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How to become a pro golfer

The time period “golf professional” will get thrown round loosely lately.

In actuality, you might resolve to enter a match tomorrow as knowledgeable, even for those who don’t have any diploma or enjoying expertise. I might argue that quite a lot of excessive stage amateurs may even beat quite a lot of “professionals” on any given day.

See more: How to become a pro golfer

However there’s a huge distinction between a PGA Tour professional, a mini tour professional, a membership professional, and a educating teacher.

Relating to being knowledgeable in golf, you may be pondering,

  • “Is it arduous to turn out to be a golf professional?”
  • “What are the several types of golf professionals?”
  • “What diploma do it’s essential be a golf professional?”

Or, you may even surprise, “Is it too late to turn out to be a professional golfer?”

By the tip of this publish, you’ll perceive what it takes to make it as a professional and extra about working within the golf trade.

Understanding the Forms of Golf Professionals

Let’s begin by breaking down the kinds of golf professionals. Typically, there are:

  • Head Professionals
  • Instructing Professionals
  • Mini Tour Professionals
  • Non PGA Tour Professionals
  • PGA Tour Professionals

Head Skilled

Each golf membership, personal or public, has a head golf skilled. These people run the operations of the golf course and ensure issues run easily.

Right here is the method to turning into a golf skilled.

Step 1: Change into an Affiliate Professional

Earlier than going straight from avid golfer to golf professional, it’s a must to work your means up. Step one within the course of is to finish the PGM Affiliate Program.

To turn out to be a member, everybody should:

  • Cross a background verify.
  • Cross a written, qualifying take a look at.
  • Employed in an eligible place.
  • Make it via the participant capacity take a look at (PAT).

The written take a look at is an outline of the sport and requires a very good quantity of finding out. It covers issues like the principles of golf, historical past, and extra. Whereas the PGM additionally requires you to be employed in an eligible place (not essentially within the golf trade). Examples embrace match director, hospitality, advertising and marketing, and so forth.

The toughest a part of this course of is the participant capacity take a look at. The PAT is a 36-hole enjoying take a look at the place all of your expertise are examined in a one-day marathon of golf.

In response to the PGA, “With a view to go the 36-hole PAT, you have to obtain a 36-hole rating inside 15 photographs of the course score. For instance, if the course score is 72, the goal rating for the 36 holes could be 159 (72 x 2 – 144 +15 – 159).”

Lower than 20% go this take a look at as nerves are excessive and let’s get actual, it’s golf! Something can occur.

Step 2: Climb the Ranks

After you turn out to be an assistant golf skilled, then you possibly can work your means as much as head golf professional. There are extra formal assessments required and naturally, golf golf equipment need you to achieve expertise for a couple of years as properly.

Then, it comes all the way down to discovering the suitable gig, making use of, nailing the interview course of, and taking the reins as the pinnacle professional. From there, you possibly can play in skilled occasions, qualifiers, and even train as properly.

Instructing Skilled

The following sort {of professional} is named a educating professional. This will likely or might not be the identical individual at your native golf membership. Some work full-time within the clubhouse, establishing tournaments, serving to members, and so forth. and nonetheless train too.

Whereas different golf programs may have two completely different professionals. One for the operating of the membership and one for the educating facet of the sport.

A educating skilled has to undergo the identical course of listed above. Moreover, they should register for an apprentice place on the PGA web site.

Then, they should work via three ranges within the PGA program and acquire work expertise as properly. This may be earned via a university diploma and dealing beneath a PGA skilled.

Clearly, you additionally should have a powerful want to assist different golfers enhance their sport too. Being a educating professional is way completely different from the operation facet of issues as it’s a must to discover shoppers, construct relationships, and assist them get outcomes.

Additionally, simply since you’re a head professional or educating professional doesn’t essentially imply you’re an elite participant. Certain, it’s a must to go some enjoying assessments and also you received’t doubtless be a hack, however that doesn’t imply you possibly can break par any given spherical.

