Friday, January 20, 2012

What to Know About Pro Golfer Skills?

The path to professional golf is similar for women and men. It starts at the local, regional and national amateur level. Many golfers with tour aspirations will also play high school and collegiate golf. The professional ladder stars with minor tournaments. Both the LPGA and the PGA tours hold annual qualifying school tournaments and operate feeder tours. Men 50 and older can player on the Champions Tour.
Amateur Golf
High school competition helps prepare players for collegiate competition, as do regional and national junior tours. The American Junior Golf Association has sent more than 200 golfers to the PGA and LPGA tours. The elite amateur events feature top-caliber competition. "There's no rush for me to turn pro," University of California, Los Angeles golfer Patrick Cantlay told the "Connecticut Post" in June 2011. "You can play a lot of great amateur golf."
College Golf
National Collegiate Athletic Association golf provides a springboard to the pros. Players including J.B. Holmes and Dustin Johnson earned PGA Tour cards coming right out of college and won tournaments during their rookie seasons.
Mini-Tours And International Tours
Players working their way toward PGA and LPGA qualifying schools can play in lesser pro events -- if they have the money to fund their quest. Lower-rung tourneys charge stiff entrance fees and allow golfers to play for the pooled purse. The National Golf Association charges $2,000 for a tour membership fee and a $1,150 member entrance fee for each Hooters Tour event. Tours in Mexico, Canada and Asia also provide playing opportunities.
Qualifying Schools.
The LPGA Tour offers a three-stage qualifying event for female players seeking priority status for its events. Those falling short can play on the LPGA Futures Tour. Men have played their way onto the PGA Tour via the grueling four-stage "Q School" held each year. In 2010, 29 golfers gained or regained their card during the six-round final qualification stage. The top 50 finishers earned exemptions for the Nationwide Tour. But the PGA has proposed to stop issuing Tour cards to the top Q School finishers. Top finishers would advance to the Nationwide Tour instead. From there, they would have to play their way on to the PGA Tour through a revised system.
Feeder Tours
The LPGA Futures Tour and the PGA's Nationwide Tour are populated by golfers seeking to gain or regain access to the top tours. The top 10 money winners from the LPGA Futures Tour will earn LPGA membership in 2011. On the men's side, the Nationwide tour may soon play a bigger role in graduating golfers to the PGA Tour. A proposal calls for the top 75 to 100 Nationwide finishers to compete in three tournaments against PGA Tour members who didn't qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs. The top 50 point earners for those tournaments would get PGA Tour cards.
Major Pro Tours
Spots in standard LPGA events are allocated according to a priority list of qualifications, starting with the top 80 list of money winners. According to current PGA Tour rules, the top 125 Tour money winners get to keep their card for the next year. But the PGA proposal mentioned earlier would force Tour players failing to reach the FedEx Cup playoffs to compete against top Nationwide finishers for the coveted PGA Tour cards.
Champions Tour
This tour, for male players 50 and older, attracts some first-time professionals. Golfers can play their way into this tour though the annual qualifying tournament. The top five finishers earn full exemptions and the sixth- to 12th-place finishers earn conditional exemptions.

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