What is a Pro-Am in Golf?
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We are all pretty familiar with professional sporting events. In normal circumstances, a professional sporting event features professional sports players. What if I told you this isn’t always the case? In golf, there is actually something called a “Pro-Am”.
So, what is a Pro-Am in golf? A golf Pro-Am is when both professional golfers and amateur golfers play against each other in a tournament. Most pro-ams are single day tournaments and teams typically consists of one professional golfer paired with four amateurs.
Typically, sports players are separated into two categories: Professionals and Amateurs.
Professionals are those athletes who get paid to play. These athletes are eligible to win prize money in a golf tournament. Typically, an Amateur is not eligible to collect prize money for a win in a golf tournament.
How Does It Work?
Most pro-ams are single day tournaments.
There are usually two separate options for playing – in the Monday pro-am or in the Wednesday pro-am.
Knowing the difference between these two options is just one example of the many golf terms and phrases that are essential to understanding the sport.
Monday pro-ams usually feature lesser known players and as a result, the entry fees is less.
The costs to participate in a pro-am event can vary.
Depending on the tournament, entry fees can range anywhere from $2,500 all the way up to $10,000.
It is important to note that many of these entry fees are charged per foursome. There is of course an exception to every rule.
One of the more prestigious, invitation only pro-ams (the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am) can cost you in the neighborhood of $25,000 per person.
In some cases, the entry fees go towards funding the actual tournament. In other cases, the fees help to fund the charitable contribution made by the tournament to the charity of their choice.
The group set up at a pro-am event typically consists of one professional golfer paired with four amateurs. There are generally two sessions – a morning and afternoon session. Typically an awards reception follows the sessions and this is where the prizes are awarded.
The participants in the pro-am event also get to look forward to receiving cool swag at the conclusion of the event. This can be anything from golf balls to hats, duffel bags or t-shirts. Typically, the swag bag is made up of items donated by the sponsors so it really is dependent on who is sponsoring the event.
Other specialty swag can be anything from spirits to cameras and even golf equipment such as special golf clubs or credits towards a specific brand of golf club.
Purpose of a Pro-Am Golf Event
Pro-Am events serve many different purposes and benefit different groups of people depending on how they might be connected to the event.
The pros participating in the event get a chance to interact with potential sponsors and network. Many pros make additional income by being the face of a product and doing advertising for a product. Building connections and forming relationships can help the pro expand his or her earning potential by establishing new business deals.
The club organizing the event has the chance to increase their exposure. Exposure helps the club gain credibility and be eligible to host larger events in the future. It’s a win-win because larger events means more income and more income means a better golf club all around.
The sponsors have a chance to gift spots in the tournament to business affiliates, thus building and strengthening business relationships.
Finally, the amateurs get a chance to see what it’s like to be a pro golfer. They get a full VIP experience and the opportunity to golf with some of the best in the world. The experience is a confidence booster and a chance for an amateur to get some guidance from a world renowned golf star.
How to Participate in A Pro-Am Event
So now I’m sure you’re wondering how you can get in on the action and sign up to play in a pro-am event.
The process is actually fairly simple.
Find an event you’d like to play in and check the rules and regulations for signing up. You’ll usually find information about the registration process and entry fees through a simple search on the web or the event website. You can also contact the club hosting the event directly to get information on how to participate.
Most events host a party ahead of the event called a pairing party. This is where you’ll meet your pro and mingle with some of the other players participating in the event.
Benefits of Playing in A Pro-Am
There are many benefits for amateur golfers who decide to participate in a pro-am event. Playing golf with a professional, gives the amateur a chance to get feedback and learn ways to improve their golf game.
Oftentimes, pro-am events are more casual and there is not as much pressure on a golfer as there would be in a fully professional tournament event. This gives both the pro and the amateur a chance to relax and interact on friendlier terms.
Depending on the pro in your group, you may be privy to secrets of the game and special tips and fun stories.
You can usually find a number of pro-am events for both men and women. Both the PGA and the LPGA host several events each year.
Other Meanings of “Pro-Am”
There are, however, other meanings of the term “pro-am” in golf.
In some cases, a pro-am isn’t referring to a tournament featuring both pro and amateur golfers. Instead, the term may be in reference to an individual. The term describes someone who may be somewhere in between being an amateur and a professional.
This person may also be referred to as a “semi-professional”. The individual may play at a high level and be highly skilled and may earn some cash prizes in some tournaments, but does not make a full time living playing the sport.