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The article below was written by Steve Carroll of National Club Golfer.

Picture some of our most venerable clubs and you’ll conjure up images of a golfing church. The only hymns you’d normally hear come from birds chirping. It’s not the place you’d expect to be subjected to an impromptu rock concert.

Yet the peace and quiet of one stunning links was recently interrupted and led the historic club to issue their own environmental health warning.

It seemed that groups had been spotted out on the course playing music on Bluetooth speakers. Worse still, the noise could be heard by other players across the holes.

The club concerned sent out a stern message, reminding golfers that speakers were not allowed. Their club. Their choice and I’m sure many people will congratulate them for their stance.

But it also got me thinking about what the rules say about music on the golf course and what the etiquette should be when it comes to broadcasting your Spotify playlist when playing a round.

You might be surprised to learn that the rules themselves do not ban the playing of music on the course. You can listen to audio and you can even watch video as long as it’s unrelated to the competition in which you’re playing. Background music is specifically cited.

What isn’t allowed is listening to music, or audio, either to help block out distractions or to help with swing tempo.

I don’t think that’s what we’re talking about here. What we’re imagining is people having a good time, probably chugging a beer or two, and enjoying their day.

The rules do say you should show consideration to others and that your conduct should not distract the play of another player. I’m not sure how whacking on your Sonos and turning up the dial complies with that.

But though the rules do allow it, what does etiquette say? I suppose it depends where you are, for a start. I read at Bethpage State Park – home of the famed Black course – they equipped their buggy fleet with Bluetooth speakers.

If the club are up for it, and everyone knows what to expect, then no harm no foul. What about, though, when there are no such measures laid down and it becomes a choice?

Firstly, ask your playing partners. If they’re not up for you belting out Slipknot then the whole thing is moot. Secondly, if your group are amenable, make sure only you can hear it. If it’s loud enough that the group behind, or on another fairway, can tell that your guilty pleasure is My Heart Will Go On then you are causing a distraction.

Thirdly, if you’re determined to do it, get some consensus on what to play. You may love Meghan Trainor, but if you’re playing partners aren’t All About That Bass then you’re going to have enough problems in your fourball – never mind what anyone else on the course might think.

If push comes to shove, stick in your headphones. Yes, the rules allow this too – subject to the restrictions we’ve already covered.

I know, though, that you’re not going to let me sit on the fence on this one. What do I think? Honestly, if you want to listen to music, go to a concert. Leave the songs for the journey home.

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If you’re nuts about golf, the life of a Tour caddie might well look seriously appealing. You’re inside the ropes at the big tournaments, working cheek by jowl with a tour player, travelling the world (usually following the sun), and, if you’re especially lucky, earning a very tidy sum.

The story that Steve Williams was the highest-paid sportsperson from New Zealand when he caddied for Tiger Woods was not a myth. But how do you make this seemingly desirable life in a game you love a reality?


How to become a golf caddie

The short answer is: there is no short answer.

Caddying has no college, no training centre, no qualifications and no ladder, so there are several routes to becoming a golf caddie. The most important thing you require—arguably—is luck.

That said, there are several things you can do to improve your chances of ending up on the bag of a Major winner; a fat cheque in your pocket and the status that goes with being part of a ‘team’ that won one of the ‘big ones’.

A love of golf is a prerequisite to becoming a caddie, as is plenty of knowledge about the game. So far, so obvious—except you WILL categorically find caddies on tour who aren’t hugely into the game. They are exceptions, though, and being a golf nut definitely helps.

how to become a golf caddie

Being a good player yourself isn’t a bad thing either; whenever Rory McIlroy is asked about his caddie Harry Diamond, he always says what a fine player he is. Nick Faldo’s caddie through most of his Major wins, Fanny Sunesson, is a strong golfer, too. Matt Fitzpatrick’s caddie Billy Foster—who has also looped for everyone from Seve Ballesteros and Tiger to Greg Norman, Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke—is also a low-handicap player.

Reading putts is a key part of being a caddie, so your ability to read your own putts successfully is a bit of a guide in this regard. Other technical qualities you need to become a golf caddie include the ability to ‘club’ the player—adding in the wind, elevation, temperature, and ground conditions to the actual yardage.

