Meeting a professional golfer is a dream of many of the sport’s fans, and for many it may be a realistic goal -- particularly if you attend or live near a pro tournament. Keep in mind that elite pro golfers are approached frequently, and often by people only interested in obtaining an autograph that they can sell online. Many pros are also busy, particularly before or during a tournament, so fans are advised to be polite and respectful of the golfer’s time.
Tiger Woods went through several highs and lows in 2008, a year during which he was the top-ranked golfer in the world. On the downside he underwent two knee operations that limited him to just seven tournaments that year. He won five of those events, including a major championship, and finished in the top five in the other two tournaments. Woods earned almost $7 million in prize money during his brief 2008 golf season.
A golf professional's earnings cover a very wide spectrum, based on the golfer’s ability, whether he plays on a pro tour and whether he endorses any products. Even at the top level, a golf pro’s earnings aren’t necessarily stable or long-lived. If a PGA Tour player is injured or has an off-year and loses his Tour card, his income will likely fall precipitously the following year. Club pros generally enjoy more stable, though much lower, annual incomes.
Playing golf for the approximately 26 million golfers in the United States means paying money for greens fees, not getting paid. But for elite golfers who turn professional, compensation ranges from a base salary, benefits and bonuses for club pros to millions of dollars for the winners of major tournaments -- and even more potential income from endorsements for the most popular tournament players.
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Students interested in a golf career can earn degrees in golf management from a variety of universities across the United States. Many of these programs are part of the Professional Golfers’ Association of America’s Golf Management University Program, in which the curriculum is accredited by the PGA. As with most college programs, the cost of attaining a golf management degree isn’t cheap. But students may be able to defray some of the costs via scholarships.
Caddies make a round of golf enjoyable for golfers, but there is more that goes into it than just carrying bags. From cleaning clubs and balls to determining yardage to offering suggestions on what clubs golfers should choose, caddies can play a large role in determining the success or failure of a round of golf.
Golf caddies do much more than just lug around golfers' clubs. They provide advice on shots. They clean clubs and golf balls. They let golfers know the distance between their ball and the hole. While there is a lot that goes into being a caddy, the primary function is to do whatever is necessary can to help a player have a successful and enjoyable round of golf.
The teenage years are a time when many people get their first job. For some teenagers, that job is that of a golf caddy. While teenagers are unlikely to begin by carrying the bags of well-known golfers in large tournaments, many country clubs and other golf courses employ caddies who carry the clubs of golfers during a round of golf. Being a teen golf caddy is a good fit for the school year, since teens can caddy on weekends whenever the course is open, and can caddy all week long when school is out for the summer.
The overall responsibility of golf caddies is to make the game of golf more enjoyable for the golfers for whom they are caddying. The most basic job of caddies is to carry the golf bags and hand golfers clubs when they request them. But there are a number of other duties caddies have, such as tending the pin, replacing divots and determining yardages between the ball and the green.
Whether they are caddying for golfers during the weekend at the local country club, or carrying the bag of golfers who are playing in major tournaments and competing for thousands of dollars, the responsibilities of golf caddies are largely the same. Carrying golf bags and handing golfers their golf clubs are among the most visible aspects of the job of golf caddies, but there are many more responsibilities.
Those who become golf professionals can fill many shoes throughout their careers. Some are teachers who instruct other players on swing techniques and the mental side of the game. Golf pros also help operate golf-related businesses, manage employees, buy merchandise and oversee maintenance at a club, resort or course.
The Senior PGA Tour is now called the Champions Tour. Many of the greatest players of all time, including Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson, have played this tour for golfers 50 and older. To play in such company, you have to survive a tough qualifying process.
Most golfers will never be skilled enough to play at the highest levels. But that does not mean they cannot participate in the sport. Other people love golf and want to spend time at the course, but cannot afford the fee required to play. In both instances, golfers can maintain ties to the sport by working as caddies. Whether they are carrying the clubs in a high-dollar tournament or just for a golfer who is playing with friends, caddies have the same task: to help in any way to make sure golfers gain more enjoyment from their round.
