hang out by the scoreboards as numbers come in on the last day. But others flourish under the pressure, shooting some great scores despite the adversity.
Check it out if you’re near Daytona Beach this week.