Less technical (but just as valuable) is the nous to determine whether the golfer needs to attack or play safe, and whether adrenaline may be affecting their state of mind.


What the pro caddies say

how to become a golf caddie

“You need to be able to read your golfer, whether they’re about to play their approach at the 18th in The Open while in contention or whether Chuck from Nashville is hacking his way up the 5th hole at Kingsbarns, having lost six balls already,” says former Ladies European Tour caddie Paul MacMichael.

“The need for a combination of awareness and emotional intelligence is crucial,” adds MacMichael, who has caddied for the likes of Anna Nordqvist in various ladies’ Majors.

He’s a former PE teacher whose route into caddying is not untypical in its sliding doors moments.

From driving courtesy cars at the McDonalds Ladies Championship of Europe at Gleneagles, he got to know Maria Hjorth, and through her, Karin Sjodin. He agreed to caddie for her at the Women’s British Open final qualifying—and fast-forward eight years; he’s looped for the likes of Pernilla Lindberg, Nordqvist, Birdie Kim, Michele Thomson, and Laura Murray (now Beveridge), walking the fairways at several Women’s British Opens, Ladies Scottish Opens and the Irish Open.

“My route into caddying was simply being around tournaments and speaking to people,” he says.

“As in most walks of life, personal contacts are invaluable, and most caddie-golfer arrangements come about through word of mouth and sometimes social media.

“However, the best route to becoming a caddie is arguably to know a golfer who is about to break into the lofty ranks of the tour and to hold on to their shirt tails.”

how to become a golf caddie

Hanging around the top amateur events, getting to know the next generation of superstars, and perhaps carrying their bag for a round or two is a sensible way to give yourself a chance of a toe in the door. And when your man or woman turns pro, they might just give you the call-up.

MacMichael’s experience and reputation on the LET may well have led to him having success on the more lucrative European Tour.

The LET is another good option; money is tight there, and the players won’t usually have a caddie, but offering your services and building up a reputation and experience there is a wise move. MacMichael went in another direction, though. He now caddies for ‘Chuck from Nashville’ et al. at Gleneagles.

“Any venue that runs a caddie programme will have a Caddie Master—they’re the person to contact,” he explains.

“Most courses will have their caddie roster for the year finalised for the beginning of the season, so any approach is probably best made during the month of March. Some venues will arrange a training programme for new recruits.”

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To be serious about golf, it pays to be clued up on your golf brands. Investing in premium gear from the best golf brands can make all the difference to your game.

We take a look at some of the best golf brands on the market today—from how they first started to how they built their trust and status in the golf game.

How many of these feature in your golf bag?


The best golf brands


1. Titleist

best golf brands

Phillip E. Young founded Titleist in 1932 when he missed a short putt, X-rayed the ball and found that the centre was off. The first Titleist ball came out in 1935, and the brand won its first ball count at the 1949 US Open—the rest, as they say, is history.

The logo was the creation of office secretary Helen Robinson, who was known for her ornate handwriting.

The Pro V1 made its debut on the PGA Tour in October 2020 when Billy Andrade won the tournament using the ball. There are over 90 quality checks that go into the Pro V1 and more than 120 for the Pro V1x. Bob Vokey started working with Titleist in 1996 and now specialises in creating its wedges, while Scotty Cameron creates the equally exquisite putters.


2. TaylorMade

best golf brands

TaylorMade was founded in 1979 when salesman Gary Adams took out a $24,000 loan to form the company. One of its most ground-breaking technologies was released in 2004—the R7 Quad driver—which involved the Moveable Weight Technology.

TaylorMade was one of the first companies to offer custom-fitting with its clubs. Five years later, in 2009, its R9 driver allowed golfers to play around with the loft, lie and face angle. These days, its leading lights include Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, Nelly Korda and Tiger Woods—the latter joining in 2017 before winning The Masters in 2019.


3. Callaway

best golf brands

Callaway Golf was founded in 1982, and its most famous club is the Big Bertha Driver, named after the German Big Bertha Howitzer. At the time, its design was considered highly modern and a huge leap away from persimmon heads. It had a head volume of 190cm³ which was ground-breakingly large—but the legal limit is 460cm³ nowadays.

