When it comes to paid athletes, golfers are some of the highest paid in all of sport, so for the top golfers out there, there’s certainly some serious money to be earned for playing at the top level, so you may be wondering, how much do golf pros make?
Well, trying to calculate how much they make can be difficult, as the better the player is, the more options and opportunities they are provided with in order for them to make money.
However, all of the players in a tournament are in with a chance of earning the cheque at the end.
When you hear the amounts of money that golfers earn, you might suddenly be tempted to quit your job and take up golf, but the reality is that the title of a professional golfer is an exclusive one, and there are less than 3,000 touring professional golfers in the world, but for those who do make it to this level, it’s certainly worth it!
So, if you want to learn more about how much golf pros make, then keep reading onwards!
Do Golf Pros Get A Salary?
When it comes to most professional sports, players are often given a contract to sign, and then provided with a salary, and much like those of us who work for a living are considered employees of the team (see also: Four Ball In Golf )or organization in which they play for, which means that when tax time arrives each year, they’re provided with a W2 tax form.
This isn’t the case for golf pros however, since members of the PGA tour are regarded as independent contractors instead, which means that even the players who earn millions of dollars for playing on tour, will then receive a 1099 tax form each year.
As independent contractors, it does mean that golfers are required to cover all of their expenses, including their meals, flights, tournament entry costs, lodging and accommodation, and more.
And when you consider that they also have to employ a caddie too, it means that being a golf pro can be expensive.
However, for those at the top of their game, this is no issue, as you’ll soon see. But for those who are clinging on to their status as a golf pro, then this can get costly!
Average Tour Earnings
As per PGA, the average player in the PGA tour in 2021 earnt just below $1.5million. This average stretches right the way across the scale too, with the money leader of last year, Joe Rahm, earning a massive $7,705,933, all the way down to Parker McLachlin, who was ranked PGA’s 250th earner, who earned $6,090.
2021 saw four players earn over $7 million, which alongside Rahm, included the likes of Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Cantlay, and Collin Morikawa.
For every PGA tour, there is a purse created, which is the amount of money given out to the players once the tour is over, which is determined by the order in which the players finished.
The average purse for 2022’s PGA tours is around $9.1 million. And the competition with the biggest purse is easily The Player’s Championship, which has a purse of a staggering $20 million, and Cameron Smith who won in 2022, managed to earn $3.6 million for the tournament alone.
As you can see then, there’s a lot of money involved in the world of professional golf, but if you’re interested in a more in-depth look as to how the pros make their living, then keep reading onwards.
How Do The Pros Earn Money?
There are multiple ways for the golf pros to earn money, and it’s not just tournaments that keeps the lights on for these athletes!
The most popular and common way for golf pros to earn money is through competing in tournaments, where the winner will receive a share of around 18% of the purse total, but that’s not to say that those who finish amongst the top 10 and top 20 don’t earn a healthy amount of money for their time either.
It is worth noting that tournaments like the Ryder’s Cup and the Presidents Cup aren’t compensated for competing whatsoever, so unless you’re on the winning team, it’s up to the players to cover their expenses too for these tournaments.
One of the most popular televised tournaments is The Match, which happens around Thanksgiving, and in 2021 it saw Brooks Koepka face off against Bryson Dechambeau, and the norm for this is to donate the prize winnings to charity, but players aren’t paid to compete either.
Golfing pros are also likely to be contacted by different brands in order to represent them or appear in commercials for them, and this can be anything from golfing equipment and apparel, all the way to tech companies and alcohol companies too.
The placement and visibility of the athlete and their brand in the advertisement or on the apparel are what determines the price, and prices can run as high as $500,000 for the pros to appear front and center!
Those who aren’t on lucrative sponsorship deals will often be paid to appear at certain events and ceremonies as a guest, and attending these events is a great way for the average pro to earn more money between tours, with some pros making up to $100,000 for each of their appearances!
So, when it comes to asking the question about how much golf pros make, the reality is that it can vary a lot depending on skill level, however, winning tournaments isn’t the only way for a pro golfer to earn money, and throughout a variety of endorsements, sponsorship deals, and appearances, they can earn enough more than enough money to keep their tour status going until the next tour comes around!