Good to hear your story Dan,
I'm guessing the type of pro you are thinking of is one who plays tournaments and tries to win prize money?
I think you are gaining a perspective on how difficult it really is. Play more top level amateur tournaments like that USGA publinks qualifier
Win it, go play it, make match play. Win your state amateur, Mid am, basically kick ass all summer in any top tournament you enter.
Then you turn pro and play against all the guys who have done that from all over the country. Break even on whatever mini tour you play and your on your way!
Not trying to be an ass but Tommy Gainey stories are few and far between. I do like your idea of playing in money matches though, that might make you grow real quick. Hey wait didn't Gainey do that? It's never too late....