Roger Cleveland joined Callaway in the 1990s and has been designing its wedges ever since. Other brands, such as TopTracer, Odyssey, Toulon Design, Ogio, TravisMathew and Jack Wolfskin, also come under the Callaway umbrella. Jon Rahm is its star turn.


4. Ping

best golf brands

The Ping story goes back to 1959 when Karsten Solheim, a Norwegian engineer, sketched the design on the dust jacket of a 78 record of what he believed to be the perfect putter. The brand’s iconic Anser putter, the name of which came from his wife, Louise, was released in 1966. Today, Ping has a gold putter vault to commemorate a player’s win using one of its putters.

Ping covers all areas of the game and is renowned for its fantastic club-making. In fact, it was the first brand to bring out high-quality cast clubs. Ping’s ‘Major hope’ (in the men’s game, at least) would be Viktor Hovland.


5. Bridgestone

best golf brands

Bridgestone is generally known for its tyres, but it has also produced golf balls since 1935. However, it wasn’t until 1972 that Bridgestone also began manufacturing clubs.

Today, its tour team includes the likes of Tiger Woods, Jason Day, Lexi Thompson, Fred Couples and Matt Kuchar. Needless to say, the most interest in the brand follows Woods, who uses the TOUR B XS ball.

Bryson DeChambeau previously played with a Bridgestone ball, but that relationship ended following his move to LIV Golf.

Bridgestone affixed its name to one of the WGC events on the PGA Tour from 2006-18, a tournament that Tiger won four times.


6. Wilson

best golf brands

A great stat about Wilson Golf is that the brand has won a Major in every decade since the 1920s, thanks to Gary Woodland’s US Open victory at Pebble Beach in 2019.

Even more impressive is that it has even more Major successes (62) using its other equipment. This was helped massively by Gene Sarazen playing with Wilson in seven of his first eight Major wins. He was on Wilson’s books for 75 years, which, unsurprisingly, is the longest-running sports contract in history.

Wilson Staff is its premium golf brand, aimed at tour pros and elite players, such as Padraig Harrington—a long-time Wilson devotee. 


7. Mizuno

best golf brands

Japan-based Mizuno started selling baseball equipment before moving into the golf business in 1933. It opened its first US factory in 1961 before setting up factories in Germany, France, Scotland and Hong Kong.

Mizuno soon forged a reputation for quality club-making with its now famous irons, using two moulds rather than one.

Brooks Koepka won his first four Majors using Mizuno JPX 919 Tour irons, while Tiger Woods also collected his first Major with a set of Mizuno irons in the bag. Luke Donald, a long-standing staffer, reached World No.1 in 2011 with a bag full of Mizunos. 


8. Cobra

Cobra Golf has proved to be an innovative brand, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2023. Two years after launching, it brought out the first utility wood with the Baffler, and it has incorporated this technology into its newer utility woods.

In more recent years, Cobra has brought out a 46-inch driver and one-length irons, helped by an association with Bryson DeChambeau (which ended in 2023).

The American’s now boss, Greg Norman, helped rocket Cobra into people’s thinking in the 90s, as he was once a part-owner and global brand ambassador. Cobra Golf and Puma began a golf partnership in 2010. 


9. PXG

PXG (Parsons Xtreme Golf) burst onto the golfing scene in 2014 when American entrepreneur Bob Parsons launched his own golf company. He claims he spent $350,000 a year on unsuccessful golf gear, so he wanted to build better clubs.

Former PGA Tour player Mike Nicolette was involved in the designs, and by 2015, Ryan Moore was using a set of PXG prototype irons and wedges on tour.

Parsons served in the Vietnam War, and PXG’s club naming is inspired by the military occupational code as a tribute to the Marine Corps. The brand now offers a full line of equipment, including drivers, woods, hybrids, wedges, irons and putters. 


10. FootJoy

No list of golf brands would be complete without including FootJoy—the market leader in golf shoes and gloves, in particular.

The American team wore FootJoy golf shoes at the first Ryder Cup in 1927, and the brand won its first shoe count on the PGA Tour in 1945.

Acushnet, which owns Titleist, acquired FootJoy in 1985 and sold its 50 millionth glove in the mid-nineties.

