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gophinmedic

how to become a PGA Pro

18 posts in this topic

I know there have been some threads on this but none really answer my questions. Im really leaning to working towards becoming a PGA Pro, teaching pro that is. I enjoy teaching in the Fire Department and think I can take that same love for golf and teach it. My problem is, I literally have no idea where to start. Im not a member at a club and the only one near me dosent have the most reputable pro so Id rather not ask him. So all in all, my question is:

Where do I start

What are the requirements

How much time/money will it take

What is the likelihood of finding a spot teaching somewhere

I know these are rather broad questions so if anyone can fill in the blanks feel free.

Any help is appreciated.

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I know there have been some threads on this but none really answer my questions. Im really leaning to working towards becoming a PGA Pro, teaching pro that is. I enjoy teaching in the Fire Department and think I can take that same love for golf and teach it. My problem is, I literally have no idea where to start. Im not a member at a club and the only one near me dosent have the most reputable pro so Id rather not ask him. So all in all, my question is:

Where do I start

What are the requirements

How much time/money will it take

What is the likelihood of finding a spot teaching somewhere

I know these are rather broad questions so if anyone can fill in the blanks feel free.

Any help is appreciated.


Aside from the obvious that you should be a much better golfer than a 10, there are academies that will probably offer the curriculum necessary to obtain a certification or whatever it may be called in order to get employment at a golf facility.

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I have talked to two guys my age that are golf pros that said it's a huge mistake if you are in it for the money. They don't make much and also I assumed they played a TON. They hardly ever play because they are so busy running the course and pro shop. I assume that there is a surplus of pros and a shortage of courses that need them. I know this sounds all negative but it's feedback from them.
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Expect it to take about 5 years, and not make any money. In fact it will cost you quite a bit of money and time. I believe one of the major problems with golf as far growth and what we are experiencing now ( lack of growth, participation etc) is the lack of number of teachers readily available. The certification to teach golf it seems takes longer and is more complicated than being an EMT. Yet to become certified as little league coach, ski instructor or soccer takes less than a half dozen weekends. These instructors often teach individually or a in small classroom setting. Which when you think about it this is how kids typically learn in school. I wish you well in your endeavors, I also wish it was much easier to accomplish.
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You can also volunteer at a local first tee program, you only have to do a background check and then you get to help kids learn golf.

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http://pgajobfinder.pgalinks.com/helpwanted/empcenter/pgaandyou/pro.cfm?ctc=1678

Break down

1. Register as an apprentice.  You must be working in an appropriate position at a golf course or driving range. See the link on website to view the positions

2. Take the online pre-qualifying courses. 200 bucks

3. Take the PAT. Playing Ability Test.

Then enter into Level 1 and get going.

The biggest thing is getting the right job to satisfy the requirements for acceptance. Also, I think you can only have 2 apprentices under a Class A pro at any given time. That may have changed.

Im taking PGM through National University which is a degree program. There are independent schools that just teach trade specific classes like instruction, club fitting, etc.

If you want to teach, I would get familiar with the tech that's out there today like Trackman and the like, That's the future of instruction.

Good luck.

Also here is the breakdown on costs.

http://pdf.pgalinks.com/regmemos/PGM2.0_AssociatedCosts.pdf

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I thought the playing ability test was harder than that but also there is a lot more to the job than being a good player that gives lessons.

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I have talked to two guys my age that are golf pros that said it's a huge mistake if you are in it for the money. They don't make much and also I assumed they played a TON. They hardly ever play because they are so busy running the course and pro shop. I assume that there is a surplus of pros and a shortage of courses that need them. I know this sounds all negative but it's feedback from them.

Well I don't do what I do now for the money. There are few things in life that one can get rich doing. Finding something you love to do that also makes you rich is an even smaller dream. So, I take loving what I do over being rich and miserable.

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I thought the playing ability test was harder than that but also there is a lot more to the job than being a good player that gives lessons.

It's harder than it looks on paper... 36 holes of tournament stroke play. Blow a hole or two and you're pretty much done. That's a lot of pressure with a potential career choice on the line.

