Hundreds of ambitious and highly skilled golfers definitely are willing to try, especially at this time of the year when they make the annual pilgrimage to PGA Tour School to try their luck and skill and gain a card to play next year on the Web.Com golf tour - The pathway to the PGA Tour.
Sadly the truth is that nearly all of them won’t be good enough to go through the pre-qualifying, let alone the first, second and final stages and go on to gain their Web.Com tour card and here's why.
Tour School is a Cash Cow
PGA Tour's around the world make millions of dollars conducting tour schools every year and are a major source of revenue for them. They know that the reality is that most of the golfers competing will not be good enough to get through the qualifying process and will basically donate their significant tournament entry fees in their effort to live the dream of playing golf on a professional golf tour.
Beginning with the first stage about 750 golfers competing at 12 venues around the US (including first stage qualifiers) will pay entry fee’s to play first stage of between US $4,500 to $6,000 (depending on when you pay) and exemptions are offered to golfers with specific standing on several of the world’s leading men’s professional golf tours, and also those with PGA Tour, Official World Golf Ranking, national PGA club professional, Walker Cup, U.S. Amateur, previous qualifying tournaments and other standings.
And your high score average (C game average) should not be higher than plus 3 to have any chance at all of making it through the qualifying stages.
If you can’t manage this standard just yet then don’t even consider it because it costs an awful lot of money in entry fees, travel, hotel and meals and you won’t make it through.
Why? The odds are heavily stacked against you making it if you have little to no experience in this type of competitive environment.
Only the most experienced or highly skilled - low scoring golfers make it through to the final stage.
How to Get From 750 Golfers to 144
As I mentioned if you have no status as an amateur or professional then you will have to pre-qualify just to get into the first stage and your score average will need to be no higher than two over par for each of the three rounds you play to get through to the first stage depending on the venue you compete at.
This year’s pre-qualifying route to the Web.Com Tour is a case in point where pre-qualifying eliminated many golfers before the first stage. There were 465 golfers in the pre-qualifying tournaments competing at six golf courses around the US with about 226 places plus ties getting through to the first stage. Entry fees were US $2,700 to try and make it to first stage.
You needed to score from even par to plus eight depending on where you played to gain a place in the first stage field. At the first stage you will are competing with about another 270 golfers
I’m sure you can see that the PGA Tour has no choice but to keep eliminating golfers until the final stage because there are only 50 cards on offer to play on the Web.Com Tour next season.
First stage sorts out golfers (just as the pre-qualifying did) that are simply not good enough, or are not having their best week on the golf course.
To make it through first stage you’ll need to score around par or better for four rounds to make it into the second stage and now you will have played 7 rounds (assuming you pre-qualified) and your score average will need to be close to par or better to continue on.
In the second stage you’ll pay more entry fees (yep you keep paying) of between US $4,000 and $5,000 and just like the first stage you’ll play another four rounds and now you’ll have to score better than par to make it to the final stage.
By now you have played 11 rounds and I think you can see what’s happening here. The tour is sorting out those that can really play from those that can’t because they want the very best golfers competing in their Web.Com tournaments.
In the final stage about 144 golfers compete over six rounds of golf (a total of 17 rounds or 306 holes if you started from pre-qualifying) and 14 rounds or 252 holes of golf if you started from first stage and you will definitely have to score well under par (likely 10 or more under par) for the six rounds to have a chance of getting one of the 50 cards on offer.
Entry fees for final stage are between US $3,500 to $4,500 depending on when you pay and at the final stage there is some prize money to play for.
- First place gets US $25,000
- Second to tenth place and ties gets $15,000
- Eleventh place through to forty fifth place and ties gets $10,000
Here's the facts if you started at the pre-qualifying stage and are good enough to make it to final stage:
- Nearly 800 golfers started the journey with you to get a tour card
- You will have played 306 holes of high pressure golf
- Your tournament entry fees will be between US $14,500 to 18,000
- You'll need to achieve a score average better than par overall
- There is no guarantee that you will get a card to play on The Web.Com Tour
This is the harsh reality of becoming a tour professional on the Web.Com Tour and it is really no different for any other major men's or women's golf tour that you attempt to qualify for.
So what does it really take to play for pay on a professional golf tour?
Well now you know.
The best of luck to you.
Lawrie Montague and David Milne - Pro Tour Golf College
Your Success On Tour is Our Business