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How do you become an Assistant Pro at a Golf Course?

47 posts in this topic

I'm 27 years old, and my grandfather started me in the game of Golf when I was about 4-5 years old. I became a very good Junior Golfer and played up until 15-16 years old. I took a break from playing (big mistake) due to time consuming things like school, college, girls, booze, etc.

Right now, I have a B.S. Degree in Mechanical Engineering and I work full time in the engineering field. I make $100,000 per year with excellent benefits & retirement. Why would I want to give that up and pursue a completely different career path? Because money isn't everything, and I'm not exactly happy working in the city or this field all together for several reasons that I won't get into. Right now I'm young, not married, no mortgage, and no kids. I am ballsy enough to take risks and step out of my comfort zone and I'm not afraid of hard work.

Ever since I was a kid, I had a knack to be a Club Pro and also a PGA Instructor. I just loved playing and being in a Gold Course environment. I looked up to those guys when I was young and I think this is kind of my way of giving back too.

I have absolutely zero Golf credentials under my belt other than a decent game and a lot of ambition to practice and get better. From the research I've done, I understand one needs to work as an Assistant Pro under a PGA Professional before you can take (and hopefully pass) the PAT. From there, you're allowed to move onto Academic studies and further levels towards becoming a registered PGA Pro.

My big question is, where do I even start? What I'm having a hard time finding answers to is what kind of qualifications you need to have to work as an Assistant Pro. I may not have any Golf Management experience, but at least I have management experience in my field. I know how to interact, I have people skills, I'm very trainable and I learn fast. I think my mechanical background would help a lot in the equipment end of the business as well.

I've read about guys doing the same exact thing as this. Not happy with their current careers, and they drop everything to pursue a career in Golf. I would really like to be a Club Pro or an Instructor one day (no interest in the tour, and that's way too competitive anyway.) Any advice on how I would start, and also the best financial route to go would be helpful. Thanks!

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That's a pretty ballsy plan.
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A quick and dirty search on the internet says the average teaching pro makes $19k/year and the head pro at a club averages around $50k.  Maybe there is a way to keep that 100K going for a while and working at golf courses / teaching on the weekend or something until you can secure one of the better jobs.  You've got a pretty good job.

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A quick and dirty search on the internet says the average teaching pro makes $19k/year and the head pro at a club averages around $50k.  Maybe there is a way to keep that 100K going for a while and working at golf courses / teaching on the weekend or something until you can secure one of the better jobs.  You've got a pretty good job.

He's not going to secure a $50k head pro job working on weekends.

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I wouldn't recommend this. I'm considering becoming an Assistant Pro as a summer job so I can pay for my school expenses. I would never choose it as a permanent occupation.
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I have a friend who is also a mechanical engineer. He wanted to be a chef. So, he enrolled in Cordon Bleu cooking school and graduated with honors and worked his way up quickly to become a sous chef at a hotel in downtown making $30k/year. The cooking school cost him about $42k per year, not sure if it included living expenses. This guy could cook, he was like a better than scratch golfer of chefs. Fast and efficient. Could cut and slice just like on the cooking shows. He made sauces that tasted unreal. We ate his food at the test school before his graduation, fantastic. A year later he came back to working as an engineer, and loved it.
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He's not going to secure a $50k head pro job working on weekends.

No doubt. Just thought he might start w something on the weekends until he made contacts and got experience that put him closer to one of those jobs - and make $100k in the meantime.

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I wouldn't recommend this. I'm considering becoming an Assistant Pro as a summer job so I can pay for my school expenses. I would never choose it as a permanent occupation.

I totally agree with you, unless he lacked other skills like engineering. Btw Tmac20, based on your avatar, I mistook you for a middle aged man. Sorry...

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Don't do it.  If you have to scratch your itch then work during the weekends.  There is a difference between doing something "ballsy" as it was called above and doing something "stupid" as I will label it in this post.

A friend of mine is in your similar position engineering etc and he decided that maybe he wanted to be an assistant pro at a nice local country club.  I think he was offered minimum wage plus free golf etc.  He laughed it off and is now still working at a real job.  Has plenty of time to golf and pursue the game.

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Get in touch with your local PGA section. They can give you all the info you need.
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50k a year? I would have expected more. I was reading the average salary for an Assistant Pro in myarea was $42k, so I thought a Club Pro would be more. Gotta look at it as going back to school for something... I'm not about to "jump ship" right this minute but I would really like to take a serious look.
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I work as a mechanical engineer as well, and while I would love the actual job duties of working at a golf course or country club, I instead choose to continue working as an engineer and just golf nearly every day after work... You are right that money isn't everything, and if that's what you truly want to do then I would not discourage you from doing it. I come from a family that is well diversified when it comes to income, and from my experience the wealthy members aren't any happier than those that aren't as fortunate. Granted, none of my family is truly poor, but money just buys stuff, not happiness. With that said, sometimes stuff can contribute to one's happiness.

