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So you know someone who wants to be a pro golfer?

Discussion in 'Golf Forum' started by Zooky, May 4, 2017.

  1. Zooky

    Zooky Who's this chucker?

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    Do you really want to be a pro golfer?

    When Robby Shelton was a high school sophomore, he beat Jordan Spieth.

    That was in the U.S. Junior Amateur, a tournament Spieth had won the year before and would win the year after.

    Shelton won three Alabama state titles. He went to the University of Alabama and qualified for the U.S. Open. He got invited to the Barbasol Classic, a PGA Tour event near his home in Mobile, and finished third.

    How hard is professional golf? Robby Shelton is not on the PGA Tour. Neither is he on the Web.com Tour, the Triple-A equivalent.

    Shelton is playing on the Swingthought Tour, a place where you can dream as long as you pay for it. You ante up and then you play. The entry fee is normally $875 and they put it in a pot, and that’s where the purse comes from. They call such things “payback events.” And you know what the payback can be.



    While everyone was marveling at the angry winds of Augusta National on Friday, the Swingthought boys were in Stone Mountain, Ga., and James White, a Georgia Tech alum, shot a 63 in the same gusts. He won the event, but only because Grant Leaver called a 2-stroke penalty on himself. And, no, it wasn’t because some TV referee called it in from his basement.

    Justin Lower was the No. 1 money-winner on the Swingthought Pro Tour last year. His take was $35,000. That’s before expenses.

    Tour director T.J. Johnson points out that the “heyday” of the tour provided more opportunity. That was when it was sponsored by Hooters, the popular bar-and-grill chain that is famous for its superb grouper sandwich (OK, so why do you go there?).

    On Hooters in 2012, Brandon Brown won $115K and David Skinns $104K. Eight players on that tour made it to the big leagues, including Patton Kizzire and Blayne Barber.

    All the Swingthought guys have a hero, but it’s not Spieth or Sergio Garcia. It’s William McGirt.

    In 2007, McGirt won his first pro event. It was the Cabarrus Open on the Tar Heel Tour. The $16,000 check kept the credit card companies off his trail.

    Last year he won another tournament. That was The Memorial, Jack Nicklaus’ player-pampering event near Columbus. That one paid McGirt $1.53 million and it got him into the Masters last week, where, on Friday night, he was one shot off the lead.

    “If you can win my tournament, you can win this one,” Nicklaus told him. McGirt wound up 22nd. But he’ll never again have the pleasure of seeing the “2” on the very left side of the odometer fall into place, and wonder how he’ll ever buy another car.


    Web.com is the Holy Grail for the Swingthought crowd. If you’re in the top 25 money-winners on Web.com, you graduate to the PGA Tour. If not, a hunk of Web.com guys merge with PGA Tour players who are out of the Top 25, and they play their own playoff events. The Top 25 of that group gets a diploma, too.

    Getting onto Web.com means surviving pre-qualifying, then three other tournaments called ‘stages.”

    Otherwise, there’s almost no place to play. You can try the Canadian, LatinoAmerica or China tours, but the travel isn’t cheap and the odds are unfriendly. If you make Top 5 at the end of those seasons, you slip into Web.com.

    Then there are the lovely Monday qualifiers. Those are 18-hole shootouts held near PGA Tour sites. The top four finishers get to play with the big boys. The other 150 or so go home.

    If you do qualify, and if you finish in the Top 10 and thus get to play next week, and if you keep doing that, you beat the system. That is a flowery hallucination, not a dream.

    Or you can be Stewart Hagestad.

    When he went to USC, he made sure he got a business degree while he played on the golf team. Now he is a financial analyst in New York, he plays in amateur events at some of America’s oldest and leafiest courses, and on Sunday he was low amateur in the Masters. What are the chances Hagestad will be tempted to turn pro? “None,” he said.

    Pro golfers are not the 1 percent. They are the 1 percent of the 1 percent. The worst player on the Swingthought Tour is better at his job than all the people you know are at theirs.

    The next time your son or brother says he wants to play golf for a living, make sure you encourage him. Then encourage him to call Robby Shelton.
     



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  2. ATL96Steeler

    ATL96Steeler Well-Known Member

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    As much as I like to play golf...it's not something I'd ever want to do for a living.

    If your name is not Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson, most of those guys can tell you some true life stories that would make you question any thoughts of ever playing professional golf.

    I was at a opening for a semi-private that wanted to be private golf course down in Tampa. Tom Lehman was the advisor to the architect and obviously the marketed name so he was the main speaker at the opening and he talked about his career history and what not...he said his lowest point was him and his wife driving to a tour event after paying his entry fee, they had literally $200 in their bank account so if he didn't make the cut, they would have to borrow money to get back home.

    My friend's brother tried to play tour golf, and we knew it was an ill fated decision. Sold his business, so he had a few bucks in the bank. We told him pay off your house first and fortunately he did...lasted a yr trying to Monday qualify on a TX version of the Hooters...I think he actually played 3 events and never made a cut....he did say, it was fun to try it, but there are soooooooooooo many guys out there that can play at the Web.com or even PGA tour level, but never get the chance. They just run out of money unless they get a sponsor, or have boosters bankroll them.
     
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  3. RP-29

    RP-29 xⁿ

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    Yes, I know someone who wants to be a pro golfer. He is fresh out of college. He's on my usher team at church. He works at a course in town and has played in several tournaments. He plays every day.