Whereas some professionals positively have a ton of sport, quite a lot of them are strong gamers however don’t get out on the course a ton. Sadly, quite a lot of guys are so busy working and educating, they don’t get a lot time to work on their very own sport. Or, they’re so “golfed out” that they don’t really feel like hanging round their office rather more than they should.

Mini Tour Golfers

The following sort of golf professionals are referred to as mini-tour gamers. Being a mini tour professional doesn’t require any diploma, apprenticeship, or formal coaching. As a substitute, all it’s a must to do is have a low handicap and register for an occasion close to you.

Mini excursions aren’t in each a part of the nation and are typically in main cities to draw extra golfers. A number of the locations embrace:

  • Texas
  • Florida
  • Arizona
  • California
  • North Dakota

Relying on the tour, typically amateurs are allowed to compete and as an alternative of profitable cash, they get credit score or reward playing cards. In case you’re an novice golfer who needs to make it to the large leagues, mini excursions are a good way to achieve expertise.

Skilled Golfers

The following step up from the mini excursions are skilled golfers who compete on excursions under the PGA Tour. These occasions are a lot bigger than mini tour occasions and provide a lot larger payouts as properly.

Some examples embrace the Mackenzie Tour, PGA Tour China, Latin American Tour, and the Korn Ferry Tour.

PGA Tour Golfers

The ultimate set of professionals are skilled golfers who competed on golf’s greatest stage, the PGA Tour. The most effective male opponents on this planet compete on the PGA Tour. It’s the protection that almost all watch every weekend and is probably the most elite gamers on the planet.

Do you know that the PGA Tour solely has 125 full-time gamers every year?

That’s proper, of all of the 1000’s of extremely certified golfers, solely 125 have full-time enjoying privileges on the PGA Tour. Whereas solely 125 have full-time enjoying privileges, there are tons of extra that compete primarily based on previous exemptions and sponsor exemptions too.

For instance, a participant may lose his PGA Tour card one 12 months however nonetheless have part-time privileges primarily based on previous exemptions. Or, a participant may get a sponsor’s exemption to compete as properly in sure occasions too.

Easy methods to Change into a PGA Tour Participant

Now that you’ve a greater understanding of the several types of professionals, let’s undergo the method of turning into a PGA Tour skilled. For therefore many gamers, that is the last word dream come true. It’s why so many gamers grind for years and in lots of instances, many years to make it on the largest stage on this planet.

However I’ll be the primary to say, it’s not a straightforward path… removed from it.

I do know as a result of I give up my company job in 2017 at 29 years previous to chase the professional golf dream. I knew I used to be late to the occasion at practically 30 years previous, however I figured my goals have been price a shot.

Up to now few years, I’ve realized a lot in regards to the course of and wish to share the precise steps that it takes. Just like turning into an elite participant in any sport like basketball, baseball or soccer, there are solely so many spots accessible.

For instance, within the NFL, there are solely 32 quarterback positions. With golf, there are solely 125 spots that 1000’s of gamers need.

Whereas the remainder of the extremely expert gamers compete on smaller excursions just like the PGA Latin America, Canadian Tour, and Korn Ferry Tour.

Right here is the step-by-step course of to go from novice golfer to PGA Tour participant.

Step 1: Get Actually Good

You may be pondering, duh, after all. However critically, the extra my sport improves, the extra I understand how far it’s from PGA Tour type.

Right here’s the factor, golf is wildly aggressive and individuals are beginning this sport youthful and youthful. It’s as much as you to have the self-discipline to discover a coach, work endlessly on all elements of your sport, keep away from accidents, and never burn out. As you will note, that is simpler mentioned than executed.

Step 2: Compete in Novice Occasions

As soon as your sport feels strong in pleasant competitors, it’s time to register for a proper match. For instance, in Arizona, I repeatedly compete via the Arizona Golf Affiliation. Every state has one thing like this and makes it simple for golfers who need formal competitions to compete.

Every match is barely completely different from the others. The venues change ceaselessly, whole price varies, whole variety of days, and a few have cuts as properly. You wish to affirm this earlier than enrolling in each match.

