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tour tales & true viewpoint

Grant Dodd
The continual rise of average
Sandhurst, a solid, contemporary golf
course measuring a tick under 6,300
metres. The halfway leader was 12-under
par, meaning that everyone who made
the cut was within eight strokes of the
lead with two rounds to play. For what
is effectively a secondary tour event and
field, such statistics are a stark reminder
of the standard of play now required to
simply gain entry to the ground floor of
tournament golf.
Ian Poulter (left, with Come Sunday evening, if you had
Justin Rose) did a tough managed to put together some solid
apprenticeship before enjoying
the spoils of success. play to post 14-under par and finish
in a tie for 15th you would have been

hilst trying to bring some course that you didn’t have to pay rewarded with $1,400 in prizemoney,
order to a computer filing international and domestic airfares, inclusive of GST. It is hard to imagine
system rapidly regressing accommodation, ground travel, entry anyone not sleeping in their own bed for
into anarchy, I chanced fees and food for the period in uber the week being able to do much better
upon the first article that I wrote for expensive continental Europe. Given than breaking even financially with even
Australian Golf Digest, way back that all expenses were coming out of my modest spending habits.
in 2002. pocket, the ledger in this instance simply Few make the transition from amateur
Titled, “The road less travelled,” it was recorded one result – a loss. ranks to the PGA Tour in a single leap,
a travel diary-cum pro golf exposé of a There’s an old saying that there is no and development tours all over the world
three month tour of duty on the European such thing as easy money in tournament form an essential part of the schooling
Challenge Tour. A momentary glance golf, a maxim bought into sharp refrain process for those with the resolve to fight
quickly became a self-indulgent diversion by stories such as this. If anything, their way from the ground up. Names
from more pressing matters. For better this circumstance has magnified in like Ian Poulter and Mark Calcavecchia
or worse, the time capsule nature of old recent years. With the modern golf ball are just two who did the hard yards early
publications offers a strangely compelling making golf easier to play at the elite in their careers, pulling themselves up to
window of retrospectivity through which level and more young players dedicating the elite level through sheer willpower,
to view the recent past. themselves to pursuing a career in the self-belief and dogged determination.
More so, it seems, when that past is game from an early age, the sheer weight But those qualities are in plentiful
yours. As the emotional highs and lows of numbers seeking fame and fortune supply amongst pro golfers. And
embedded into each page morphed into in professional golf has seen the median quantifiable or not, in isolation, resolve
voyeuristic fodder, the starkness of one standard of play rise substantially over has never been known to pay an airfare
detail in particular grasped the attention. the past decade. or hotel bill. The passage of time has a
In a summation of the state of play As a result, 36-hole cut scores are now tendency to cast a rosy pall over the past,
midway through the tour, I noted that regularly in the red, with the separation but even the glow of reminiscence can’t
over a four-week period, my cumulative between the leader and the cut line also mask the brutal economics of life for pro
score against par was 31-under. Solid noticeably compressed. If you want a golf’s underclass.

playing, particularly by the standards of representation of how this condition

the day, but sobering in the face of the manifests itself on the pro golfer P&L Grant Dodd played in the 1997 and
monetary compensation it afforded. sheet, then the 2010 Victorian PGA 1998 British Opens and is now a
The total return for the four-week’s Championship might well be exhibit A. commentator for golf broadcasts on One
work was €5,800. A more than fair The cut in the $110,000 event held and Ten. To ask Grant a question, visit
monthly salary for most, providing of in February was 4-under par, around

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