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Thinking of becoming a PGA Teaching Professional - Help needed

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Hi, I'm new to this and will enjoy getting involved and generally chatting about anything and everything golf! :)

All my family and friends say I'm a natural golfer. I started playing golf at the age of 5, I quit at 8, started again at 17, I quit at 19.

I decided to take it up again, but this time, seriously! Last year I couldn't hit the golf ball as I lost my swing which I gained through life. After 2 lessons, I received my handicap of 18, after a year of playing regularly I'm now playing off of 10, and hopefully be down to 9 before the end of the year, I'm a far better player than ever before, and have got to the stage where I have become to good to ever quit again.

I've recently been playing really well, and scoring level par when I'm having a good day! I don't find getting birdies that difficult and I drive the ball between 260 - 280 yards regularly. The pro at my club has said to me, that I will be a very low handicapper 1 day.

So this has got me thinking...

I'm a part time designer and have the time to take my golf to the next level, I've only just turned 22, and living with mum and dad. So my question is... Should I spend the next 2 years of my life practicing and competing regularly to get down to 4 and then turn professional or become a teaching/working professional at a club, as well as working as a designer part time?

I know I've left it far to late to become the next Rory McIlroy, or even get on any sort of tour, but a career in the sport I love and find comes naturally to me would be the life for me!

Should I do it? If so, how do I do it when I get down to 4?

Thanks, Lee

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There are colleges around the US that offer programs accredited by the PGA to become a licensed teaching professional. You do realize that, under the rules of golf, you must have turned pro officially to accept any money for giving lessons. You can look it up under the rules of amateur status if you'd like. However, the first step is to get a handicap lower than 12, which is the cutoff for the PGA teaching professional programs (if I remember correctly). You can also talk to your course's head professional about the PGA mentoring/apprentice program where you basically learn with kits from a licensed professional.

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I'm guessing he doesn't want to move from the UK to the US to go through an accredited program.

Frankly, I think the first questions you should really be asking yourself is what do you really want to get out of golf, and what turns you on in your job?    Will you be excited working in a golf shop, helping people pick a shoe size?   Will you enjoy giving lessons to kids who were dragged there by their parent, or will you enjoy giving lessons to people who won't practice but keep coming back to you for the same problem?    Or is it being on a course where you find your real enjoyment?

I know one guy who gave up a career in accounting to be a golf pro doing fittings for TaylorMade, and he doesn't get to play much and spends most of his time in the video fitting lab, but he loves it even though he took a huge income cut.     I have another old friend who loved golf and made the move to a club professional, and he hated it because he spent all his time in the shop or dealing with business matters and didn't get to play much anymore.     And finally, I have a coworker who used to be an in the executive ranks at a major club manufacturer and is now working in a completely different industry, primarily because he found the business of golf at that level to be pretty brutal and missing a lot of the fun things about golf; at some point to him golf products simply became line items in spreadsheets.

Only you can figure out what you really enjoy about golf and how you want to spend your time, but make sure you go into it understanding that except for a miniscule percentage of pros who make it on the tours, almost everyone else in the profession is working hard and dealing with the problems of work like any other profession.   That doesn't mean it can't be a highly satisfying and enjoyable career, but you need to do so for the right reasons.

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Originally Posted by Clambake

I'm guessing he doesn't want to move from the UK to the US to go through an accredited program.

My bad, didn't see his location.

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Well,  first thing you've got to do is get a WHITE belt(very important), a gaudy shirt is optional but desirable and the manner of a small town used car dealer is something that you'll learn as you go along.

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As was mentioned, make sure you're doing it for the right reasons.

If you try to become a professional player, make sure you have a backup plan.  Like most things in life, the playing professional is a profession where a small number earn huge money, a few earn decent money, and the vast majority struggle to get by.  The mini-tours for example are extremely tough to make a living on.  Make sure your idea of a great day at work is to drive 18 hours to Nowheresville to spend 4 days working your tail off, hanging out at the Motel 6 at night, so you can come home with a check for $400, which doesn't even cover the gas it took you to get there.   Am I exaggerating?  Maybe a bit, but not by a lot.  Those tours can be a very tough life.

And as others have said, if you want to become a head pro or a teacher, make sure you have the heart for it.  Contrary to the belief of most people, golf pros get to play very little golf.  They spend their time managing the golf shop, doing the books, meetings and other non-golf tasks.  Teaching pros do a lot of teaching but there again, you have to mindset for it.  Are you really going to find it fun to stand on the range for 6 hours a day trying to teach hackers how to swing?  Am I exaggerating?  Maybe a little, but you get the point.  Some people have the heart of a teacher and LOVE helping others, no matter how much effort it takes.  Some people don't and get frustrated when their clear directions aren't being followed.  Clearly you can't fall into the latter group.

I'm not trying to dissuade you at all.  If you believe one of these things is your passion, go for it.  I'm simply advocating understanding what life is REALLY like in these positions rather than a romanticized view of them.

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Real helpful and you wonder why people think youre one of the resident douches. [quote name="logman" url="/t/62494/thinking-of-becoming-a-pga-teaching-professional-help-needed#post_774827"]Well,  first thing you've got to do is get a WHITE belt(very important), a gaudy shirt is optional but desirable and the manner of a small town used car dealer is something that you'll learn as you go along.  [/quote]

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