You love the game of golf, and you are good at it. Perhaps you're a great player who regularly scores in the lows 70s and occasionally hits the 60s. You have decided you want a career in golf--not necessarily as a touring pro, but someone who can work at a golf course and give lessons and help others get acclimated to the game. If you want to become a Professional Golf Association (PGA) professional, you have to follow the right path.
Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
Hone your skills. If you are still in school, play for your high school team and play for your college team. The more competitions you enter, the better off you are. The more you play, the better your skill set will be and the better qualified you will be to help others with their game. Understand the nuances of the game and then you will be able to identify them while you are teaching them.
Learn good communications skills. The ability to talk to others and listen to them is what will determine a good teaching pro from a bad one. There are several other steps to take (see below), but the ability to communicate will make or break a PGA pro. Make eye contact, think about what you say before you say it and listen well, and you will be on your way as long as you know what you are talking about.
There are two paths to becoming a PGA professional, the first is through the PGA Golf Management University Program. Offered at 19 universities, this provides golfer's to earn a bachelor's degree in a compatible major while learning what is needed to become a PGA professional. In addition to completing coursework, golfers taking this route must also work at least 16 months of improved golf industry internships, pass the PGA Playing Ability Test, and complete the requirements of the PGA's Professional Golf Management Program.
The other path to become a fully accredited professional is through the PGA Professional Golf Management Apprentice Program. This requires passing both the Playing Ability Test and the appropriate Qualifying Tests of the PGA Professional Golf Management Program. This involves both web-based coursework and some in-person seminars. While completing this coursework, you must also have verified employment in the golf industry and complete all three levels of the Professional Golf Management within eight years of beginning level one.
Take refresher courses throughout your career once you have become certified. Everyone has their own areas of expertise. Perhaps you know a lot about teaching the short game but you don't know as much about recommending equipment. These refresher courses will allow you to gain knowledge in all areas of the game that you can usefully pass along to your students.