Perhaps the biggest benefit to becoming a PGA professional is simply the right to call yourself a PGA pro. In the world of golf, the title “PGA pro” means instant credibility with employers, customers and the general public. Whether it’s a player seeking a lesson or a golf facility in need of a manager, many people in the golf world automatically look first to a PGA pro.
PGA professionals receive extensive training in areas such as golf instruction and course management. They either go through the PGA’s Golf Management University Program – which includes a full four-year or five-year college curriculum -- or the PGA’s apprentice program. Either way, prospective PGA pros must also pass a playing ability test. Career arcs for PGA pros may include jobs such as teaching pro, director of golf for a golf course or other facility, or general manager or chief operating officer for an entire facility. As of 2012, salaries for assistant golf pros average around $40,000 per year, while head pros or managers earn approximately $65,000 to $75,000 on average.
PGA pros benefit from the Association’s CareerLinks program, which matches pros with golf facility employers. The PGA has nine regional employment consultants who help pros find job openings and offer interview assistance and compensation information. But the consultants also work directly with employers, serving as trusted middlemen.
Insurance and Planning Benefits
The PGA offers its members a variety of group insurance and financial planning options. PGA pros who don’t receive insurance benefits from an employer and those who desire supplemental benefits can choose from many insurance options, including health, life, automobile and homeowners coverage. The PGA also offers retirement planning services.
Working PGA pros who don’t have time to play on a pro tour can participate in a variety of local and national tournaments to keep their competitive juices flowing. PGA sections across the United States offer local competitions. The national PGA also sponsors the PGA Professional National Championship tournament. Players who do well enough in the event qualify for the PGA Championship, which is one of professional golf’s four major tournaments.
Working in Golf
PGA pros have invested plenty of time, and often significant money, to secure PGA training and education. For many, the key payoff is the opportunity to spend a lifetime working in the world of golf.