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Road to becoming a professional golfer


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Hello everyone,

My name's Travis and I'm planning on becoming a professional golfer.  I am 25 years old, I live in Wisconsin and  I'm currently a 14 handicap.  I've got a LONG way to go but I am dedicating myself to a long journey.  If you want to follow me, I will tell you right now that I am hoping in about 6-8 years to really make a push to start my professional golf career.

I played my first 9 holes in the fall of 2008 and shot a 51 I believe.  Like all of you, I was hooked.  In the summer of 2009, I was shooting consistently in the low to mid 90's and also broke 90 with an 89.  In the summer of 2010, I shot in the mid to low 80's and broke 80 with a 78.  This summer of 2011 was full of job searching, work, and golf where I stayed about the same.  Currently, I'm shooting mid to low 80's and am putting in massive work into my game.

I've only taken a handful of lessons, I probably haven't put more than 60 hours of practice in my entire career, and I have only been starting to think about this dream of becoming a pro golfer since last year.

Currently, I am working full time and live in Wisconsin which makes it very hard to work on my game.  I have built an indoor driving range as well as purchasing a golf launch monitor.  I also have an indoor putting green so I'm off to a good start for the winter months.

Why am I doing this?  I absolutely love golf.  I am pretty good at it(you can take that with a grain of salt), and why not follow your dreams?

This quote in particular really sums up why I'm going to work hard and give it my best shot to become a professional golfer:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Mark Twain

Cheers everyone!

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The best advice I would  give to an aspiring professional is to go to a tournament and watch a couple guys you've never heard of on the practice tee. Watch how the ball rockets out of sight and how th

We get it.  You've got a plan.  You're not the first, and won't be the last, 15 handicapper with visions of glory. Tell you what - Come back in six months (better yet, a year), after working th

Best of luck to you...if you enjoy the journey, then it doesn't really matter what the end of the road is!

Remember, 95% of Professional golfers make there living by teaching the game, running golf clubs and courses, and dealing in golf equipment. The remaining 5% become touring professionals. To be a successful touring pro it takes alot of time, dedication and of course talent.

A friend of mine has just become an assistant pro at my local club. He goes to the Belfry every few weeks etc. He plays off +1 and he's said himself that he doesn't think he'd be good enough to play on the Pro Tours. He's regularly shooting in the 60's even holding a course record 62.

If you want to be a club pro, providing your good enough, its not to hard. Playing on the tour and earning a good living is a different story. Remember, if you miss cuts you dont get paid.

But if you want to do it, and you have the dedication then go for it! you only live once. Best of luck if you do go for it.

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Thanks guys for the insight.  The first comment is exactly true, if I'm enjoying the journey, then the outcome doesn't really matter.

But yes, my goal would be to be pro and I am dedicating a lot of years to this.  We'll see how it goes!

I hope to keep hearing from you guys!

Side note:

Does anybody have any putting aids that work really well for them?  I want to work on my alignment, making sure that my putter is aimed at what my eyes are aiming at.

I saw the Dave Pelz putting tutor which looks promising, but I'd love to get your feedback as well.

Thanks!

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Dont give up your day job.

It will be very difficult to get to scratch, if you are at 14 now at age 25.

If you enjoy the game, by all means try to improve, but remain pragmatic, and attempt to judge your progress logically.  The odds are against you starting at your age.

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Originally Posted by Travis Robinson

I am 25 years old, I live in Wisconsin and  I'm currently a 14 handicap.

Currently, I'm shooting mid to low 80's and am putting in massive work into my game.

I've only taken a handful of lessons, I probably haven't put more than 60 hours of practice in my entire career, and I have only been starting to think about this dream of becoming a pro golfer since last year.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Mark Twain

It was probably easier for Mark Twain to have written "Tom Sawyer" than for you to become a successful touring pro at this point.  Now, if you want to become an official PGA pro and work at a golf course or golf retailer, you would have a better shot.  Good luck!

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Hope all is going well with your dream man. I to live in Wisc. and it's almost impossible to be a good player and still live up here year round. If you are dead serious about this dream then you have to play year round. I have been stuck at a 3 for more than 10 years now. Every year I think is going to be the year that I break through, but the long layoff in the winter doesn't allow me to build on past successes, I have to start over with everything almost every year.

All I can say is take it as serious as you can, but don't spend your life savings on it just yet. Once you get down to a 1 or below, then you may be close. Even then, you are still 6-7 shots away from being a Pro, considering most would have a handicap of +4 to +7.

Good Luck

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There's a lot more to being a great golfer besides having a great swing.  The mental aspect trips up many.

