For many amateur players, nothing sounds better than playing golf for a living. While other golfers struggle to succeed at amateur tournaments, for the special few, being elite players opens up a world of possibilities.
There are professional golfers and golf professionals. Both make money with this great game of golf but in different ways.
Whether they are looking for a career in teaching golf or playing professionally, like most golfers hope to obtain, the game can provide a life for those who love it the most.
In this in-depth article on how to become a professional golfer, we’ll dive deeply into what it takes for players to create a golf career.
How to Become a Professional Golfer
When looking at how to become a professional golfer, there are three main ways to reach that goal. All three methods require the ability to play golf with the patience to put the work into the craft to become a professional in the world of golf.
Mini Tour Players
A mini tour is a lower-level professional golf tour that allows aspiring players to compete and improve their skills in a professional setting.
To become a mini tour golfer, players need to have a strong background in golf and a high skill level.
They can then look for mini tour events to participate in and try to earn their way onto a more established professional tour, such as the PGA Tour or the European Tour. Remember that competition on mini tours can be fierce, and success is not guaranteed for these other players.
For players who want to play golf professionally, they must continue working on their game. Players at this level usually have to work a steady job while pursuing this dream, making things like practice rounds or short game practice a luxury.
At this level, tournament conditions might not be as pristine as on more established professional tours and the prize money might barely pay for travel, food, and lodging.
Mini tours such as the NGA Pro Golf Tour, eGolf professional tour, Moonlight Tour, and a host of other minor events at regional golf courses, even some with a low course rating, allowing more golfers the ability to work on their own game in a tournament setting.
PGA Tour Players
When looking at how to become a professional golfer, players hoping to become a PGA Tour player will need a strong background in golf and a high skill level.
Unfortunately, only a small percentage of players have the skill set to be professional golfers, let alone make the PGA Tour, considered to be the highest professional tour in the world.
Once you have become a member of the PGA, you can then try to qualify for the PGA Tour card by participating in qualifying events known as Q-School.
Korn Ferry Q-School
Most professional golfers with grand aspirations need to gain entry to the PGA Tour through the Korn Ferry Tour Q-School. Each year, players advance through pre-qualifying events, the first of four stages to gain entry.
Then players need to advance through three other golf tournaments, including a brutal final stage that guarantees advancement to the Korn Ferry Tour for the top 40 finishers.
Once they make the Korn Ferry Tour after Q-School, they can also earn their way onto the PGA Tour by finishing in the top 25 on the Korn Ferry Tour, which is a developmental tour for aspiring PGA Tour players.
Alternate Ways to Qualify for PGA Tour Events
Professional golfers without a tour card can also participate in a PGA Tour qualifying tournament known as Monday qualifiers and win their entry through that method.
Also, golfers or athletes from other sports can receive sponsor exemptions from playing in the professional event.
Even with large amounts of prize money for all players that make the cut at PGA Tour events, the life of a PGA Tour professional golfer struggling to make consistent cuts can be an expensive endeavor.
Top College Players Can Qualify For PGA Tour
Once upon a time, the best amateur collegiate players such as Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, once considered the best players ever to play on a college team, left school once they qualified for professional tournaments.
Tiger Woods, a multiple winner of the PGA Championship, participated in many amateur tournaments, including the USGA Amateur Championship, before turning professional.
Although Woods, and most experienced golfers, needed to win those golf tournaments before reaching the PGA Tour, today’s top collegiate players will find an easier route to a professional golf career.
But now, the top NCAA players can make their way onto the PGA Tour without the need to play on mini tours or qualify through other avenues, such as the Korn Ferry Tour to make the PGA Tour.
PGA Teaching Professionals
PGA professionals first need to become a member of the PGA of America before seeking higher levels of PGA certification.
This certification program involves completing a multi-year training program and passing a series of exams to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in golf.
Once you become a PGA pro, you can pursue a career in the golf industry, such as working at a golf course, teaching golf, or managing a golf course.
Earning a Golf Course Management certification allows you to control the course conditions, including the rough’s height, quality of the greens, and depth of bunkers.
You can also earn additional certifications through the PGA to specialize in specific areas of golf, such as golf operations or golf instruction.
Individuals that earn their certification in instruction can teach members of their golf club, host youth camps, and help junior golfers become better players.
Benefits of Being a PGA Teaching Pro
The top PGA teaching pros are eligible to play in a series of qualifying tournaments that could potentially lead to playing in the PGA Championship, one of the four major tournaments for professional golf tour members.
Salaries for PGA pros average around $55,000 annually, although head pros at bigger clubs typically make more money annually. Some teaching pros supplement their income with private lessons arranged through the club where they are working.
How hard is it to become a pro golfer?
Becoming a professional golfer is a challenging goal that requires a high level of skill, dedication, and hard work.
The path on how to become a professional golfer typically involves starting at a young age and developing your skills through practice and competition.
As you progress, you will need to compete at increasingly higher levels and work your way through the amateur ranks before attempting to qualify for professional tours.
The competition on professional tours can be fierce, and not everyone who sets out to become a professional golfer will succeed.
It is essential to have a strong support system, a dedicated work ethic, and a passion for the game to have a successful career in professional golf.
How much money does it take to become a professional golfer?
When most are looking into how to become a professional golfer, players typically require a significant investment of time, money, and effort.
The amount of money it takes to become a professional golfer can vary depending on a number of factors, such as age, level of skill, and the resources available to players.
Some of the costs they need to consider when trying to become a professional golfer include the cost of training and coaching, the cost of traveling to and competing in tournaments, and the cost of living expenses while they are on the road.
For many players living on the fringe of professional events and tours, the expense
In general, it is safe to say that becoming a professional golfer can be expensive, and players should be prepared to make a significant financial investment to achieve their goals.
How long does it take to become a golf pro?
It typically takes several years to become a PGA Professional.
While most individuals finish the program in roughly four years, the exact amount of time it takes can vary depending on a number of factors, including an individual’s previous experience, background check, and education, as well as the specific requirements of the PGA Professional program they are pursuing.
Another part of professional golf pro qualification that applicants must pass to become head pros is the PAT, or player ability test. These potential golf pros need to know how to become a teaching pro and have to play golf well to post low scores on this qualifying test.
It is common for individuals to spend several years working their way up through the various levels of the PGA Professional program before earning their PGA Professional certification to work at a local golf club.