Golf pros, certified by the PGA (Professional Golfer’s Association), teach others to play golf and manage golf courses around the world. If you want to pursue a career as a golf pro, it’s important to learn about the many responsibilities professional golfers often have, as well as the benefits of a career and the average golfer’s salary.
Understanding the requirements of this career can help you decide if it’s a good fit for your goals and personality. In this article, we discuss what a golf pro is, what they do, how to become a golf pro, and tips for pursuing this career.
What is a Golf Pro?
A golf pro is someone who has completed the requirements to be certified as a professional by the Association of Professional Golfers. Golf professionals often manage golf courses and provide lessons to other golfers. When managing a course, golf professionals often maintain holes, schedule golfers to play on the course, manage shops attached to the course, and assist golfers on the course.
By providing lessons, golf professionals use their experience to provide valuable information to other golfers on how to improve their form, use the correct clubs, and improve their overall golf scores.
What Do Golf Pros Do?
There are several main tasks that golf professionals perform depending on the position a golf club has hired them for, including:
Course Maintenance – Golf professionals are often responsible for making sure all holes are ready for play, which includes mowing the lawn, maintaining sand traps, and removing weeds. Golf professionals often hire landscapers to complete many of these tasks.
Pro Shop Operations – Many golf courses have attached shops, called pro shops, that sell clubs, balls, and other golf-related equipment. Golf professionals often run these stores and advise consumers on the best equipment to purchase.
Scheduling Tee Times – Golf courses have tee times, which determine when golfers can start playing a course. Golf professionals help schedule tee times for individuals and groups using the club’s scheduling software.
Teaching Lessons – PGA golf professionals are recognized by many as having expert-level knowledge of how to play golf. This makes golf professionals well-prepared to teach novice golfers how to improve their golf skills.
How to Become a Golf Pro
There are a few steps you may take to get qualified by the Professional Golf Association as a golf pro:
1. Complete a Background Check: Prospective golf professionals must complete a background check. Candidates are in charge of scheduling and paying for their background checks. Some convictions may need the submission of paperwork and an explanation to the PGA.
2. Work in a Field Related to Golf: The PGA requires golf professionals to work in a golf-related field before seeking certification. Golf assistants, golf media associates, and golf coaches are examples of golf-related occupations. To continue the certification process, you must hold this golf-related position for at least six months.
3. Pass Qualifying Courses: Before earning PGA certification, future golf professionals must review five qualifying courses, including:
- Introduction to PGM and the Golf Management Profession
- PGA History
- PGA Constitution
- golf rules
- career improvement
These courses prepare candidates to pass the qualifying test required of all golf professionals. Candidates can register to take the test at a test center in their area.
4. Complete The PAT: The PGA requires prospective golf professionals to complete the PAT, or player’s ability test, before granting golfers professional golf certification. This test consists of completing two rounds of golf. To pass the exam, golfers must achieve a minimum score.
5. Get a Bachelor’s Degree or Complete an Apprenticeship: To be certified by the PGA as a professional golfer, you must complete a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as professional golf management, or complete the PGA professional golf management apprenticeship program. The PGA’s apprenticeship program requires golfers to complete three levels of training, which include areas such as:
- tournament operations
- golf club design
- Swing Analysis
- Customer service
- swing concepts
- inventory management
The median salary for a professional golfer is $29,569 per year. There are many job titles golf professionals have while working on golf courses, such as
- head golf pro
- General Manager
- golf course superintendent
These positions can generate more earnings for golf professionals, depending on the specific responsibilities associated with the position and the club that employs them. It is important to research specific opportunities to determine the amount of compensation they offer.
Benefits of Becoming a Golf Pro
Here are some of the common benefits professional golfers experience:
Job Satisfaction: If you are looking for a career as a professional golfer, you can make a living by pursuing a passion. Flexible work schedule: Many golf professionals are able to design their own work schedules, allowing for a more flexible work-life balance. Professional golfers who are able to give lessons as their main source of income often manage their own lesson schedule.
Working conditions: If you live in a part of the world with a climate that allows for year-round golf, pursuing a career as a professional golfer allows you to work outdoors, and enjoy the weather while earning a salary.
Tips for Becoming a Golf Pro
Becoming a golf professional requires extensive knowledge of the game and the ability to perform very well when playing the game. Here are some tips for becoming a successful golf pro:
To become a golf pro, you need to practice golf as often as possible. Most pros practice their swing, hit balls, and complete full rounds almost every day. Practicing allows golf professionals to provide better coaching during lessons and provide valuable feedback when serving as a golf course manager or superintendent.
Perfect your Communication Skills
You must be able to speak effectively in order to teach others how to improve their golf skills. Teaching requires listening to other people and communicating with them in ways that are easy to understand and act on. Effective golf professionals can easily switch from talking about golf in a more advanced way to talking in ways that are more conducive to novice golfers.
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You can constantly develop your golf skills by taking refresher courses, even after earning your PGA professional golf certification. These courses can allow you to improve your ability to teach golf to others and improve your own game. Refresher courses also allow you to network with other professional golfers who can provide you with opportunities to further develop your golf career.