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Road to becoming a professional golfer


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Originally Posted by Shorty

There are over 1400 players in the WGR of those, maybe a couple of hundred make a decent living from golf.



What is your definition of making a decent living? I know a player currently ranked between 1300 and 1400 and he does OK. He probably earns around 3,000 Euros (4,000 $) a month playing golf. He doesn't live in a mansion and drive a Ferrari, but he can pay his mortgage and put food on the table for his wife and kids.

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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!

Give up before you waste tons of money. You're a 14 hcp at 25. I'm 22 and finished this summer as a 2 handicap. I have been playing since I was about 5 years old. I have dedicated massive amounts of time to this game over, practicing close to 20 hours a week and playing at least 5 times a week. I am going to go pro next year for the purpose of teaching and running a course, but I have no delusions about being a touring pro. Unless you're ready to quit your job and dedicate your whole life to practicing, you won't make it. I know a 12 year old who is shooting low 60's high 70's, that is someone who has a shot at making it, not a 20+ year old just starting to play the game.

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Ok, firstly, Sacm3bill you quoted me but took everything the wrong way.

I'm not going to get caught in semantics here about 1% or 0.0001% or whatever the figure, it does not matter how small the chance is.

Yes, I said not everyone can make it. They can't. Everybody cannot turn pro. That's what I meant. On the other side, Anybody can be in that 0.0001% or that 0.00000001% or whatever you want to determine the figure to be. At some point you have got to admit that the people who made it into that tiny pool did something the other guys didn't. End of. Again Sacm3bill, I put natural ability into my previous posts. Hence why I said not any old chum can make it. There are the basic factors, the rest is down to you. I'm sorry but listing chances of making it and percentages is no argument at all. A whole bunch of somebody's are making up the numbers that make it.

About the lotto I meant to reinforce that someone has to make it. Someone. A lot of someones. To make up the figure. A whole bunch of hopeful pro's are dreaming its them, but they're also thinking hell what are the chances of it being me. But someone wins! That is my point. People go pro. So stop writing everyone off because of the small percentage. Then lets just make the percentage of pro's 0%. Then we can call it a day.

Potential is a given requirement. But its not everything. To answer Shorty, at no point did I say it all comes down to desire and determination. It's a bunch of things. But what I'm trying to drive home is that people do go pro, and those people at some point also thought they wouldnt make it but they did.

its not all down to natural ability. There are players out there with 1/100th of the natural ability of others who worked their asses of and grind out wins and use positive mentaility and everything to help them win. Then there are players with insane ability who never ever realise their potential cos they don't display a fraction of the other quality's that some players do.

Bottom line, stop laying down figures so miniscule and using it as proof as to why someone won't go pro. Even if one person in the world was pro and the rest failed, the argument remains, someone makes it. All given bases covered and every requirement necessary meant, it CAN be anyone.

I really don't know how to make myself any clearer.

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I agree with Rossvanwyk, i.e. it is achieveable. Highly unlikey but achieveable. Its not just about a winning lottery ticket, its about buying the ticket so you have a chance of winning. Saying no, or its a waste of time simply means there is no chance. Attempting it means there is a (slim) chance.

"Man will never fly. Man will never go to the moon. Man will never climb Everest." Jeez, listen to yourselves...

Calvin Peete, Lee Trevino, Christie O'Conner Jr. All with swings like an Octypus putting on a sweater in a phonebox but hugely successful. And in the case of the first two just have a look at the odds against their success.

Yes its highly unlikely. And yes Travis's work ethic, or plan, appears flawed but "can't" and "never" shouldn't figure in something that is physically achieveable.

Can't be done?!? I know a guy that was hit by car 6 yrs ago. Broken back, neck, arm, shoulder turned into a jigsaw, massive amount of soft tissue/ligament damage. 6 yrs later he still suffers loads of pain, and can only play 2 or 3 times a month - no practicing. A much shorter swing, which doesn't resemble his old swing, and a lot shorter shots. And I've broken par 3 times this yr. Don't say it can't be done till it physically can't be done.

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@rossvanwyk - I don't want to get bogged down in the percentages either - that wasn't my main point. I'm not writing anyone off because of the percentages. I'm just debating you on this:

Originally Posted by rossvanwyk

Obviously everyone's not going to make it, but the factors that separate the winners from the losers, are all controllable and manipulated by you.

You're still maintaining that no matter what the percentage is, anyone can make it into that group if they try hard enough. Nothing could be further from the truth. You keep using the lottery as an analogy when in fact anyone *can* win that, which makes it a terrible analogy. *NOT* everyone who wants to can get a PGA tour card. There will always be some people who do everything in their power to get there, and do not. There are countless examples of that on the mini tours.

