BECOME A GOLF PRO
Contact: Professional Golfers' Association
Tel: 01675 470333
How do you fancy playing golf for a living?
If you love golf but aren't quite up to Tour standard, playing as a PGA pro is probably your dream job.
And as lots of pros leave the British weather behind them to work overseas, being a pro can be a passport to the world.
The Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) provides a pathway to the top. Read on to find out if you've got what it takes.
THE FIRST STEPS
It may sound obvious, but becoming a pro means forfeiting your amateur status.
The amateur game is governed by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club (R&A). The rules on forfeiting amateur status are explained in the last chapter of its rules booklet. Read them very carefully before taking any action.
Generally speaking, making enquiries, applying for a position with a professional and even working for a professional need not jeopardise your amateur status.
However, once you register with the PGA as an Assistant Professional or become involved in playing or teaching golf for financial reward, you can no longer call yourself an amateur.
THE FOUNDATION DEGREE PROGRAMME
This three-year course is your gateway into the world of professional golf.
Applicants take part in a two-day Admission Review Programme at the National Training Academy based at the De Vere Belfry, which is designed to assess the suitability of potential students to enter the profession.
It tests their commitment to the PGA, its values and philosophy. It will also provide potential students with an understanding of career opportunities within the profession.
Putting your skills to the test
Applicants must successfully complete a Playing Ability Test which is held over 36 holes to a defined national standard. Applicants are exempt if a scratch handicap is held when applying for the programme.
Subjects covered during the three year training programme are:
- Business Management
- Golf Coaching: Swing & Sport Science
- Equipment Technology
- Rules & Tournament Organisation
Each subject involves around 70 hours of study in each year of training. It comprises the following elements:
- Attendance at a five day residential course each year, held at the National Training Academy
- Self-study programme delivered through distance learning packages over the three years. The distance learning will be supported with a variety of teaching materials
- Regional examinations in Years I, II and III
Once the Foundation Degree Programme is complete, students can apply for PGA membership. Once elected, a qualified member can apply for any position advertised.
TIPS FROM A CLUB PRO
After gaining her PGA qualification, Nicky Lawrenson was offered a job as a club professional at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai. She gives us the lowdown.
Best part of the job?
"The facilities at the club are first class. The Dubai Desert Classic comes here every March and all the pros mingle in the club house which is nice for us workers.
"You can also earn more money teaching in Dubai than in England. You don't have to pay any tax here and my accommodation is free too."
Worst part of the job?
"You might think Dubai has a perfect climate and most of the time it is very nice. But in the summer it gets up to 50 degrees with 85 percent humidity.
"Even 15 minutes of practice will leave you sweating buckets in that heat so I come home to England in the height of summer."
Do you get to play golf much?
" As a professional you do work hard so I don't play as much as I'd like. I work a six-day week and the hours are long with teaching and administration work."