Don’t give up your day job The reality of a golf pro

‘Golf is hard’ has become a slogan of the PGA Tour in recent years.

It is a statement that all amateur golfers would wholeheartedly agree with, as a  wave of their own ‘putter bending’ memories come flooding back. Now imagine if your livelihood rested upon the game that so many of us love to hate.

The average golf spectator has a slightly warped perspective of a golf professional’s life. Owning an oversized golf bag, does not equate to owning an oversized garage of 6 Ferraris, like a certain Mr. Poulter. The reality is for golfers outside the top-100 in the world, tournament winnings barely cover the expenses of accommodation, food and getting to the next competition. Hotel rooms are shared and airfares are economy rather than a private jet; it’s not all champagne and model girlfriends

Do not get us wrong, there are a number of success stories.

Rags to Riches

Andy Sullivan failed to win in his first 84 appearances on the European Tour but has since won three times to rocket into the world’s top 50. Emiliano Grillo recently earned a two year PGA Tour exemption by recently winning the Frys.com Open, only weeks after topping the 2015 Web.com Tour playoffs. Oliver Wilson was ranked 792nd in the world, 102nd on the European Challenge Tour and had been runner up nine times, before a life changing victory at the Dunhill Links in 2014.

In the world of individual sport it can often be a lonely adventure.

Tennis vs Golf

Tennis, possibly more so than golf, is a sport where those outside the elite do not make the big bucks. In 2014, world number 32; Fernando Verdasco earned a mere tenth of Novak Djokovic’s $7,000,000+ winnings. As in golf, anyone ranked 100 in the world has to battle to remain comfortable, as the expenses are so high. Travel, coaches, psychologists, racquet strings, and nutrition are all very expensive. You now need an entourage around you in order to compete in modern era of professional sport.

So should you pack in the 9-5 job?

I’m sure as you read this, sat at your computer in the office or on your daily commute, you’re probably dreaming about handing in your notice for a career grazing the fairways. At VPAR, we dream big so we don’t want to quash that passion. However, the odds are certainly stacked against you.

When you reach a certain level, the margins between players is miniscule – they are all amazing golfers. When coming down the stretch, any Major Champion will tell you that you need a few things to go your way. A lucky bounce, a fortunate hole-out, or maybe even someone else making a mistake. Just ask Jean Van de Velde…

The Answer

So because ‘Golf is Hard’, what does the winning formula look like?

Here are VPAR’s three key ingredients:

  1. Enough practice so you can do it with Tiger Woods watching
  2. Enough mental strength to make a putt with your livelihood riding on it
  3. A slice of good fortune

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Author - @ro_northcott

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