Becoming a Golf Professional

By Steve Silverman

Becoming a professional golfer can seem like a daunting task. Millions of people in the United States and around the world play golf, but the openings on the tour are few and far between. However, a young golfer with excellent skills should not be daunted by the odds. Instead, aspiring pros should pursue the dream with passion, hard work and a strong mental attitude.


Difficulty: Challenging
Step 1
Begin your journey by joining your high school golf team and playing in as many competitions outside of school as possible. The idea of becoming a pro golfer means you are going to put your skills up against others'. It's quite natural that you will be nervous. However, the more tournaments you participate in as a youth, the better the advantage you will have as you get older.
Step 2
Play golf in college. This is the route that many Professional Golf Association pros followed to kick-start their careers. College golf is extremely competitive, and going up against the best collegiate golfers will let you know where you stand. At the same time, play in as many of the top amateur tournaments as you can qualify for.
Step 3
Take lessons from the top teaching pros to learn your strengths and weaknesses and hone your skills. The best tour players all have "swing coaches" who will help them on a round-by-round basis as they play in a tournament or at least consult with them regularly. It's not enough just to score well and think you can be a touring pro. You need to constantly work on your game, understand your mechanics and get better.
Step 4
Go to PGA qualifying school where you can qualify for the Tour, the feeder tour to the PGA Tour. To qualify for the Tour, you must reach the third stage of the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament, called Q-School. The top 45 finishers (plus ties) earn their tour card for the year, while the remaining golfers to make it to this stage gain Tour status allowing them to play on the tour but without a guarantee they will be able to play in every event. In order to enter the PGA Tour, golfers must either win 3 Tour events or finish in the top 50 at the Tour Championship. 
Step 5
Find a financial sponsor once you have qualified for the tour. Moving from city to city each week throughout the year to play in golf tournaments is expensive. Prize money won will more than cover your expenses, but you don't earn that money until you have paid for transportation, housing, food and other expenses. Many sponsors are willing to back pro tour players in exchange for endorsement opportunities. Find them and take advantage.

Tips & Warnings

If you fail to get through qualifying school, try again next year. Don't let one or two defeats sway you from your dream.

About The Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.

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