Aspiring professional golfers sometimes delude themselves that they are headed for the multimillion dollar salaries or worldwide fame of Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods. Unless your golf game is truly world class, this is unlikely to happen. The vast majority of professional golfers make far more modest salaries, although getting into the Professional Golfers' Association will certainly cover your bills.
The average member of the PGA makes £520,000 a year, according to the website Kay Circle. This figure is skewed upward because of the enormous £6 million prize awarded to the annual winner of the PGA tour, but even golfers who end up in 200th place or more receive £65,000. In other words, the PGA is the destination of choice for any serious golfer. Many golfers augment this income with fees from public appearances or teaching, and golfers who achieve a measure of fame can bring in enormous amounts of money doing advertisements and product endorsements.
The Nature of the Job
At its heart, professional golf is dependent on the ability to hit a ball into a hole. Individuals who have a natural ability combined with the willingness to spend years honing this skill stand a chance at hitting it big in the PGA. Excellence in golf depends on a constant honing of skills, and ever-deepening understanding of strategy and of the finer points of the game. What is a weekend relaxation for most people becomes a full-time job and even an obsession for professional golfers, whose livelihoods depend on their proficiency in the game.
If you manage to make it to the top, or even somewhat close to the top, you can make a handsome living travelling around to beautiful places and playing a game that most people pay to play. Golf is less physically taxing than many sports, so top golfers can continue to excel for many more years than professional football or basketball players. Being a professional golfer provides many opportunities to meet new people, see new places and play your favourite game in different settings around the world.
The chances of reaching the level where you can enjoy the advantages are very slim. Thousands of golfers compete to make the cut, and only a small percentage will ever see a substantial amount of financial or professional success at the game. Of those who do reach the top, a certain percentage will discover that the appeal of fame and fortune are not all they expected, and they may fade from the game. People who don't enjoy travelling will probably not be happy as professional golfers.