FootJoy was the first brand to use Cabretta leather in its gloves in 1980. Another notable date in FootJoy’s march was in 2003 when it introduced the MyJoys range, through which golfers could customise their shoes. Tiger Woods stunned the golf shoe world when he played the 2022 Masters in a pair of FootJoy Premiere Series Packard shoes rather than his usual Nike ones.

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The article below was written by Steve Carroll of National Club Golfer.

I’ve seen the social media pictures of greenkeepers with huge welts on their head. I’ve admonished a playing partner who sent a shot skyward while staff were working in a greenside bunker. I’ve seen the appeals from BIGGA chiefs urging golfers to show their members a little bit of care and respect.

I’ve also heard players muttering that greenkeepers should ‘get out of the way’. I’ve heard the grumbles that ‘we pay their wages’, and I’ve watched players pacing around in frustration because someone on a mower is on a green working hard to make their surfaces better.

If, by some miracle, you’re still wondering where I stand on the ‘who gets priority on the course?’ debate, let me be clear. Greenkeepers do. Always. Every time.

It’s interesting this is still a debate – particularly in this health and safety conscious, ambulance chasing lawyer, era in which we live.

But ask enough greenkeepers, or look at enough golf club weekly newsletters, and there will still be the periodic appeal for players to and try and avoid taking out staff with a polyurethane projectile with the propensity to cause massive life-changing injury.

It’s outrageous. It’s irresponsible. It’s dangerous. If you do it, then sod your subs. Your club should empty your locker and kick you to the kerb.

What about pace of play? Blah blah blah. Just wait a minute, it’s not difficult. Your greenkeeper will do everything they can to make your stay as short as possible.

I’ve got to a ball, to see staff mowing a green, and I’ve sat down quite content for the long haul. But greenkeepers understand golfers want to play, they understand if there’s plenty of people on the course, and they’ll try and get you through as soon as they can.

I can’t think of any other profession where people would think it was OK to put others at risk in such a cavalier fashion – to hit hard, fast moving, objects in their direction and basically dare them to duck.

If we’re not careful, someone’s going to get killed and we’re all going to pay the consequences. Or should we send out our hard-working greenkeepers in hard hats and hi-vis? For the sake of everyone, have a bit of patience. Put down your club and wait.

Posted by & filed under Golf Equipment.

The loft and lie angle of your golf club has a major influence on how you launch the ball.

Every club is different in its loft and the way that they sit on the ground, so it’s essential that you get this right to suit your height and swing path, and to make sure that you’re giving yourself the best chance of finding the middle of the clubface, whatever the club is. 


Loft and lie: drivers

loft and lie

Your driver will generally have around 10˚ of loft, but obviously, this can vary enormously, and players will tweak their drivers to try and optimise their distance. For example, Bryson DeChambeau has used a driver with as low a loft as 5.5˚.


Loft and lie: irons

loft and lie

With your irons, there will be around three or four degrees difference between each club, so each one will carry a different distance. Then, it’s a case of matching your woods and wedges, so you have even gaps to ensure you’ve got a club capable of hitting any distance you need.

What’s worth noting is that manufacturers will have different lofts on each club to suit the characteristics of said club. For example, a Ping G430 7-iron has a loft of 29˚, as this is a game-improvement iron designed to launch the ball high. On the other hand, Ping i230 irons, aimed at stronger players who don’t need as much help in getting the ball airborne, have a loft of 33˚ (on its 7-iron).

Generally speaking, the stronger the loft, the more swing speed (ball speed) is needed to launch the ball in the air.


Loft and lie: wedges and putters

loft and lie

Depending on what loft your pitching wedge is, you’ll then be looking to find the right number of wedges in those even gaps to make sure that you can cover any distance. Most wedges finish at around 58-60˚, but it is possible to play around with the lofts to really dial in your distances. 

The putter has the least loft, but this is still a crucial factor in finding the middle of the face. The standard amount of loft on your putter is around 3-4˚, but again, it’s not a case of one-size-fits-all, and it’s all about how you deliver the club at impact.

Too much loft and the ball will get airborne, while too little loft and the ball will be hit into the turf. Both will have a big impact on your pace and distance control.


