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Considering Becoming a Professional Golfer?

In his book Outliers, progressive thinker Malcolm Gladwell suggests that anyone can become an expert or professional if they devote 10,000 hours to their craft. Many people dream of becoming a professional golfer, but the journey takes a lot of hard work over many years. Although the PGA tour is difficult to join, many smaller professional tours have been created and are becoming more popular.

At what point should you become professional? If you want to turn pro, ask yourself the following questions, and consider your level of commitment.

How Well Have I Performed in the Past?
Golf is an individual sport in many aspects, including the fact that professional recruiters arenít on the sidelines waiting to hand you a check. If you played in high school or college, how well did you perform? Playing in amateur tournaments allows you to observe what kind of control you have of your swing under pressure. Amateur golf tournaments are where many people begin to realize their potential and seriously consider making a living by playing the sport professionally.

If youíve already devoted thousands of hours to your craft and you play well consistently, consider entering amateur tournaments where you can gain confidence and start to make a name for yourself.

How Do I Feel About Financial Commitments?
If youíre considering turning pro, you may already realize what kind of investment it involves. The costs of equipment, tournament fees, traveling, lodging and personal coaches along with your normal everyday living expenses can seem quite daunting. Itís expensive to begin a career of playing golf professionally, especially if you donít find yourself on the leader board consistently.

For every professional golfer that makes it big out of the gate, there are hundreds that struggle over time before their investments begin to pay off. Perhaps youíre tired of declining purse winnings because of your amateur status. Just make sure you have a plan on how to deal with the financial struggles, which could easily last a few years. This plan could involve funds from a personal savings, spouse that works or sponsor you picked up when you won your last amateur tournament.

Am I Prepared for the Time Commitments?
Golf is a solitary sport, and if youíre seriously deciding to turn professional, you likely understand how much time it requires. In addition to the money you put into the sport, golf can drain your time. It takes a lot of time out of your life to practice and travel to and from various tournaments. You may have to sacrifice time with your family or give up other interests.

Reality needs to be addressed when pursuing your dream. If you have loved ones who will be affected by your decision to go pro, address any concerns they might have and make sure you have their support.

Have I Considered the Various Ways to Go Professional?
There are different paths one can take to ultimately become a member of the PGA. In addition to PGA qualifying school, there are other ways to become a professional golfer:

  • Top 25 on the Nationwide Money Tour List. The top 25 on the Nationwide Tour can receive a limited exemption on the PGA tour.
  • Battlefield Promotion on the Nationwide Tour. Win 3 times in a season on this developmental tour and automatically receive professional status.
  • Sponsorís exemption and Monday qualifiers. Receive limited exemption through title sponsorship or use your limited exemption on Mondays on the PGA Tour to qualify for other events.

You may have already logged thousands of hours of practice and play at an expert level. But, do you still want to become a true professional? Seriously considering your level of commitment and formulating a long-term plan that can reasonably be carried out will help you decide whether to pursue a career as a professional golfer.

About the Author:
Phil Oscarson is an avid golfer who deeply considered the professional realm, but decided he was better at watching and analyzing. He currently resides in Southern California. If youíre looking to polish your golf game, you can book tee times through

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