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It's harder than it looks on paper...

36 holes of tournament stroke play. Blow a hole or two and you're pretty much done. That's a lot of pressure with a potential career choice on the line.


I agree the pressure alone is the task, I always thought it was more demanding than that though like maintaining a 2 or below index for 2 years or more in tournament play for example. It looks like an 86 would get a person started as an apprentice where I play 73.9.

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I agree the pressure alone is the task, I always thought it was more demanding than that though like maintaining a 2 or below index for 2 years or more in tournament play for example. It looks like an 86 would get a person started as an apprentice where I play 73.9.

To pass the PAT you have to shoot no worse than 15 strokes over the course rating across 36 holes.  In the case of your course, you'd have to shoot 163 or better.  81/82 would sneak you in on the number.  For a course rated 72.0, you're going to have to average less than 80.

It's not scratch golf, but it's a harder test than it looks on paper.

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It used to be the head pro was the man to beat but not so much anymore. They have had to "relax" standards a little to bring more prospective applicants into the business. You don't have to take Business 1 and 2 anymore. You get a little of it in Level 1 and a lot of you are in a college level PGM course. It still is by no means a handout but a little easier than 20 years ago. There was an article somewhere not to long ago about the dying age of the local club pro. It kind of hit on this subject.

Salary info         http://swz.salary.com/salarywizard/layouthtmls/swzl_compresult_national_HS08000238.html

link should work now

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The PGA program is a bit of a joke. I've gotta figure out what I want to do - I've been a Level 1 apprentice for four years in June, and so by June I have to have either passed my level 1 test (including the stupid work packet), or just stop doing it.

It's got almost nothing to do with instruction and is rudimentary, basic stuff that anyone with an 80 IQ or higher (which not anywhere near 75% of the golf pro population) has no trouble with. Just a bunch of stupid, boring, unimportant busywork.

As for the PAT, 50% of the people who take it NEVER pass, ever, and only about 1-2% pass the first time they take it.

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To pass the PAT you have to shoot no worse than 15 strokes over the course rating across 36 holes.  In the case of your course, you'd have to shoot 163 or better.  81/82 would sneak you in on the number.  For a course rated 72.0, you're going to have to average less than 80.

It's not scratch golf, but it's a harder test than it looks on paper.


Actually I was mostly referring to the apprenticeship entry PAT, shooting 86 at my course should be easy for someone wanting to enter this occupation.

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Actually I was mostly referring to the apprenticeship entry PAT, shooting 86 at my course should be easy for someone wanting to enter this occupation.

Yeah but that's like a cop-out. It's just enough to get you through pre-qualifying tests or something like that.

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You can also volunteer at a local first tee program, you only have to do a background check and then you get to help kids learn golf.

This is a terrific idea.  If you love to teach, teaching children about sports is very rewarding.  I coached youth soccer for 11 years.  My first group of kids are in college now.  I love seeing them all grown up.  And you don't have to be a pro to coach or teach at that level.  You need to understand the basics to start out and really just impress upon them that golf is a FUN sport.

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As for the PAT, 50% of the people who take it NEVER pass, ever, and only about 1-2% pass the first time they take it.

When I read Tom Coyne's Paper Tiger, about his quest to get into Q-school, I wondered how come he failed his PAT. Well, if only 2% pass on their first shot, I understand the mental requirements a lot better.
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I talked to a local assistant pro at a course operated by a regional golf management company. He said the challenge is to make it to a head pro position, which is where the decent money starts.  But, there's only so many head pro positions available. His company certainly wants someone who can teach, but primarily someone who has a good head for business - running tournaments, getting the right merchandise mix in the pro shop, etc.

As for assistant pros working on their games... in many weeks, this consists of hitting a bucket of balls at lunchtime, or playing a couple of holes in the early evening. These guys (and gals) often use vacation time for golf trips so they can play.

About age 30, a lot of assistant pros - even those with PGA cards - decide to do other things if the future doesn't look promising.

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