Club models

The model of your putter also matters. The Ping Anser has 3˚ of loft, which ties in with most Ping putters, but their Armlock putter, which is built with a longer shaft and grip, has a 6˚ standard loft.

If you play on quick greens, you might want to consider less loft as the ball will be rolling well, while for slow greens, you might want more loft. The best solution is to have a putter fitting—the results might surprise you.

The lie angle is the angle created between the shaft and the ground. This is crucial because if the lie angle is too flat, then the toe of the club will come into contact with the ground first. Conversely, if the lie angle is too upright, then the heel will dig in. Either way, the clubface will not be online, and you’ll see some crooked shots.

This is worth checking with a PGA professional or an experienced fitter, as you might be swinging the club perfectly, but if the club isn’t sitting correctly, your shots will be missing their target. 

The centre of the sole of the clubhead should be touching the turf, and the grooves will be parallel to the ground. If the lie angle is too flat, the toe will hit the ground, which will open the clubface, and you’ll see the ball go right of the target. Likewise, if the lie angle is too upright, the heel will dig in, the clubface will close, and the ball will go left.

As a general rule of thumb, shorter golfers will often benefit from a flatter lie, while taller golfers might require more upright clubs. A good player might be able to manipulate what is happening with the lie angle, but the easiest way to make progress is to check your lies with a pro.

You’ll hear about lie angles with your irons and wedges, but they can also be important with your driver and fairways/hybrids, and there’s the option on adjustable clubs to play around with the lie angle.

Similarly, your putter’s lie angle is certainly something to get right. While we might know what the loft is on our driver, the chances are you won’t on your putter. The rule here is that if you like to stand close to the ball and you have a straight-ish putting arc, then a more upright putter will suit you. Alternatively, if you prefer a more curved arc, and stand further away from the ball, then a flatter lie angle will suit your stroke.

Checking your lofts and lies is a very easy way of improving your golf. Nowadays, there really is no reason to be playing with clubs that are doing you more harm than good (at least from this perspective), so it’s worth getting them looked at once a year at least.

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If you’re already a skilled golfer, we can’t say we blame you for researching how to become a golf pro.

There’s no better time to join the industry, with the number of golfers in the UK booming since the pandemic and the 2023 golf rule changes demonstrating how much the game is evolving to include players of all backgrounds.

But what defines a ‘golf pro’? The term can be confusing, as it refers to both professional golfers and those who work within the business side of golf.

We cover how to become a golf professional, alongside how to take steps towards becoming a professional golfer if this is your goal.


Table of contents:


What is a golf pro?

There’s some confusion around who qualifies as a ‘golf professional’, as anyone who is a golf expert and involved in either teaching or playing golf at a professional level could be considered a ‘golf pro’.  

However, it’s widely accepted that there is a difference between golf professionals and professional golfers.

Golf professionals typically work in the business or management side of golf or teach or coach amateur or professional golfers.

Then, there are professional golfers who compete in high-profile tournaments like the Masters and the PGA Tour.

Many pro golfers follow the route of becoming a golf professional beforehand, as they have a strong involvement with their club growing up and decide to get certified.

But equally, many start as amateurs and rely on their talent to get noticed.

We’ve covered all pathways in this guide on how to become a golf pro, so you can weigh up your options and take actionable steps to progress your career.

Related: Golf pro vs pro golfer: explained


Types of golf professionals

how to become a golf professional image

Hoping to work in the business side of golf? If so, it makes sense to get an overview of the roles available if you gain employment at a golf club and decide to become a PGM Associate.

To give you an idea of the different types of golf professionals, the PGA’s research suggests that those who complete their qualifications fulfil one or more of the following roles:

  • a qualified teacher or coach
  • a knowledgeable retailer
  • a customer advisor
  • a specialist club fitter
  • a manager of services, products, facilities, and people
  • a tournament organiser
  • a good player

Hopefully, this gives you a good overview of your career prospects.

Regarding job titles, the highest level you can reach at a club is typically known as a Head Professional, followed by Associate Professionals. They usually manage the club and other employees who work there.

The alternative route is becoming a Teaching Professional, which is a more practical role overall and mainly involves coaching clients.

Head Professional and Teaching Professional roles can sometimes interlink depending on the club, but there is room to specialise in one area over the other.