Apart from native novice tournaments, you may as well be a part of USGA occasions. These embrace tournaments such because the US Open, US Novice, US Mid-Am, and US 4-Ball amongst others.

These tournaments carry the very best gamers on this planet collectively to compete at a nationwide stage. Whereas some gamers are exempt from qualifying, most golfers have to undergo native qualifying to make it to those prestigious tournaments.

For instance, if you wish to compete within the US Novice, it’s essential compete in an area qualifier first. These are 36 gap occasions the place solely 2-4 (or so) gamers transfer on to the large occasion out of a discipline of 100 guys.

When you get to the US AM, then there’s a stroke play 36 gap occasion with a lower. After that, the match play portion begins. It’s fairly a course of, form of like turning into a professional.

Novice Golf 101

It is a transient overview of the method of registering and competing in novice golf occasions. For many golfers, that is the place most of them keep. And there’s nothing flawed with that.

Tons of golfers from their teenagers to 60+ compete in novice golf occasions their whole life. Formal occasions are a good way to check your expertise, meet new folks, play towards nice golfers, and compete at enjoyable programs.

I’ve performed in tons of of days of novice tournaments the previous few years and might say it’s probably the greatest experiences on the market. In case you love the sport and wish to preserve getting higher, enroll in some native occasions to see how your sport holds up in competitors.

Until you may have a powerful want to turn out to be knowledgeable, going from novice to skilled isn’t normally price it. The match prices soar, the competitors is much more troublesome, and you may’t compete in novice occasions as a professional.

Step 3: Give Up Your Novice Standing and Go Professional

In case you made it to step three, you clearly wish to make golf your profession. If and if you constantly excel at novice golf occasions, the subsequent step is popping professional.

That is the step the place most individuals get confused. In contrast to different sports activities, there isn’t a formal course of to turning into knowledgeable, as you aren’t drafted by a group.

You merely resolve that you’ll compete as knowledgeable golfer in occasions as an alternative of an novice. Until you’re Tiger Woods at his “Good day World” press convention, it’s nothing loopy.

As a substitute, you discover a skilled occasion and register. As I discussed, mini tour occasions are rather more costly than novice occasions as a result of they pay out gamers. That is one other stage the place quite a lot of guys get caught because the competitors will increase drastically and making a revenue isn’t simple.

Step 4: Go to Q-Faculty

As you construct your skilled golf resume within the mini excursions, the subsequent step is to go to Q-school. Up to now, the journey to the PGA Tour was a lot completely different from what it’s immediately.

Now, to get to the PGA Tour, it’s a must to first undergo the Korn Ferry Tour. However previously, you might register for Q-school, grind out six days of match golf (sure, six days), and will make it to the large leagues.

However as golf grew to become extra fashionable and aggressive, so that they needed to modify the method. Now, golfers should go to Q-school to earn a spot on the Korn Ferry Tour.

The Q-school course of is kind of a grind, too. It’s made up of 4 levels over the course of 4 months. That’s proper, 4 months! I’ve some private expertise right here as properly and would like to share the way it works…


Step one for many golfers is to undergo the pre-qualifying stage. You may register as knowledgeable and even compete as an novice (though registration is similar worth). In 2019, I registered as an novice as a result of I needed to see how my sport stacked up.

All you do is discover a location that you simply wish to compete in and enter your bank card data. It prices between $2,500 – $3,000 only for the occasion, to not point out journey and airfare prices.

Pre-qualifying is a 3-day, no lower occasion. Every venue selects a sure variety of gamers and ties to maneuver on to the primary stage primarily based on whole measurement of the sphere.

For me, I registered for a website in Nebraska because the course appeared enjoyable and I needed an journey. The course was brutal; 7,000+ yards, excessive humidity, thick tough, and greens that rolled a 12 on the stimpmeter. After taking pictures 71-73-75, I ended up lacking the primary stage by two photographs.