Being a teaching pro is a very rewarding career. You get to enjoy the game you love every day and help golfers with their games. There are many teaching pros out there, and most of them have gone through the PGA program. The PGA program is run by the Professional Golfers' Association.
As of August 2010, more professional golfers played TaylorMade golf clubs than those of any other maker--50 golfers on the PGA, European and LPGA tours carry TaylorMade clubs. Pings are used by 46 players and Callaway clubs by 40 pros on the three tours. Professional golfers often help design the clubs they use. These clubs, and similar models, are available for purchase by the general public. On average, male professional golfers use drivers with a loft between 9.5 and 10.5 degrees.
For some, the sport of golf can become an obsession. You can spend 20 hours a week on the course, watch every second of the week's PGA Tour or LPGA Tour tournaments and still not get enough. Having a job in the golf industry is one way to feed your need to be on or around the course, allowing you to be one of the first to try out new equipment, hone your skills and help others to get more enjoyment from the game.
The shaft is considered the heart of the golf club, and there are key questions golfers need to answer when selecting a shaft: What is it made from--graphite or steel? How flexible is it? How thick is it? How heavy is it? And how long is it? The combination you choose depends on your game. True Temper is the No. 1 steel shaft company on the PGA Tour, according to TheGolfWorks.com. True Temper also makes a variety of shafts suitable for recreational golfers.
Golf may seem like a game that doesn't demand a lot from the human body. But, as you become more familiar with the mechanics of the golf swing, you begin to understand just how many of the body's muscles are used. Add this up over 18 holes and that can result in a lot of wear and tear. Professional golfers use a variety of exercises to strengthen the muscles that they rely on to hit the ball consistently, shot after shot. You can exercise all of the essential muscles with a simple set of dumbbells.
Golf equipment manufacturers recognize the importance of placing their equipment in the hands of professional golfers. The most trusted proving ground for golf equipment is the PGA Tour, the most highly rated circuit of professional golf tournaments in the world. Most of the major golf equipment manufacturers have representatives that follow the tour to provide support to the professional golfers, but mainly to ensure that their brand is kept in view of the golfing public. The largest of the major golf equipment manufacturers are Adams Golf, Callaway Golf, Nike Golf and Taylor Made Golf.
Depending on the level of play--professional or amateur--and the type of golf club--private or public--the required attire for a golf caddie can vary greatly. Public clubs with caddie programs for teenagers usually allow for a variety of choices. But professional caddies must adhere to the rules of the United States Golf Association, the PGA Tour or the rules of the golf club where they are employed.
At both public and private courses, the head golf professional oversees the operations of the golf shop, including merchandise sales. The head pro may also give golf lessons, but at some golf facilities this is done by a teaching professional--a separate position. Success as a golf pro requires knowing how to successfully manage a leisure industry business, including supervising and motivating employees. A golf pro’s career path includes earning membership in the Professional Golfer’s Association (PGA) of America.
For those who are passionate about golf but do not have the skills to make a career of playing the game, there are plenty of opportunities for employment in the industry that enthusiasts are likely to find rewarding. While it is necessary to have an advanced skill level for some jobs, others require training and/or extensive knowledge of the game.
There are a variety of possible jobs at golf courses, ranging from golf instructor to sales clerk to the laborers who cut the fairways and greens. However, there are only a few jobs that offer potential careers, with opportunities for solid advancement in position and pay. Most of these jobs require special training and skills, and some require specific certifications or college degree programs.
A golf caddie can be an essential addition to the success of a professional golfer by giving advice and helping the golfer with anything he needs. Caddies are commonly hired as independent contractors and they are typically chosen by the golfer himself. The best caddies are also experts on the game of golf and not just people who hold the golfer's clubs.
You love golf, but maybe your strength is in reading greens and wind currents, rather than having nerves of steel with a putter in your hand and money on the line. If so, and you long to forge a career on the golf course, think about becoming a golf caddy. The successful ones who team up with top touring pros can earn six-figure incomes.