Related: PGA Tour 2024 shake up: everything you need to know


How to become a golf professional

The path to becoming a golf professional isn’t complicated. Still, it requires a high level of skill and dedication to your development as a player, even if you decide to work business side.

Professional golfing is certainly on the cards for those who go down this route, as long as they’re equipped with the skills to compete at an elite level.

Here’s a quick overview of the path to becoming a golf professional in the UK.


1.     Complete the PGM Associate Program

Every golf club has a Head Professional running their operations, including managing the course and other employees who work there.

This role carries a large responsibility and is the most advanced path you can reach when learning how to become a golf pro outside of competing in tournaments.

Suppose you want to eventually become a Head Professional through the PGA. In that case, you’ll need to complete their PGM Associate Program and become an Associate Professional before you can climb through the ranks. This involves:

  • a background check
  • passing a qualifying test
  • gaining employment as an Associate Professional
  • completing the player ability test (PAT)

This could be helpful if you want to become a pro golfer, as the PAT test is a great way to prove your skill in the sport.

However, as mentioned earlier, you don’t technically require this to enter tournaments and get noticed.


2.     Complete a golf-related bachelor’s degree

Gaining a PGA qualification is a popular route to becoming a golf professional in the UK, as their degree programmes are the most respected golf qualifications in the world.

If you’re hoping to work business side and want to climb the ranks once you graduate, this could be the best route for you.

A foundation degree in Golf Studies (FdSc) is available at the University of Birmingham and can be converted into a BSc (Hons) in Professional Golf Studies.

The University of the Highlands and Islands also runs a Diploma in Higher Education Golf Studies (DipHE), which can be converted into a BA in Professional Golf, with an option to continue to Hons.

You can also study a BSc in Applied Golf Management Studies taught in partnership with the University of Birmingham, which grants you membership as a PGA Professional subject to status and application.

Related: Ultimate guide to UK golf dress codes


3.     Progress through PGA titles

There is the opportunity for development once you’ve qualified as a PGA Member through gaining more experience, education, achievements, and accreditations.

The first option is to move from ‘Class A’ to ‘Class AA’ status, which involves gaining 100 CPD points within three years through suggested professional development.

However, if you reach the age of 55 and haven’t progressed from Class AA status, you will remain at this level for life.

Aside from these initial titles, you can also apply for any of the following:

  • PGA advanced professional—meets relevant criteria and has been qualified for a minimum of three years
  • PGA fellow professional—meets the relevant criteria and has been qualified for a minimum of eight years
  • PGA advanced fellow professional—meets the relevant criteria and has been qualified for a minimum of ten years
  • PGA master professional—meets the relevant criteria and has been qualified for a minimum of fifteen years

As you’ve probably gathered, many professional golf players will hold a PGA qualification, so the two pathways often interlink.

But not all skilled players who qualify will go on to become professional golfers, and you also don’t need to qualify to become one, either.


How to become a professional golfer

If you’re a highly skilled player dedicated to your growth in the sport, then there’s a chance you could become a pro golfer if you set your mind to it.

Since the PGA Tour is the world’s largest professional golf tournament organiser, it makes sense for us to discuss how to reach this level of competition—entering these tournaments is the most popular end goal for aspiring golfers.

The steps themselves are quite simple. It’s what’s involved in the process that makes it easier said than done.

You need to be great at what you do, extremely driven, and prepared to put the rest of your life on hold if you want to make it. Here are the next steps if you think you’ve got what it takes.


1.     Get up to professional standard

Most players fall at the first hurdle, as this is certainly one part that’s easier said than done. But if you can overcome the challenge of mastering golf, you’re already halfway there.

Recruiting a coach is a good idea if you can afford the investment. With their guidance, you can establish a solid training programme for perfecting your technique and improving faster than working alone.

The game is massively competitive, especially since many golfers start young. But if you’ve got the grit and determination to consistently work on every element of your game, you’ll overtake those who give up too soon.


2.     Take a swing at amateur events

Once you’ve achieved a high standard and proven your skill in a few friendly competitions at your local club, it’s time to progress to more formal events.

Wondering where to start? Using the Golf Empire search tool, you can browse over 10,000 amateur open golf tournaments at more than 1,500 golf clubs in the UK.

