Libro 24/52: Tales From Q School by John Feinstein

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Over the 4th of July holiday, I played 18 holes of golf at The Meadows at Grand Valley State in Michigan. Prior to teeing off, I learned the course regularly hosts Division II national championships.



This concerned me.

I’m not what you call a “good golfer.”


I love to play, but I’ve learned 6-8 rounds a year and no practice isn’t enough to score well.


At The Meadows, I started my round par-bogey-par.

And the bogey came when I missed an extremely makable four foot putt.


I began to contemplate how good I could be if I played 200 rounds a year and had some good coaching.


Could I be a scratch golfer – shoot par each time out?

Could I play professionally?

Could I be on the PGA Tour? 


Tales From Q School by John Feinstein provided answers to my questions:






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Q School is the path to qualify for the right to play on the PGA Tour. Multiple rounds of qualifiers shrink the field that begins with 1000+ golfers. The last 2 qualifiers comprise 10 rounds of golf, with 6 rounds in The Finals. It is here that 30 golfers will be awarded their PGA Tour Cards, allowing them to play in weekly PGA tournaments without qualifying week-to-week.


To place this golfing gauntlet into perspective, one golfer played the final ten rounds in 38 under par.


Ten rounds.

38 under par.

Averaged nearly 4 under par.

Missed the PGA Tour by one stroke.


Feinstein outlines the history of Q School and includes plenty of details for true golf nerds.

The author also tells tales that apply to all of us.

  • Battling for self-confidence. 
  • Being too hard on yourself.
  • Quieting the dark voices in your head.  
  • Struggling to control emotions.
  • Having the guts to chase a dream. 
  • Knowing when to quit.


This book deals with them all.

Unlike any other major sport (and no business) – Q School is a pure meritocracy.


You get what you earn.

You either play your way onto the tour… or you don’t.

You either play well consistently under pressure – or you don’t.



There is no team.

There is no help.

It’s simply up to you.


No brown-nosing with the boss.

No Ivy League degree foreshadowing your success.


And if you’re in the Top 30, no one can put you on waivers.

No one can trade your rights.

No one can cut you.

No one can bench you for a poor attitude.


For a year anyway….


Feinstein points out Q School is like The Bar Exam.

If you don’t pass the Bar, you don’t practice law.

If you don’t pass Q School, you don’t play on the PGA tour.


A critical difference is that “below average” lawyers don’t take the Bar each year.

In golf, if you don’t play well enough on the PGA Tour – you go back to Q School.

You have to prove it all over again.


(Considering the number of lawyers, we may be onto something here….)


One Tour Pro successfully graduated Q School and made it to the PGA tour.

He did really well.

He earned $574K playing golf against the best in the world.

This placed him 137th on the Money List.



It wasn’t good enough.

Too many golfers earned more than him.

So he had to return to Q School.


Tales from Q School quotes numerous players saying the same thing: Golf is a humbling game. 

There’s no one to blame but yourself. 


Businesses may do well to emulate Q School.

Let the true talent unambiguously rise to the top.

Easier said than done… but start the conversation.



As for my golfing talent?





It did not rise to the occasion.

Starting 1 over par after 3 holes, I hacked my way to 33 over par for the remaining 15 holes.



Golf is a humbling game.



Bottom Line: a must-read for golf enthusiasts, but it has plenty of Everyman stories and easy-to-read background info on golf to bring anyone up to speed. Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs will find many of these stories hit close to the pin….




Footnote: Q School as described in Tales no longer exists. Here is a good explanation of the change.

The PGA Tour’s qualifying tournament is gone, thanks to the introduction of the Tour Finals, a four-tournament series at the end of summer that will combine the top 75 money winners from the with those finishing between 126th and 200th on the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup points list.

The new format will produce 50 PGA Tour members for the following season, which starts in October with the Open. An annual December qualifying tournament will still exist, but the top finishers there will advance to the 2014 Tour.





Bradley Hartmann is El Presidente at Red Angle ( He’s reading 52 books this year. He’s behind at the moment, but there are plenty of holes left to play. 


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LIBRO 52 Challenge YTD

1. Kennedy/Nixon by Chris Matthews

2. Poke the Box by Seth Godin

3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 

NA. Buy-In by John Kotter and Lorne Whitehead

4. Education of an Accidental CEO by David Novak

5. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

6. Blood, Brains and Beer by David Ogilvy

7. Lyndon Johnson :: Master of the Senate by Robert Caro

8. 1776 by David McCullough

9. To Sell Is Human by Dan Pink

NA. Profiles In Courage by JFK*

10. Write It When I’m Gone by Tom DeFrank

11. FDR by Jean Edward Smith

12. The Cluetrain Manifesto by Locke, Searls, Weinberger + Levine

13. One Click by Richard Brandt

14. Persuasive Presentations by Nancy Duarte

NA. James K. Polk by Walter Borneman

15. The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw

16. The Illustrious Dead by Stephan Talty

17. The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk

18. Adventures of Johnny Bunko by Dan Pink

19. Thunderstruck by Erik Larson

20. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

21. Ctrl Alt Delete by Mitch Joel

22. Down & Dirty Pictures by Peter Biskind

23. Makers by Chris Anderson

24. Tales from Q School by John Feinstein

Categories: Libro 52 Challenge

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15 replies


  1. Libro 25/52: The Business of Belief by Tom Asacker « the red angle
  2. Libro 26/52: 18 Minutes by Peter Bregman « the red angle
  3. Libro 27/52: Drive by Dan Pink « the red angle
  4. Libro 28/52 :: Enough by John Bogle « the red angle
  5. Libro 29/52 :: Contagious by Jonah Berger « the red angle
  6. Libro 30/52 :: Lexicon by Max Barry « the red angle
  7. Libro 31 + 32/52 :: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman + A Very Short Tour of the Mind by Michael Corballis « the red angle
  8. Libro 33/52 :: The No Asshole Rule by Robert Sutton « the red angle
  9. Libro 34 + 35/52 :: Choose Yourself by James Altucher + The Halo Effect by Phil Rosenzwieg. « the red angle
  10. Libro 36/52 :: Inside The Box by Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg. « the red angle
  11. Libro 37 + 38/52 :: The Power of Less by Leo Babauta + Wild by Cheryl Strayed « the red angle
  12. Libro 39/52 :: Big Data by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger and Kenneth Cukier. « the red angle
  13. Libro 42/52 :: Black Irish by Stephan Talty « the red angle
  14. Libro 43/52 :: The Firm by Duff McDonald « the red angle
  15. Libros 44-50 :: The final chapter of the Libro 52* Challenge. « the red angle

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