There are plenty of chances for aspiring professional golfers
By Dominic Sainsbury
New Zealand PGA General Manager
How good do you have to be to play golf professionally?
There are two main professional tours in the world. They are the iconic PGA Tour, based in the United States, and the European Tour.
Below these two tours are the lucrative Japanese Tour, the Asian Tour, the Australasian Tour and the two feeder tours to the top two, the Web.com Tour and the Challenge Tour.
Beyond this there are a number of smaller tours around the world all with very competent players, the Mina Tour played in the middle east, the Europro played mainly in the United Kingdom, the EDP Tour in Europe, the Sunshine Tour in Africa, the PGA Tour China and the list goes on and on.
So what does it take to establish yourself on a tour? Well to get on the PGA Tour you have gain a spot through finishing in the top 25 on the Web.com.
So the next question is how do you get onto the Web.com Tour?
You have too make it through four stages of qualifying, each stage has about 100 players, all trying to finish in the top 20 at each stage to progress.
Both Steve Alker and Tim Wilkinson from New Zealand will be teeing it up at third stage of this process in an attempt to get back onto the tour they played on this year. The European and Japanese tours are pretty much the same all with four stages of qualifying and all with immensely talented golfers.
All this all sounds rather hard and it is. But it is not just hard, it is also very expensive with costs such as, tournament entry fees, caddies, travel, accommodation, food, logistics and support expenses (this can be anything from gym memberships to your coach).
An aspiring pro might have saved a few thousand dollars and have a number of wealthy backers but is the effort worth all the sacrifice?
You bet. The chance to play golf on the best courses around the world and get paid very handsomely for it (assuming you play well enough) makes it worthwhile.
If you have got the game, or know someone who has, why not apply yourself and see how far you can go?
In New Zealand we are very lucky to have the Jennian Homes Charles Tour. This pits the very best available PGA professional and amateur players in this part of the world against each other in four rounds of competitive golf with a 36 hole cut. This replicates the international tours and has been a very successful pathway for a number of players now succeeding on the world stage.
We are very lucky to have a number of very talented PGA professionals playing all over the world on a number of the tours listed. You can follow their progress by signing up to the weekly PGA newsletter at https://www.pga.org.nz/friends-of-the-pga or have a go at playing in a Jennian Homes Charles Tour event and experience a taste of what it takes.