You can also check out amateur golf tours and series for when you feel you’re good enough to enter.

You can usually enter as many or as few events as you wish, meaning you can get a taste of what is expected at these events without committing to the full thing.

It’s easier said than done, but a huge part of learning how to become a professional golfer is dominating amateur competitions.

Progressing through the ranks will get you noticed and potentially lead to you being invited to or qualifying for a more prestigious event—this is how many golfers go professional.


3.     Commit to going professional

If you reach the point where you’re consistently performing well in amateur competitions and you’re determined enough to take your career further, this is where you can take things to the next level.

Only you can decide whether or not you’re ready to go pro, as golf differs from other sports where you’re signed up to a team. You essentially decide to compete in professional events instead of their amateur counterparts.

You should be at the best level you can be before registering for professional events, however, as they are usually very expensive to enter and highly competitive.

In the UK, the easiest transition into professional events is becoming a PGA member and entering the PGA Open series, most of which have a £100 registration fee and a £20,000 prize fund.

Taking this leap of faith is a big step, but it’s worth a shot if you know you have what it takes and can afford to do so.

Don’t let age be a hurdle if you’re a great golfer, as there have been many late bloomers before. It’s a matter of dedication and skill above all else.

Take U.S. golfer Allen Doyle, for example—he turned pro at 46, proving it’s never too late to chase your dreams if you stay focused.

Related: Want to play a PGA Tour event as an amateur? Here’s how


4.     Sign up for Q-school

Finishing in the top 25 on the Korn Ferry Tour is a surefire way to earn a PGA Tour card, but you can only enter this tour if you go to Q-school first.

This process involves competing over four months to finish in one of the top 25 spots, which earns you an unconditional place on the Korn Ferry Tour. However, you can still get a conditional place if you finish in the 26-50 range.

If you compete well enough to finish in the top five of final stage Q-school, you can gain your PGA Tour card this way instead of competing in the Korn Ferry Tour.


5.     Compete in the Korn Ferry Tour

If you’ve come this far, you’ve already become a professional golfer, but there’s much more to achieve if you keep pushing on.

The Korn Ferry Tour sits just beneath the PGA Tour, and making it to the finals and finishing in the top 25 guarantees you a spot. Finishing in the 26-50 range gives you conditional status, and you’ll still have a chance to make your debut.


6.     Reach PGA Tour player status

This is likely one of the most important stages of your career.

If you finish in the top 25 at the Korn Ferry Tour or secure your card through a conditional status, you’ll get a chance to compete amongst the world’s most elite golf players.

This will be no mean feat. But now you know the steps involved, you can devise a step-by-step plan for achieving this level. SMART goals are a great way to ensure progress.


7.     Keep your spot on the PGA Tour

While you’ve likely achieved your wildest dreams at this stage, now is not the time to get complacent.

To make your hard work pay off, you should do everything it takes to ensure you keep your spot as one of the 125 best players in the sport.

You’ll be standing on golf’s world stage, and you may never make it back if you let your game slip.

Avoid injuries at all costs, maintain your confidence, and never underestimate the importance of keeping up to speed through practice.

Winning high-profile competitions such as the Players Championship or The Masters solidifies your status as a top golfer and can even guarantee your spot on the PGA Tour for years at a time.

If you win the Players Championship, you receive a five-year exemption, a three-year invite to the Masters, and a three-year exemption for the Open and the PGA Championship.

Related: The 9 best golf GPS watches


Salaries in golf 

golf professional salary

If you’re considering a career in golf, it’s natural to want to know exactly how much you could earn.

Leaning towards the golf professional route? According to Glassdoor:

  • an Assistant Golf Professional earns £27k per year on average and up to £48k per year with experience
  • a Head Golf Professional earns £34k per year on average and up to £73k per year with experience

If your end goal is becoming a professional golfer, the amount you’ll earn is understandably difficult to pin down.

The average salary for professional golfers is $2m per year, according to Back 2 Basics. Golf Monthly report that exempt PGA Tour players earn a base income of $500,000 per year.

Tiger Woods has the highest career earnings on the PGA Tour at $120,954,766, to give you an idea of how lucrative this career path can be.