Do what makes you happy, but I'm just saying you should put SERIOUS consideration into this and take your time with it before walking away from a $100K job and moving to a $30K job. If after careful evaluation you still feel like it's the right decision, then go for it and don't look back. I graduated from college and went to work as an engineer for a company that gave me an unbelievable offer, but left them after a couple months and took a $20K per year pay cut because I hated my job and feared for my long term safety. I have absolutely no regrets about my decision, but it's a different scenario from yours. My point though is that the money I lost does not bother me and I'm much happier now.

My suggestion is put A LOT of thought into this before making any decisions, and absolutely DO NOT make any decisions based on what you read on a golf forum.

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I work as a mechanical engineer as well, and while I would love the actual job duties of working at a golf course or country club, I instead choose to continue working as an engineer and just golf nearly every day after work... You are right that money isn't everything, and if that's what you truly want to do then I would not discourage you from doing it. I come from a family that is well diversified when it comes to income, and from my experience the wealthy members aren't any happier than those that aren't as fortunate. Granted, none of my family is truly poor, but money just buys stuff, not happiness. With that said, sometimes stuff can contribute to one's happiness.

Do what makes you happy, but I'm just saying you should put SERIOUS consideration into this and take your time with it before walking away from a $100K job and moving to a $30K job. If after careful evaluation you still feel like it's the right decision, then go for it and don't look back. I graduated from college and went to work as an engineer for a company that gave me an unbelievable offer, but left them after a couple months and took a $20K per year pay cut because I hated my job and feared for my long term safety. I have absolutely no regrets about my decision, but it's a different scenario from yours. My point though is that the money I lost does not bother me and I'm much happier now.

My suggestion is put A LOT of thought into this before making any decisions, and absolutely DO NOT make any decisions based on what you read on a golf forum.

Well of course. That's why I'm asking these questions. Like I said, I would never jump ship from my current job or career with a sudden shot in the dark without researching a great deal first. That includes talking to people who already do this for a living. I didn't get where I am now by making "stupid" choices either. The purpose of being an Assistant Pro would to eventually turn Pro, obviously. I just have no idea where to start, and obviously need to consider if the end pay day would be worth the change.

I know so many guys who just exist miserably in their "careers" and never did anything about it. They just plateaued and accepted it, even though they were making good money. They constantly complain and have bitter attitudes because what they do for work isn't their passion anymore. I just don't want that to be me, if that makes sense.

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No offense but if you're 27 and make six figures and you want to "run off" to make minimum wage at a golf course it sounds like you need a therapist, not a career change.  Just my opinion since you've solicited it.

Money is "not important" if you have it (read: make 6 fig).  When you start getting those hourly paychecks you will realize just how important money is.  Especially when you have to start making decisions and eliminating activities (ok this week I can afford to EITHER take one girl on one date OR rack up a beer tab at the bar with my buddies).

Before graduating high school I held all of these positions at various companies:

-Shopping cart pusher

-Grocery bagger

-Cashier

-Janitor (emptying out tampon buckets in public restrooms is great life experience)

-Florist (yes a guy who works in a floral dept)

-Waiting tables

-Barback

Before graduating college I held these positions:

-Waiting tables

-Bouncer at a bar

-Writing for a newspaper

-Internship at big energy co

Now I am living comfortably and I enjoy my job.  Even if you don't like your job I bet you like your paycheck.  Quit whining and get back to work. Leave the existential job musings to our friends overseas, this is America, you are a mechanical engineer, you're good at it, now go get it and we'll see ya on the course on the weekends.  Such is life friend :)

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I know so many guys who just exist miserably in their "careers" and never did anything about it. They just plateaued and accepted it, even though they were making good money. They constantly complain and have bitter attitudes because what they do for work isn't their passion anymore. I just don't want that to be me, if that makes sense.

Not everyone gets to do their passion for a living.  I actually know very few who are that passionate about their jobs.  And those who are - are really more passionate about doing a good job and being successful than they are about the actual subject matter in which they work.  In a general sense, if the job is so fun to do, they don't have to pay you much to do it.  I've got a buddy who is an Actor / Model.  That guy is always so damn broke.  He can never do anything.

But making good money can ensure that you get to do your passion on the weekend.  Having money is awesome.  I know the whole thing about doing what you love and never working a day in your life, but that only works out for a few.  And if you want to go for it, that is great, because it does work out for some.  But the other side of the coin is having a good paying job that you don't really love and then being able to do whatever you want when you aren't there.  That is nice too.  You are considering going to a job that pays fifty cents for every dollar you make now.  That is huge.  Just something to consider.