As far as being a club pro or assistant, that's a crowded field as well.  Just to get your pro card involves quite a bit of study and playing ability,,it wont be easy.

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I don't want to burst your bubble but statistics say that you have little or no chance of becoming a touring pro (especially taking the game up so late in your life).  I'm not saying it couldn't happen but it's highly unlikely.  My recommendation would be to join a club and play tournaments and just ENJOY the game. Professionally?  I guess everyone has a right to dream.  Best wishes.

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Originally Posted by QuazerSKITS

Remember, 95% of Professional golfers make there living by teaching the game, running golf clubs and courses, and dealing in golf equipment. The remaining 5% become touring professionals.

That 5% struck me as high, so I did some research. From the PGA's web site, there are 28,000 men and women PGA professionals.From the PGA Tour's and LPGA's sites, there are currently 424 touring professionals (273 male and 151 female).  That makes the numbers closer to 99% and 1%.

I included the LPGA because I couldn't find a breakdown of men vs women for PGA professionals. If the ratio of men to women PGA professionals is greater than the ratio of touring professionals (and I'm guessing it is), then that 1% becomes even lower if you only include men.

I guess those aren't horrible odds, but note that to become even a PGA Professional you need to pass the Playing Ability Test, which requires you to play to a very low handicap. Reach that milestone first, and I think it's more realistic to think you might become a touring pro.  (And by "more realistic" I mean "extremely unlikely" - but at least not impossible.)

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Originally Posted by Travis Robinson

. . . Why am I doing this?  I absolutely love golf.  I am pretty good at it(you can take that with a grain of salt), and why not follow your dreams? . . .



"Pretty good" is certainly relative.

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i took up golf at 24 and made leaps and bounds the first few years.  believe it when people say the hardest strokes to shave off your game are the last few (going from mid 70s to scratch or lower).  i've been plateaued at about a 5-6 handicap for two or three years now, and it's certainly not from a lack of trying.  first year or two, i typically shot 95, then suddenly, BOOM, i was mid-80s.  a year after that, i was more around 80 on a regular basis.  now i'm usually 77-79.  i got used to my game improving 5+ strokes a year and thought "shoot, at this rate, i'll be on tour in 5 or 6 years!"  eh, yeah, didn't quite pan out, haha.  i still improve every year, but it's to the point now that i'm improving maybe 1 stroke a year instead of 5-7/year like when i started because it's no longer just a matter of "i need to straighten out my driver" or "i need to focus on my short game more."  now it's just a matter of not hitting that one 7-iron approach thin, leaving that one chip too short, pushing that one drive into the trees, sending that one putt 6 feet past the hole and leaving a tricky comeback... just a handful of completely random bad shots mixed with with the 70 or so perfectly acceptable shots.  just enough to leave me trapped somewhere in the middle of the single digit void.

i entertained (and still do occasionally entertain) ideas about trying to become a teaching pro, but until i can shoot within 2-3 strokes of par dang near every time on any given course, i don't really expect it to become reality.  but that being said, i wish the best of luck to you, and don't be discouraged when you hit a plateau.  or several of them.  and don't be let people tell you it CAN'T be done, because it can.  but just know it's going to take a phenomenal amount of work and patience (ben hogan reportedly hit approximately 600 balls a day in his prime to stay on top of his game), a pretty decent amount of money (equipment, balls, membership at a course somewhere, entry fees into tournaments...), and no part of it will be easy.

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Thanks everyone for all of the info, crunching numbers, perspective, opinions, and advice.  Keep em coming!

I do know that the chances are EXTREMELY unlikely, but you only live once!  I'd regret it way more if I didn't even try than if I gave it my best shot.

The great thing is I have an absolute passion for golf and I love to learn.

I know this is going to be a long journey and I hope you guys will check back here and there as I give updates.

While we're at it, you can help me with this:

What are some things you live by to play well?

I guess a few of mine would be:

Visualize the shot, always think positive, and swing easy.

Also, does anyone have any good books to read?  I like to catch up of reading during the winter.  I've been reading a lot of Bob Rotella and love what he has to say.

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A couple of things that I try to live by which help my golf game are:

1. Always keep your body in good shape. Playing a lot of golf and hitting the range every day is going to take its toll

2. Work on being mentally strong. Once you get playing in high end tournaments with great players, often the only separator is "the head". Unfortunately this is my weak point!

Good Luck

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The road to being a touring pro leads but to the grave....

Oh wait, that's a quote about the "Paths of Glory," nevermind. I get the two confused sometimes

Tell us when you get to a +3.0 index and then maybe you got a puncher's chance out there. It's possible. It's not probable.

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