    I have no idea how good he actually is. All I know is that if he makes it as a pro, I'm likely going to need a new person on my team.
     
  4. Used 2 B Hu

    Used 2 B Hu Not A Russian Bot

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    Nice read.

    Two really great books on the same subject are "Tales From Q School" by John Feinstein, and "Paper Tiger" by Tom Coyne.

    Coyne's book has a reference to those old PGA spots, "these guys are good." He said the reality is, "you have no IDEA how unbelievably good these guys are...Scratch is shit (in comparison)."

    Feinstein is just gold. Anybody with any sort of inclination to get into pro golf should read Tales From Q School
     
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  5. ATL96Steeler

    ATL96Steeler Well-Known Member

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    Coyne is right...not every PGAT pro can doing when the cameras are rolling, but all of those guys can go low on any given day.

    Back when we had the Bellsouth...we followed Phil from about hole 3 or 4 thru 18 on a Thurs so it wasn't crowded...He was paired with Cink and Lee Janzen. They all hit the ball really far, but Phil was easily 30 yds past both of them drive after drive and was just on fire...shot like 62 and went on to blow the field away and won the Master the following week.

    I've played with a guy that shot 68 once, but that was the best I've personally watch a player do and it looked so easy for Phil.
     
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  6. Used 2 B Hu

    Used 2 B Hu Not A Russian Bot

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    Yep. I've known guys that broke par once, and then thought they could hang with the Tour guys, based on the fact that every now and then a pro guy has a bad day and blows up into the 80's.

    I honestly don't know how those guys survive a round of Pro-Am. I saw Vijay playing one in Greenville back in the early 90's, with a couple of guys who were batshit awful. He kept a big smile the whole time, but it was probably just gritted teeth
     
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  7. BTHOtu

    BTHOtu Well-Known Member

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    Once I get to where I play more than twice a year and shoot below 90 with only three mulligans I'll be ready
     
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  8. ATL96Steeler

    ATL96Steeler Well-Known Member

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    We played with a guy that said he played on the Nation Wide tour (now Web.com) at our home course once...he said he'd lost his card and was going to go some other developmental tour. His name was on his bag but we were a little skeptical...after the round my buddy looked him up and sure enough it was true. I don't recall him shooting anything really low that day.
     
  9. TJL

    TJL Patriarch

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    My older brother was on the Hooters tour for a while, and was in Q school.

    After entry fees, and all the money you fork out for traveling, and other expenses that come with being on the road, unless you're a top guy, which usually means you'll be in the PGA tour soon, you pretty much break even.

    He was part of the West Florida Golf Tour as recently as February, but at 34 his dream of playing on the PGA Tour is pretty much over.
     
  10. Used 2 B Hu

    Used 2 B Hu Not A Russian Bot

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    Dude, you're almost down to three mulligans!?! :suds:
     
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  11. BTHOtu

    BTHOtu Well-Known Member

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    Not counting what the ol' "club length away from the hole is close enough" puts either
     
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  12. Used 2 B Hu

    Used 2 B Hu Not A Russian Bot

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    You need a caddy? I have my own car
     
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  13. BTHOtu

    BTHOtu Well-Known Member

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    I'm actually going to make an effort to play more golf this year. Just started a new job and for the first time in 7 years I'm back doing M-F 8-5 with no weekends and no on-call. I can actually have a life again. Been to the range a couple of times and probably going to play my first 18 in a couple of weeks
     
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  14. Zooky

    Zooky Who's this chucker?

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    There are so many great players that we just don't get to hear about. Your brother is a great player.
     
  15. NEhomer

    NEhomer Well-Known Member

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    Romo shot a 75 and missed qualifying for the Open.

    On a U.S. Open qualifying course from the back tees? I'd take a 75 but no cigar for Tony.
     
  16. redseat

    redseat Well-Known Member

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    What did he need? 71?
     
  17. redseat

    redseat Well-Known Member

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    never-mind:


    Romo bogeyed Nos. 5, 7 and 9 to make the turn at 3-over par. He birdied No. 10, but then gave it back at 11. He eagled No. 14 to get to 1-over, then put his tee shot on 15 in the water and finished that hole with a triple bogey, pretty much ending his chances.

    “From the moment I stepped on the course, I really felt the love and energy from all the people here,” Tony Romo said afterward. “I tried to give them some things to be excited about, and I had some good moments out there. But I had four 3-putts and the one bad hole and that was it. I was encouraged with how I played overall. I just need to get out and do more of this kind of thing. I need to play in more tournaments because golf and tournament golf are two totally different deals.”

    Seven qualifiers will move on to a sectional qualifier. Romo had to shoot a 3-under 69 par to make that group.

    Tony Romo fails to qualify for U.S. Open
     
  18. Roy Munson

    Roy Munson Posting with one hand

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    False.
     
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  19. ATL96Steeler

    ATL96Steeler Well-Known Member

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    He should hang on if he can...got 16 yrs to wait, but he could have a shot at the 50 & over tour.

    A local guy here...James Mason...played on the mini tours and I think he worked in the family medical practice for a while, but he finally got a shot to play on the Sr. Tour and lo and behold...he won an event in 2002. IIRC he was a Monday qualifier too.

    You never know.
     
  20. Roy Munson

    Roy Munson Posting with one hand

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    Atleast now you can start a gofundme and get a little help with cash from random people.