The good news is that you are deciding if you want to stay at your $100k job in some pretty lean times for most.  Good position to be in.

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I work as an Engineer too. I quite enjoy it at the moment. My opinion is that if you do something every day, as a job, I think you will invariably get tired of doing it. This may well include golf! In my experience the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Do you want to risk losing your passion for golf? On the money front, when you have a house and a family, I think you will be most pleased to have money. It may seem like you don't need it now. Besides on your wage with some planning you could retire pretty early and play golf whenever you feel like it. But if you really think it will make you happy then go for it!!
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I'm 27 years old, and my grandfather started me in the game of Golf when I was about 4-5 years old. I became a very good Junior Golfer and played up until 15-16 years old. I took a break from playing (big mistake) due to time consuming things like school, college, girls, booze, etc.

Right now, I have a B.S. Degree in Mechanical Engineering and I work full time in the engineering field. I make $100,000 per year with excellent benefits & retirement. Why would I want to give that up and pursue a completely different career path? Because money isn't everything, and I'm not exactly happy working in the city or this field all together for several reasons that I won't get into. Right now I'm young, not married, no mortgage, and no kids. I am ballsy enough to take risks and step out of my comfort zone and I'm not afraid of hard work.

Ever since I was a kid, I had a knack to be a Club Pro and also a PGA Instructor. I just loved playing and being in a Gold Course environment. I looked up to those guys when I was young and I think this is kind of my way of giving back too.

I have absolutely zero Golf credentials under my belt other than a decent game and a lot of ambition to practice and get better. From the research I've done, I understand one needs to work as an Assistant Pro under a PGA Professional before you can take (and hopefully pass) the PAT. From there, you're allowed to move onto Academic studies and further levels towards becoming a registered PGA Pro.

My big question is, where do I even start? What I'm having a hard time finding answers to is what kind of qualifications you need to have to work as an Assistant Pro. I may not have any Golf Management experience, but at least I have management experience in my field. I know how to interact, I have people skills, I'm very trainable and I learn fast. I think my mechanical background would help a lot in the equipment end of the business as well.

I've read about guys doing the same exact thing as this. Not happy with their current careers, and they drop everything to pursue a career in Golf. I would really like to be a Club Pro or an Instructor one day (no interest in the tour, and that's way too competitive anyway.) Any advice on how I would start, and also the best financial route to go would be helpful. Thanks!

Talk to the assistant pros at the course you play at and ask them how much golf they get to play.  If you love to play golf becoming an assistant pro might not be the best choice from what I've heard.

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No offense but if you're 27 and make six figures and you want to "run off" to make minimum wage at a golf course it sounds like you need a therapist, not a career change.  Just my opinion since you've solicited it.

Money is "not important" if you have it (read: make 6 fig).  When you start getting those hourly paychecks you will realize just how important money is.  Especially when you have to start making decisions and eliminating activities (ok this week I can afford to EITHER take one girl on one date OR rack up a beer tab at the bar with my buddies).

Before graduating high school I held all of these positions at various companies:

-Shopping cart pusher

-Grocery bagger

-Cashier

-Janitor (emptying out tampon buckets in public restrooms is great life experience)

-Florist (yes a guy who works in a floral dept)

-Waiting tables

-Barback

Before graduating college I held these positions:

-Waiting tables

-Bouncer at a bar

-Writing for a newspaper

-Internship at big energy co

Now I am living comfortably and I enjoy my job.  Even if you don't like your job I bet you like your paycheck.  Quit whining and get back to work. Leave the existential job musings to our friends overseas, this is America, you are a mechanical engineer, you're good at it, now go get it and we'll see ya on the course on the weekends.  Such is life friend :)

Thanks for the life lessons but I really don't need it. I can come up with the same list you did and all the hard schooling and work to go with it. The basis of my whole question is of what is the road leading to a career in golf , AKA being a Golf Professional somewhere. Unfortunately by the rules of the PGA, you have to be an Assistant Pro first. I don't really know what the salary of a Club Pro is, but if rewarding enough, then yes I would consider going for it. Obviously that's a huge thing to consider, but I would take the pay cut to take that road if I had to, because to me it's like going back to school for another degree again... Been there, been broke, done that, made it through.

Since posting my question of "How do I become an Assistant Pro,"  all I've gotten back is why I shouldn't be one because I'm an engineer and I do well enough, so therefore don't chase something I might really want to do... Some guys just think a little differently I guess.

Thanks.

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