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Golf : Professional golf

Professional golf

The majority of professional golfers work as club or teaching professionals (pros), and only compete in local competitions. A small elite of professional golfers are "tournament pros" who compete full time on international "tours". Many club and teaching professionals working in the golf industry start as caddies or a general interest in the game, finding employment at golf courses and eventually moving on to certifications in their chosen profession. These programs include independent institutions and universities, and those that eventually lead to a Class A golf professional certification.


Indoor putting green for practice and instruction
Golf instruction involves the teaching and learning of the game of golf. Proficiency in teaching golf instruction requires not only technical and physical ability, but also knowledge of the rules and etiquette of the game. In some countries, golf instruction is best performed by teachers certified by the Professional Golfers Association. Some top instructors who work with professional golfers have become quite well-known in their own right. Instructors use a combination of physical conditioning, mental visualization, classroom sessions, club fitting, driving range instruction, on-course play under real conditions, and review of videotaped swings in slow motion to teach golf.

Golf tours

There are at least twenty professional golf tours, each run by a PGA or an independent tour organization, which is responsible for arranging events, finding sponsors, and regulating the tour. Typically a tour has "members" who are entitled to compete in most of its events, and also invites non-members to compete in some of them. Gaining membership of an elite tour is highly competitive, and most professional golfers never achieve it.
The most widely known tour is the PGA Tour, which tends to attract the strongest fields, outside the four Majors and the four World Golf Championships events. This is due mostly to the fact that most PGA Tour events have a first prize of at least US $800,000. The PGA European Tour, which attracts a substantial number of top golfers from outside North America, ranks second to the PGA Tour in worldwide prestige. Some top professionals from outside North America play enough tournaments to maintain membership on both the PGA Tour and European Tour.
The other leading men's tours include the Japan Golf Tour, the Asian Tour (Asia outside Japan), the PGA Tour of Australasia, and the Sunshine Tour (for Southern Africa, primarily South Africa). The Japan, Australasian, Sunshine, PGA, and European Tours are the charter members of the trade body of the world's main tours, the International Federation of PGA Tours, founded in 1996. The Asian Tour became a full member in 1999. The Canadian Tour became an associate member of the Federation in 2000, and the Tour de las Américas (Latin America) became an associate member of the Federation in 2007. The Federation underwent a major expansion in 2009 which saw 11 new tours become full members—the Canadian Tour, Tour de las Américas, China Golf Association, the Korea Professional Golfers' Association, Professional Golf Tour of India, and the operators of all six major women's tours worldwide. The OneAsia Tour, founded in 2009, is not a member of the Federation, but was founded as a joint venture of the Australasia, China, Japan, and Korean tours. The charter members of the Federation, as well as the Asian, Canadian and OneAsia Tours, offer points in the Official World Golf Rankings to players who place sufficiently high in their events.
Golf is unique in having lucrative competition for older players. There are several senior tours for men 50 and older, the best known of which is the U.S.-based Champions Tour.
There are six principal tours for women, each based in a different country or continent. The most prestigious of these is the United States based LPGA Tour. All of the principal tours offer points in the Women's World Golf Rankings for high finishers in their events.
All of the leading professional tours for under-50 players have an official developmental tour, in which the leading players at the end of the season will earn a tour card on the main tour for the following season. Examples include the Nationwide Tour, which feeds to the PGA Tour, and the Challenge Tour, which is the developmental tour of the European Tour. The Nationwide and Challenge Tours also offer Official World Golf Rankings points.

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