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He was an epic player at 16 years old. I don't know the specifics of what Agassi wrote but Sampras exude talent from the day he started. Agassi might have writen him off but no one else in the world did.


Originally Posted by rossvanwyk

And please read Agassi's book. I am all too aware of how epic a player Sampras became. But early in his career he was woeful and Agassi completely wrote him off as going nowhere.



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Sacm3bill, no I am not saying ANYONE can make it into that group if they try hard enough. You are getting confused about the word anyone. I don't even know how to articulate it better. All I'm saying is any one of the guys with ability busting there balls out there can make it. Any one of them, or a bunch of them. We don't know who it is, they don't know who it is. It could be any of them and its hard to call. I'm not saying anyone can make it. I don't know how to word this. I need to speak to you and use my hands and explain! :) hard through typing.

And I'm not using the lottery as a direct analogy as in, its down to chance lets all pray. I'm using as there's a billion tikcets bought, someone wins. Where everyone is thinking there's no way its me. So no, going pro isnt luck like the lottery, but someone goes pro. SOMEONE goes pro. I'm just tired of writing everyone off cos the damn pool is so small. I feel like I'm just going round and round and round.

Again, Agassi knew what he was talking about. Tennis was his life. At some point, maybe he was 12, 8, 4, in the womb, whatever, Sampras was a hacker. Hell, forget the analogy cos you're getting so stuck on it. There's a million other examples where you could say hell no that guy aint making it, and you could be proved wrong.

Lastly, I reiterate, no matter how damn small the percentage/pool of pro's is, someone's getting in there. A bunch are getting in. THAT is my point. Not any old bloke. Not anyone. But any one of the guys busting there nuts are getting in. Am i making sense???

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Originally Posted by rossvanwyk

Sacm3bill, no I am not saying ANYONE can make it into that group if they try hard enough. You are getting confused about the word anyone. I don't even know how to articulate it better. All I'm saying is any one of the guys with ability busting there balls out there can make it.


Ok, I'm sorry if I've been misunderstanding you, but if what you're ultimately saying is "Any one of the guys with ability busting there balls out there can make it" then well yeah, that's obvious... If you have the ability to play on the PGA Tour, then you have the ability to play on the PGA Tour.... In formal logic terms your statement can be reduced to "If A, then A".  So, still not sure what your point is - my point is simply that you need talent to get on the PGA Tour, and until someone has exhibited that talent it's kind of putting the cart before the horse to say "I know I can make it on the PGA Tour because I have the talent to... even though my handicap says otherwise".

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Originally Posted by Made 2 Taylor

Give up before you waste tons of money. You're a 14 hcp at 25. I'm 22 and finished this summer as a 2 handicap. I have been playing since I was about 5 years old. I have dedicated massive amounts of time to this game over, practicing close to 20 hours a week and playing at least 5 times a week. I am going to go pro next year for the purpose of teaching and running a course, but I have no delusions about being a touring pro. Unless you're ready to quit your job and dedicate your whole life to practicing, you won't make it. I know a 12 year old who is shooting low 60's high 70's, that is someone who has a shot at making it, not a 20+ year old just starting to play the game.



Well said.  That's been my point exactly. There are hundreds if not thousands of kids 12-16 the OP couldn't beat on his best day.  Those kids are also playing and practicing non stop with zero responsibility and no bills.   How can someone in their mid 20s, a 14 handicap, and playing for 3 years ever catch up with them.  Every hour you practice you are already still hundreds of hours behind them.

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Originally Posted by The_Pharaoh

What is your definition of making a decent living? I know a player currently ranked between 1300 and 1400 and he does OK. He probably earns around 3,000 Euros (4,000 $) a month playing golf. He doesn't live in a mansion and drive a Ferrari, but he can pay his mortgage and put food on the table for his wife and kids.



3000€ after taxes? Would be very tight with mortgage, wife and kids. How about tournaments, travel etc? If it is 3000€ before taxes, I would say it would be veeery tight, wife needs to play also on some tour.

I took a quick glance on R2D statistics and Mikko Ilonen who is 389th in WGR has won 79k€ by playing this year. If you take someone around 1400 the winnings for the year seem to be below 10k€ and that is not very much. On the other hand, Mr Ilonen earned in total some 330k€. But most were not directly play related income, sponsorships etc. And you would not get those unless you are at least somewhere on the list.

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Originally Posted by luu5

3000€ after taxes? Would be very tight with mortgage, wife and kids. How about tournaments, travel etc? If it is 3000€ before taxes, I would say it would be veeery tight, wife needs to play also on some tour.

