What is a golf pro? Golf courses in the United States are filled with people who think they are a pro. Many think they can teach you how to play golf and are willing to share their knowledge. Unfortunately, many of these people are nothing more than golf hacks. We created this article to help make sure you don’t get ripped off by a “professional” golfer.
So, what is a golf pro? A golf pro is someone who receives payment or some type of compensation in exchange for their golf skills and/or knowledge. Types of golf pros include:
- Touring professional
- Club professional
- Head professional
- Teaching professional
Don’t leave! Because we break down the differences between different golf pros and how to identify which you need.
What Does a Golf Pro do?
Before we can understand what a golf pro does, we first have to understand that a golf pro is different from a professional golfer.
The term “professional golfer” is reserved for those who play golf as a career. While a professional golfer is someone who is rewarded financially based on their skill and reputation, a golf pro falls under a different definition
Traditionally, this term is reserved for those who teach or coach the sport of golf, but can also refer to someone who plays golf.
There are three main categories that golf pros may fall into, each having its own requirements, responsibilities, and degrees of technical skill. The three main categories are:
- Touring professional
- Club professional
Golf touring professionals are the professional golfers you see on television.
These golfers travel to tournaments and compete in major golf tournaments. They are compensated monetarily and may also have companies or big brand names sponsor them, earning them an additional income. Some of the most famous golfers have even coined their own golf shot names.
The touring professionals are the most famous and most talented of golfers.
Golf club professionals are the ones you might see running and managing a golf course.
The club professionals are responsible for overseeing the everyday duties of the club. Their duties may include the managerial duties such as:
- Supervising the staff
- Checking inventory
The club professional also gives advice to other golfers and takes care of the course maintenance.
The golf club professionals are typically considered the “face” of the establishment, overseeing press releases and doing public appearances or fundraisers to help the local community.
Golf instructors can be employed either as an independent contractor or as an employee of a club or resort.
These golf pros have a deep understanding of the game and the technical skills required to play the game of golf well.
They are often very successful and have the ability and demeanor needed to relay technique in a way their students understand.
The golf instructor is able to read his or her students and will guide them in the areas they struggle with in order to improve their game. This can be done either through verbal instruction or giving a physical demonstration for the student.
In addition, golf instructors who work at a golf club or resort may also be responsible for the managerial duties of the club. This might be anything from supervising caddies to overseeing the assistant instructors to running the onsite golf shop.
What is a Golf Pro’s Day Like?
Most golf pros spend the majority of their day outdoors. They will likely face a lot of physical activity for the day: running around to different locations of the club or resort, frequent standing and walking, and sometimes hauling around heavy bags of golf clubs and equipment. There are also other factors to consider for the golf pro such as weather conditions (depending on location, excessive heat, snow, ice, etc.), making sure the clients are comfortable, and potential closings of the club or resort due to lack of clients.
Many golf pros earn their living by teaching the sport, but will also compete in tournaments. Playing alongside professional golfers, the golf pro can earn a hefty financial bonus by doing well in the tournament.
You’ll find that golf pros are usually members of the Professional Golfers’ Association (you’ll know this better as the PGA). According to the PGA website, there are a few designations given by the PGA such as:
- Head Golf Professional – someone who gives lessons and/or supervises the golf instruction at the course, driving range or other type of golfing facility
- Teaching Professional – is an individual who gives lessons, supervises instructors, and may also train fellow pros on giving lessons.
Golf coaches also fall under the distinction of golf pros.
These individuals are there to help the player improve their skills to become better golfers. While it can be helpful in proving that you are reputable, you technically don’t need certification as a professional in order to be a coach, but you do need to have experience in both teaching and playing the game.
Being that a coach will work with people of all skill levels and different personalities, it is crucial for a coach be an expert on all the details of the game as well as the basics. They must have the ability to teach effectively.
Golf coaches should also have some experience with playing in tournaments. By playing successfully in tournaments, this will build the coach’s reputation for being a good golfer, which will give potential clients the assurance that the coach can help them become better at the game as well.
Because a golf coach can have a wide range of skill and experience, these individuals are able to work in a variety of settings.
You can find a golf coach working for a collegiate team, high school team, or at a professional golfing level. It is common for a golf coach to have started out as a player at either the collegiate level or at the professional level. This allows the coach to spend the necessary time developing his or her own skills before attempting to aid others in the sport.
Conclusion: Just What is a Golf Pro?
Golf pros fall into a number of different categories, but the agreed upon definition is someone who is paid in exchange for their skill and knowledge of the game. Golf pros perform a variety of tasks including:
- Playing the game
- Overseeing a club, resort or driving range
As you’ve seen, the world of the golf pro is vast and includes a wide variety of occupations!