The business of golf – The role of a PGA Golf Professional

By Alan Prescott
March 29, 2021

Fernandina Beach Golf Course Driving Range

There are many controversies and opinions about the way that the business of golf should be run. One of the more highly contested ones is the role of the PGA Golf Professional. For this writer, there are two answers. Please allow me to speak to both of these answers and, after reading this article, you can draw your own conclusions.

Perhaps, I may begin this discussion with the statement that, in the beginning, there were two types of golf professionals. There were club professionals first. These journeymen were relegated to the backroom of their golf shops to ply their club-making trade in their pro shops and out of sight except to serve the members and also to teach lessons. They weren’t respected as far as the club members were concerned. Indeed, this must have been very demoralizing for the club professionals.

But, the game of golf was a “demonstration” sport in the beginning. It started out as a “Sport of Kings”. There were, obviously, those who became quite proficient from the start. What followed was the forerunner of today’s modern tour. Those who were proficient at the game formed a group and, as interest in the game increased, they toured the country playing for prize money. Still, those who competed spawned interest in this evolving sport.

As time went on, and people’s interest increased, club professionals came out of the backrooms of their golf shops. Some went on to play tournaments against the “touring professionals” of national status and recognition. And, in turn, the club professionals gained some degree of notoriety both at their home club as well as in their local area.

However, one cannot forget the growth of one organization, the Professional Golfers of America or the PGA. If that organization never existed, the game of golf and the popularity of golf might not exist today and/ or might be totally different today. This national professional organization, along with the United States Golf Association or USGA, is responsible for the standardization of the game of golf. Together with the growth in golf’s popularity, more and more people began to play golf.

The second answer is derived from the popularity of the PGA Tour. Are these tour members club professionals, both prior and current? The answer is YES. Do they have to be PGA members? The answer is NO. Have many touring golf professionals been awarded honorary PGA memberships for their efforts on the tour? YES. But, it’s not that simple.

If many of the golf professionals of today opted to test their skills on the Tour and leave their trade at the Club level, who would replace them? Your guess is as good as mine. Today’s PGA Tour is a separate entity. Tour members go through a very rigorous “Q School” or, as it is referred to, Qualifying School. They then, upon their success at the Q School, have to provide evidence of financial assets to cover their expenses ( Liquid assets like cash, stocks, bonds, etc.). Income from events is not guaranteed on tour. Endorsements from equipment, real estate, or any other companies do not count. What counts to have your “players card” extended for another year is your monetary results (earnings) on tour for one season, the current season. Next year is NOT guaranteed.

So far, what do YOU think?

There is more to this story. In my next article, the discussion turns to several tour players from both the past and the present. Hold that thought. Your tour favorite(s) may be destroying the game. Or, maybe not.

As always, I am Alan Prescott and I am here for you as well as for your opinions. I can be reached at [email protected]

Coming soon to Fernandina Beach Municipal Golf Course, a hole-by-hole analysis of your golf course as well as additional suggestions on how to improve the course without breaking the budget. Have ANY suggestions, kindly email me at your earliest convenience.

Please be safe and remain healthy.

Editor’s Note: Alan Prescott reached out to us after reading a recent article on the Fernandina Beach Golf Course. His articles are being well received by golfers and non-golfers.  We thank Alan for his contribution to the Fernandina Observer.

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