I took a quick glance on R2D statistics and Mikko Ilonen who is 389th in WGR has won 79k€ by playing this year. If you take someone around 1400 the winnings for the year seem to be below 10k€ and that is not very much. On the other hand, Mr Ilonen earned in total some 330k€. But most were not directly play related income, sponsorships etc. And you would not get those unless you are at least somewhere on the list.



Before taxes. I doubt his earnings from tournament winnings are more than 36,000 Euros a year. That in itself is a "decent" income in Spain (2,250 Euros a month after taxes), especially when the average income a month is 1,500 Euros. I know people with two kids and a mortgage earning even less than that. Don't reply saying that's impossible, because it is. Don't ask me how, but people get by on that here.

The guy I am talking about is probably the best player in Madrid and one of the best in Spain (top 15). I think he is around 1200 in the SWGR. He plays all 25 of the Madrid circuit events, the 6-7 Spanish circuit events, the Challenge Tour events he qualifies for and gets invites to a few of the European Tour events (usually those held in Spain). As one of the top players in Madrid, he'll have some sort of sponsorship deal which may pay for his equipment, travel expenses etc. which won't be that high anyway as he'll drive to most tournaments and be given his clubs for free. I am almost certain he gives lessons and clinics, and plays Pro Ams to supplement his income when he has time. His tournament earnings alone are enough to live on, but if you add the rest on he's doing more than OK.

Perhaps his wife works, perhaps she doesn't. If she does, and let's say she earns the average (1,500 Euros), they are doing pretty well.

Obviously, those of you in Northern Europe and the US will find the above hard to comprehend.

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Originally Posted by The_Pharaoh

I'm with you, rossvanwyk.

The easy part is learning to hit the ball well. The hard part is to hit the ball well during a pro tournament. Pressure does horrible things to a person's golf swing. This isn't tennis where an opponent is smashing balls at you or football where how you react depends on what the opposition is doing. EVERYTHING in golf is under your control. You almost have too much time to think about what you are doing. Nobody can influence your shot. But what happens as you get better and play in bigger tournaments, is you start to realise you are not as good as the other players and that wears you down mentally. You cannot fool yourself, you know if you are good enough or not.

Also, you don't have to be an athletic freak to be good at golf. A lot of the times, the type of person that falls into golf is the 'weed' unable to make it on the basketball, baseball or football teams. This is the reason we've heard of players like Corey Pavin, to name one.

This is where people lose perspective.  Corey Pavin IS an athletic freak.  You don't see that because he plays in a context where he is surrounded by guys who ever more athletic freakier.  But if you didn't know who he was and got paired with him in a casual round you would be astounded at how incredibly well he hits the ball.

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Originally Posted by rossvanwyk

And please read Agassi's book. I am all too aware of how epic a player Sampras became. But early in his career he was woeful and Agassi completely wrote him off as going nowhere.



Due respect, but judging by his own life decisions when he was young, Agassi is not someone whose judgment at that age should be taken very seriously.

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Originally Posted by rossvanwyk

Sacm3bill, no I am not saying ANYONE can make it into that group if they try hard enough. You are getting confused about the word anyone. I don't even know how to articulate it better. All I'm saying is any one of the guys with ability busting there balls out there can make it. Any one of them, or a bunch of them. We don't know who it is, they don't know who it is. It could be any of them and its hard to call. I'm not saying anyone can make it. I don't know how to word this. I need to speak to you and use my hands and explain! :) hard through typing.

And I'm not using the lottery as a direct analogy as in, its down to chance lets all pray. I'm using as there's a billion tikcets bought, someone wins. Where everyone is thinking there's no way its me. So no, going pro isnt luck like the lottery, but someone goes pro. SOMEONE goes pro. I'm just tired of writing everyone off cos the damn pool is so small. I feel like I'm just going round and round and round.

Again, Agassi knew what he was talking about. Tennis was his life. At some point, maybe he was 12, 8, 4, in the womb, whatever, Sampras was a hacker. Hell, forget the analogy cos you're getting so stuck on it. There's a million other examples where you could say hell no that guy aint making it, and you could be proved wrong.

Lastly, I reiterate, no matter how damn small the percentage/pool of pro's is, someone's getting in there. A bunch are getting in. THAT is my point. Not any old bloke. Not anyone. But any one of the guys busting there nuts are getting in. Am i making sense???



But none of the guys who have gotten into that select .001% or whatever it is were 14 handicappers at age 25!!

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Holy crap guys, I meant to say that I definitely know that I don't have the talent right now!


Originally Posted by turtleback

With due respect you are now delusional, as there is no way in the world that you could know that you have the talent. Maybe you do and maybe you don't, but you cannot know.  And given the infinitesimal percent of golfers who have the talent to compete at the highest level the odds that you DO have the talent is vanishingly small.  Not completely impossible, but on the order of maybe one thousandth of one percent or less.



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