Last year as I watched and charted the progress of the many players of all ages trying to qualify for the popular Sioux Valley Amateur Men's Match-Play Golf Tournament at the revered Cherokee Golf & Country Club - THE Northwest Iowa Golf Classic - it dawned on me that it takes a special breed of cat to pay to qualify and play tournament golf.
Also, many of the qualifiers not making the Sioux Valley Am cut get to play the next Saturday in the Sioux Valley Amateur Men's Match-Play Golf Consolation Tournament. They used to call it "The Duffers Tournament" until I raised the issue several years ago that golfers shooting in the mid-80s - usually the Sioux Valley Am cut mark - are far from "duffers." So they changed the name. You're welcome.
With that in mind, my poetic juices began to flow and I came up with "An Ode To The Qualifier."
You stand tall on the tee, in your color coordinates, ready to shoot birdie-par.
And make small talk in between practice swings, some are local, some from afar.
The task at hand is to defeat the golf course, it must be done one hole at a time.
It's man against earth and earth wins a lot, there's no reason and there's no rhyme.
Who is this guy, this tournament type, apparently confident enough in his game,
To leave his home and his family, searching for such fast-fleeting fame?
He comes in all types, this striker of balls, young and old, fat and thin, good and bad.
And, one by one, he challenges the course, some finish happy, while others finish sad.
The game in itself is a demonic episode, in the ability of body and brain,
To mesh into one and create an outcome that'll keep one from going insane.
Hit the ball in the cup, quite simple at that, forget all the stuff tee to green.
Put that last hole behind you, it's over, look ahead, no need to recall where you've been.
Here's to thee qualifier, you've seen and done it all, in a game where one pays his dues.
There's those thousands of shags, a mad wife, overdrawn, but enough for a new bag, clubs and shoes.
Each day's a new start, last round history, and leaving lets you come back again.
To tee it up the rest of your God-given life, anyone know what par is in heaven?
So stand tall on the tee, qualifier my man, let neither foe or bad luck do you in.
For you're one of a kind, and have earned the right to go for it, straight at the pin.
You might win, you might lose, but you play the game, the way it was meant to be.
And when it's all over, these tough tournament tests, maybe some fool will write an ode to thee!