Except at the highest levels, professional golfers must pay entry fees to play in tournaments. It may seem counterintuitive, but a player at the top of golf’s food chain often doesn’t have to pay an entry fee, because expenses for high-profile tournaments are covered by sponsors and TV networks. Entry fees often increase as you move down golf’s ladder of success, in part because the fees fund the tournament’s prize pool. All fees quoted below are current as of the date of publication.
A PGA Tour player who’s exempt from qualifying doesn’t have to pay entry fees for tour events. He does pay a $100 initiation fee, then $100 in annual dues. The only expense he must pay to play in a tournament is a mandatory $50 locker room fee. Most professionals competing in a pre-tournament qualifying event pay entry fees of $400 apiece, except for Champions and Nationwide Tour players ($100 each) and non-exempt PGA Tour members (no entry fee). If a player who is not a member of the PGA qualifies for a PGA Tour event, he must pay what the tour terms "limited dues" of $50, but he pays no other entry fee.
LPGA Futures Tour
The LPGA Futures Tour -- a developmental circuit for the LPGA Tour -- charges all golfers a $500 entry fee for each tournament. To play in a qualifying tournament, Futures Tour members pay $200, amateurs invited by the tournament sponsor pay $230, and non-LPGA players pay $500.
NGA Tour Pro Series
The largest of the mini-tours in the United States, the NGA Tour Pro Series, includes four separate tours. The NGA Carolina Summer Series charges a membership fee of $750. For individual tournaments, members pay $600 while nonmembers pay $800. The Bridgestone Winter Series is the most expensive tour, with a membership fee of $1,250 and tournament entry fees of $800 and $1,100 for members and nonmembers, respectively. Membership for the Carolina Winter Series is $700. Members pay between $600 and $700 to enter each tournament while nonmembers pay between $800 and $900. Members of any facet of the NGA Pro Golf Series pay an $800 entry fee to play in the Q School Prep Series while nonmembers are charged $1,000.
Other Pro Tours
Competitors pay $399 to play in Canadian Women’s Tour events. Gateway Tour members pay $1,000 for the season and $1,150 for each tournament. Nonmembers just pay $1,350 per event.
Another U.S. mini-tour, the eGolf Professional Tour, charges an $1,150 entry fee for tour members and $1,390 for nonmembers. Members of the Golden State Tour, a smaller California series, pay a $250 entry fee for 18-hole tournaments, $450 for 36 holes and $650 for 54-hole events. Nonmembers pay $280, $500 and $750, respectively, for each level. Membership costs $400 if paid by the early deadline, or $500 afterward.