how to get your pga tour card

How to get your PGA tour card

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How to Get Your PGA Tour Card

To get your PGA Tour Card, you must satisfy one or two of several conditions, including making it to the Korn Ferry Tour, earning special temporary membership, winning a PGA tour event, and/or excelling in Q-school (Qualifying school).

The journey a golfer takes to make it to the PGA Tour usually begins as a youth. Years of lessons, practice, rounds on the course and competition in amateur events leads the best to play at the collegiate level. Not to mention the cost, find out how much are golf lessons here. 

At this time, those that remain at the top by measuring their golf game usually have dreams of playing on the PGA Tour.  Just how do you go about getting a PGA Tour card and how tough is it to obtain?

Is getting your PGA Tour Pro Card hard?

The road to the tour is simple, in theory, but the odds are generally against you. Just like making it to the top in any professional sport, it’s much like playing a casino game or the lottery.  Beating the odds are slim, but if you do so, the return is tremendous!

In order to be a member of the PGA Tour, a PGA Tour card is needed. Player can earn their cards in several ways. Let’s run down each way, from the most direct to most arduous paths.

pga tour card plaque

 

Korn Ferry Tour

Although making it to the Korn Ferry Tour (a minor league tour of sorts) isn’t a piece of cake, one there are several ways to get the PGA Tour card. To make it to the Korn Ferry Tour, you can make it through their Qualifying School, the Forme Four, PGA Tour Latinoamerica, or Mackenzie Tour.

How many are considered?

Each year there are 50 PGA Tour cards available through the Korn Ferry Tour. They are awarded to the top 25 players from a points list accumulated during the regular season and another 25 are awarded following three events known as the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.

If a player on the Korn Ferry Tour plays well enough to earn three victories in one season, he automatically earns a PGA Tour card.  However, this is far less easy to accomplish than one may imagine. Only 12 players have accomplished this over the last 25 seasons.

Special Temporary Membership

How would you get a special temporary PGA tour membership? In 2020-2021, Will Zalitoris accepted a special PGA Tour temporary membership. this happened to Will Zalitoris.

The PGA Tour has a select few number of spots each week available for non-Tour members to participate through sponsor exemptions and Monday qualifiers.  Those that play to a certain level of proficiency can earn Special Temporary Membership.

This happens if the player earned enough FedExCup points equivalent to that earned by the 150th position in the previous season. 

Sponsor Exemptions

After a Special Temporary Membership is obtained, the player can accept as many sponsor exemptions into PGA Tour events as he wishes. Then he can earn his card for the next season if he finishes in the top 125 in the FedExCup points. 

It must be noted that without the Special Temporary Membership, non-PGA Tour members are limited to seven sponsor exemptions, which would make it difficult to earn enough points to make the top 125.

Also be aware that players on a Special Temporary Membership cannot participate in the FedExCup playoffs even if they accumulated enough points to qualify.

Win at the Highest Level of Competition

Sure this is the quickest way to earn the PGA Tour card, but also the most difficult. An immediate two-year PGA Tour exemption is awarded to anyone that wins a PGA Tour event. 

So simply get into a PGA Tour event via Monday qualify of sponsor’s exemption and go on to win the event.  But that just really is a longshot, at best.

Are the odds of becoming a PGA Tour Golf professional like winning the lottery?

To take it a step further in terms of difficulty, if the victory is in a major championship, there is a five-year exemption to both the PGA Tour and European Tour. 

Amateur players have a shot at this in three of the four major events, therefore in theory, a collegiate player that makes the field could bypass any mini tour or the Korn Ferry Tour and jump straight to the PGA Tour.  Perhaps this is only a dream, but there is a chance, much like winning the lottery.

PGA Tour Qualifying School

If you play well enough to consider a career on the Korn Ferry Tour and PGA Tour, you have to play in the PGA Tour Qualifying School, better known as Q School. 

The first Q School was held in 1965, won by John Schlee.  Several times (1968, 1969, 1975-1981) there were two tournaments each year.  Through 2013, Q School was used for obtain PGA Tour membership, but that changed to earning entry into the Korn Ferry Tour, from there players have opportunities to earn PGA Tour cards.

Physically Demanding….

The Q School is a stern test of golf in tough tournament conditions. Each round gets physically and more mentally demanding. Players will compete against other top amateurs and as you move further into the tournament, veteran PGA Tour members that lost their card will be in the mix as well. Make sure to learn more about these outstanding chipping drills that will help you improve your game. 

To succeed:

Here are the steps needed in you wish to succeed at Q School.

  • Your game must be good enough to break par on a consistent basis. If not, the odds of making it deep into the competition are against you.
  • The event is very physically demanding, so make sure your overall fitness level is very high. Remember that each stage consists of tournaments over many days, so mental and physical endurance is a must.
  • The competition gets stiffer and if you make the final round you will compete against the 126th to 150th on the PGA Tour money list.
  • Another important factor is having the finances to compete in Q School. The pre-qualifying stage costs $2,700, which increases to $4,500 for the first stage to $4,000 for the next stage and $3,500 for the final stage.

The pre-qualifying stage takes place at various locations across the United States and consists of 54 holes. The first two qualifying stages are 72-hole events, with a vigorous 108-holes in the final stage.

What are the payouts for Q school?

The payout for Q-school is as follows:

  • First place earns $50,000
  • Second place earns $40,000
  • Third place earns $35,000
  • Fourth Place earns $30,000
  • Fifth place earns $27,500
  • 6th through 25th – $25,000 each

Those who make it through the arduous task and finish at the top of the final stage get rewarded handsomely.

If interested in competing at Q School, you can get information in late spring or summer about sign-up dates.  Sign up with the PGA Tour and go to PGATour.com.

Pre-qualifying is held in late summer around the end of August to the beginning of September.  The first stage takes place in October, with the second stage in November and the final stage set for early every December.

You can attend any of the many prequalifying locations. Therefore, it’s best to research the courses and see which one appeals to you.

Try picking ones that best suit your game, and if you have played any of the courses, that experience will be vital. Be prepared, practice as often as you can and play as many rounds as possible to make sure your game is at its peak.

Long Bombs Golf Final Say:

If you do decide to set out on this challenging journey, make sure you are prepared with all the best golf accessories on the market. Don’t be under the false belief that holding a PGA Tour card means you can play in any event of your choice. New PGA Tour players are only eligible for tournaments based on their priority ranking.

The benefits of a PGA Tour card are tremendous. In addition to playing in PGA Tour events, players can earn large sums of money in tournaments as well as in advertising contracts and endorsements. 

The amount of money earned is generally at the very minimum of five figures for those just barely making the cut, with very large sums as you move higher up the leaderboard.

The more prestigious the event, the higher the total purse, ranging well into the 7-figure range.

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