What Is A Golf Pro? [Tour Pro vs Club Pro]

You’ve probably seen the golf pros playing on TV, collecting huge sums of money and playing great golf.

But did you know the golf industry is full of more than just the top players on the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour.

In this article, we’ll take a look at what is a golf pro and find out more about what they do.

What Is A Golf Pro?

Ed Welton

Founder, Editor

Ed is the founder and editor at EEE Golf. He’s been playing golf for over 20 years, competing in many top amateur events. He’s played courses all over the world and played with some of the best players in the game. His aim is to help educate people about the game of golf and give insights into the sport he loves most.

What Is A Golf Pro?

What Is A Golf Pro?

A golf pro is a professional golfer who either plays the game to a very high level as a touring professional or is a club professional who teaches and works at a golf club or golf facility.

When it comes to professional golf, there’s two main types:

  • touring professionals
  • club professionals

Both types of professionals get paid for their golf skills, but both have very different careers and daily routines.

Touring Professionals

Touring professionals are the golfers who get to travel the world playing golf tournaments for prize money.

They’re the players that you see on TV playing for the most prestigious trophies and the biggest prize funds.

The PGA Tour and the DP World Tour are the two biggest golf tours in the men’s professional game, and the LPGA Tour and LET Tour are the top-tier tours in the women’s game.

These tours have the likes of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy competing each week to try and win tournaments.

Being a professional tour player is all about performing at the highest level and competing against the best players in the game.

Everything these players do is aimed at helping them to get to a level where they can earn big money and succeed.

But the reality of tournament golf is hard for the majority of players. For every top player on the PGA Tour or LPGA Tour, there’s hundreds of other pro golfers trying to make it on the smaller circuit tours such as Korn Ferry Tour in the hope that they’ll one day get to the top level.

Tour professionals can make it to the top tier tours through a number of different methods, but usually, it’s through working their way up from the mini tours.

At these levels, the prize money is low but the costs of competing are still high. Players are earning very little, in the hope that they can progress higher and eventually get a break on the main tours.

The top tour players will also be sponsored by a lot of brands looking to gain exposure through their players.

These sponsorship deals can be very lucrative for the players and even end up being more than the prize money they earn in a season.

Like many young golfers growing up, my dream was always to make it onto the PGA Tour or DP World Tour and to enjoy the fame and fortune that comes with it.

Unfortunately, I was never good enough for tour life. A few of the lads I grew up playing with did go on to find some success on the various tours, but not without years of struggle and hardship.

If you’re good enough, becoming a touring professional can be one of the best jobs in the world. Travelling the world, playing the most amazing golf courses, doing what you love and getting paid huge sums for the privilege.

However, if you’re one of the 99.9% of other professionals who aren’t yet or never will be good enough for the PGA Tour, tour life can be brutal, both mentally and financially.

Club Professionals

A club professional has a very different lifestyle to a touring professional.

As the name suggests, a club professional is usually based at golf clubs but can also be at other golf facilities like a driving range.

Club Professionals

They might be known as the head golf professional or assistant professional at a club and will have many jobs to help the club run successfully.

These can include:

  • Running and managing the golf shop
  • Overseeing the day-to-day operations of the golf facility
  • Organising club tournaments and events
  • Schedule tee times and take green fees

As well as helping a golf club or facility run smoothly, a club professional is usually also a teaching professional who gives golf lessons and helps golfers improve their games.

To become a teaching professional, they’ll have to get the relevant qualifications from the PGA (Professional Golfers Association) or the PGA of America. This helps set the standard for golf instruction and coaches across the world.

For many new golfers, but also those looking to improve, a good teaching pro is worth their weight in gold.

Offering tips and helping golfers build their golf swings and overall games so they can shoot lower scores out on the golf course.

Ed’s Top Tip

If you’re looking to get better at golf, getting a set of lessons from a good quality PGA Professional is the fastest way to improve.

Getting their advice in real life is going to be far more beneficial for your swing than watching endless YouTube videos.

Golf club professionals can also play golf to a pretty high standard. You wouldn’t want to take lessons from somebody who can’t play themselves.

These professional golfers might still compete in local events for much smaller prize pots, but it’s a good way for them to still be competitive despite not quite achieving top tour level.

Club golf professionals do still have the opportunity to play in big events such as major championships, despite not playing on the main tours.

The PGA Championship, for example, offers the top 20 players from the PGA Professional Championship, an event for PGA golf pros, the opportunity to play in the major.

For the majority of golf pros, a golf club or driving range is the place where they’ll spend most of their careers in the game, helping golfers improve rather than playing tournament golf.

Only the very best in the game will ever make the heights of the PGA Tour and play in major championships.

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to see the likes of Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods earning huge money and think that every golf pro plays golf for a living.

But the golf professional is more than just the players we idolise on the major tours. They’re the people you see when you arrive for your tee time and book to help improve your golf game.

It’s a great career path which can be thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding, without the stresses of trying to make it in the big leagues.


What is a golf pro at a club?

A golf pro at a club is one who manages the golf shop, takes bookings, organises events and also helps assist golfers with coaching.

What is the difference between a pro and a tour pro?

A club pro is someone who works at a golf facility, whether that’s a driving range or a country club, and helps with the running of that facility. A tour pro makes their living playing in professional golf events and touring the country or world playing in different tournaments.

What is a tour pro?

A tour pro is a golf professional who plays on a golf tour such as the PGA Tour. They play in events to try and do well and earn money.

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