Whereas I used to be dissatisfied, I can say it was probably the greatest experiences of my life. It taught me a ton about my sport and realized methods to play beneath stress. However I additionally realized what a grind it was for therefore many and will see why so many guys burn out over time.

1st Stage

In case you transfer on to the subsequent stage, the method could be very comparable and occurs in late September or early October. Register and pay for the primary stage, which can also be a 3-day, no lower competitors. Count on competitors to be much more aggressive right here!

2nd Stage

In case you transfer on to the second stage in late October or November, properly executed. There are solely 3-5 websites for the second stage within the nation and for those who make it via, you get to finals.

Last Stage

Lastly, in November or December every year, it’s the finals. It is a 4-day, no lower occasion the place golfers grind it out. The aim is to complete within the prime 25 spots to safe their spot on the Korn Ferry Tour.

In case you end 26-50, not all is misplaced although. You continue to get conditional standing, which implies you possibly can play in a choose variety of occasions.

All in all, it’s a protracted course of simply to make it to the Korn Ferry Tour, not to mention the PGA Tour.

Alternate Route

The Korn Ferry Tour is slightly below the PGA Tour and quite a lot of guys trip. But when a participant isn’t prepared for the Korn Ferry Tour, they’ll go one other route. This feature is normally higher than grinding it out on mini excursions.

The alternate route is competing on one other excessive stage tour just like the Mackenzie Tour (Canada), Forme Tour, PGA Tour China, or the PGA Tour Latino America.

Step 5: Compete on the Korn Ferry Tour

When you make it to the Korn Ferry Tour, then it’s essential compete and journey loads. The aim is straightforward: make it to the finals and end within the prime 25. In case you do, you turn out to be one of many fortunate guys to advance to the PGA Tour. In case you end between 25-50, you continue to get conditional standing and can get an opportunity to make your PGA Tour debut as properly.

How to Play on the PGA Tour

Step 6: Change into a PGA Tour Participant

After you end within the prime 25 within the Korn Ferry Tour finals, you get your elusive PGA Tour card. For each participant, this is among the most essential days of their lives. It’s the fruits of blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifice to chase a aim.

Step 7: Keep on the PGA Tour

Attending to the PGA Tour is wildly spectacular and requires extra grit and dedication than most individuals understand. However simply since you turn out to be one of many fortunate 125 gamers, doesn’t imply you get to remain there. You continue to have to play nice golf and compete towards the very best gamers on this planet, otherwise you danger dropping your card.

Some gamers final years, whereas others make it as soon as and by no means make it again to the large stage. The reality is, high-level golf is a grind. The journey schedule is rigorous, the programs are tremendous difficult, and let’s not overlook, it’s golf.

Even for the very best golfers on this planet, the game is extraordinarily unpredictable. So many gifted guys lose their playing cards due to too many missed cuts, accidents, and lack of confidence.

Successful an occasion actually helps you keep within the image. Every match comes with a giant verify, however the very best half is the safety from profitable. For instance, for those who win an occasion just like the Gamers Championship, you get:

  • 5-year exemption on the PGA Tour.
  • Three-year invite to play the Masters at Augusta.
  • Three-year exemption to play within the Open Championship and PGA Championship.

However different guys make a cushty dwelling with out profitable usually. An important instance is Charles Howell III, who has solely received 3 times however made a staggering 38 million {dollars}! Due to constant prime 10 finishes, he’s secured his future on the tour with out profitable repeatedly.

Last Ideas

The street to the PGA Tour isn’t simple, however it’s a dream price chasing for those who love golf. Sadly, most gamers who go after this aim, by no means make it to the large stage.

My greatest piece of recommendation if you wish to work in golf or chase the dream is to ensure you at all times love the sport.

Faculty golf burnt me out and I took six years off the game that dominated my adolescence. However I fell again in love with it and have now performed golf greater than I may ever think about.

Simply keep in mind, it’s a sport and may at all times be enjoyable above all else. However for those who like it like I do, then it may be price pursuing a golf profession or working your means as much as compete with the very best guys on this planet.

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