I have been writing for many years, and I make a living out of it. As an accredited PGA Professional, I use my knowledge to help others with their golf game. It is one of the most rewarding things that anyone can do because you can share your experience with someone who wants to learn. In this article, I’ll discuss what you need to know about PGA membership.
Different Requirements Between the US and Canada
In the United States, there are two ways to gain PGA membership – one is through the Professional Golf Management Associate Program, and another is by attending a college or university that offers the PGA-accredited Professional Golf Management Program. Meanwhile, aspiring golf professionals should enter the PGA of Canada Traning Academy in Canada.
The first step in both the USA and Canada is to pass the Playing Ability Test (PAT). The United States PAT consists of 36 holes in one day with the target score equal to or lower than the course rating for 18 holes plus 15. If an individual shoots an 18 hole score in a PAT, which is similar to or less than the target score for 18 holes plus five strokes, they will be allowed to register as an Associate but must thoroughly pass the PAT before attaining membership.
The PAT of PGA of Canada is 18 holes and is easier to pass:
- For men 49 years old and under, course rating plus 9
- For men 50 years old and over, course rating plus 11
- For women 49 years old and under, course rating plus 13
- For women 50 years old and above, course rating plus 15
To become a PGA professional, you must first become an apprentice under a Class A member for at least two years. Then register for the PGM Associate Program, a 3-level curriculum with topics such as teaching, coaching, golf cart fleet management, accounting, food and beverage services, and much more. PGA of America allows up to 8 years to complete the program (average is four years).
In Canada, passing the PAT should be followed by submission of membership application and navigating these four courses:
- Background of the PGA of Canada
- Instructor of Beginner Golfers Workshop
- Career Literacy Part 1: Map Your Career and History
- Respect in Sport Activity Leader Program
The PGA of Canada has a Training Academy that provides students up to six years to complete the program. If they are enrolled in specific golf-related management programs at four partner colleges and universities, their requirements can be completed within the school curriculum.
The PGA of America offers its Professional Golf Management Program at 18 colleges and universities from coast to coast. The program lasts for 4½ years, during which time students will earn their Bachelor’s Degree in Golf Management or a related degree with a focus on the industry and Class A PGA Member status.
Different Types of Golf Professionals
There are many different options for PGA members. One could be a head professional at a golf course or a media representative. There is also an option to become a general manager in a golf entertainment venue.
As an Associate, my duties include teaching and customer service. As one grows in their career as a professional golf association member, they can choose to specialize or do more of what they love. There are many different careers, such as general manager overseeing the entire club operation, head pro managing the golf operations, teacher, coach, and more.
As a golf media professional, I am proud to be in the A-18 classification and enjoy reporting on news about the game, providing insight into industry trends, and telling stories of what many people feel is one of life’s greatest pleasures.
Costs Associated with Being an Accredited PGA Professional
PGA of America charges $100 for a PAT attempt. The host facilities may also charge an additional fee. This is reasonable because you will play 36 holes of golf. Meanwhile, the Canada PAT costs $325, with further attempts costing $150 each (if needed).
Once you register for the PGA of America, there are fees. First off is a price for their courses and seminars, which will cost around $4,000. Annual fees are payable to the PGA section and national organization once you’re a PGA of America member.
There are some fees associated with the PGA of Canada Training Academy. The first first-year of courses is $780, and $2,800 to $4,000 over six years to complete the program. Membership in this organization will require annual membership dues.
Maintaining Your Membership
Once you’re a member of these organizations, there is required continuing education that one must pursue each year. The trade-off for the dues paid annually is your annual education requirement. It’s essential to find what interests you to have a fulfilling career–whether working on golf courses as a superintendent or head professional at the pro shop. It can also be in management offices where general managers work from their desks all day long or write about this industry every day as I do.
As a member, it will be essential to develop your network of professionals.
But we can share information about what has worked for us and what hasn’t with other members so that they don’t have the same pitfalls or enjoy the rewards.
Final Thoughts on PGA Membership
Some people know exactly what they want to do from the moment they start high school, but many of us have no idea. I always knew that writing was for me and eventually found my way into journalism. But golf came later on in life as a hobby.
There is a difference between being an amateur golfer and working as a golf pro, but it can be fulfilling because you get to help grow this great game from the ground up.