Are top junior golfers all trying to turn pro?

Are top-ranked (let's call it top 50 on JGS in their graduating class) junior golfer's typically aspiring to have a professional playing career? Is it fair to say that if a junior can play for a highly-ranked D1 program that he has a chance at being a touring pro?

I remember reading a story about Maverick McNealy, who at the time was the #1 amateur in the world, and how he said he wasn't sure if he would pursue a career in golf (hinting that he might go the business route like his illustrious father). He seems like an outlier - the amount of effort required to reach that level seems like it would steer junior players to really believing they are going to take it to the next level. I'd like to better understand what is going through the mind of a highly-ranked junior golfer.


  • BrianMcGBrianMcG Members Posts: 2,217 ✭✭
    edited Jul 7, 2018 #2

    I know some 10hdc middle aged dentists that think they can still go pro. Lol.
    Walter: Tell me Bobby, why do you play this game?
    Bobby: I play because I love it.
    Walter: Well I play for the money. I have to win. That is why every time we face each other I will always beat you.
  • NevergolfparNevergolfpar Members Posts: 56
    I can't speak for anyone other than my son, who was ranked around 82nd in his class a few years ago. Although still in college at a mid-tiered D1 program, he does indeed plan on turning professional next summer.

    The road will be long and arduous one for him, as his window of opportunity will be a small one. The biggest obstacle being money. The road to earn a PGA tour card is very expensive. I firmly believe that any golfer at the D1 level, who has experienced a measure of success (my son has won 5 times at the collegiate level) owes it to himself to try. Personally, I believe there are at least a couple of hundred every year who leave college and have the game to compete. The question being, does the money run out before success is achieved. For a vast majority, sadly they run out of money and are forced to begin a life outside of competitive golf.

    As his father, my advice to him is to get his degree (he needs one more year of college golf to hone in his game) and I will support his decision thereafter. Last year he made the decision to set up his Junior year class schedule in such a way which will allow him to play his final semester taking only 3 credit hours. His plan is to use this extra time to focus all of his attention to his golf game, while he uses the practice facility and free access to golf to its maximum. The downside to his plan, was his golf game suffered his Junior year, as his dedication to completing a maximum course load affected his play (though he did complete his highest GPA to date). He believes that by the time he graduates his golf game will be peaking at the right time.

    As his father I honestly believe that he has the skill set to compete at the games highest levels. Having played with some players who have competed on the PGA Tour already has only increased his confidence that he has the game to compete. However, unless he finishes this summer going deep into the Amateur, the fact remains, that he will receive very little in terms of financial support from outside benefactors (he has a few willing to throw money his direction). Ultimately, it will be financial considerations that will determine his future.

    As for your question I do believe that ALL players who have the talent to make a top D1 program should make the attempt to turn professional. They each clearly have the game. Only a few will succeed. During my son's 4 years on a mid-tiered D1 program, I believe only 3 of my son's current and former teammates have the game to give it a shot. Like I told one of his former teammates this year, you don't want to be sitting on a bar stool somewhere watching people you once beat in Junior golf making a decent living playing the game we all love. Live life with no regrets.
  • SkiSchoolProSkiSchoolPro Members Posts: 623
    edited Jul 7, 2018 #4
    Most, but some want it more than others. Have played a a bit with a guy who is about 30 now. Got serious about golf in his teens and made final 16 at US amateur . He made the cut in his only PGA tour start and made cuts at something like his first five or six out of seven events over a few seasons. Definitely has the game to try to compete at the highest level, but after his only full year on the decided to regain his amateur status. Didn't really like being on the road and has other opportunities.
    Golfing when I can.
  • tiger1873tiger1873 Members Posts: 1,003 ✭✭
    edited Jul 8, 2018 #5
    Yes everyone who competes at a high level thinks about going pro. It also different for guys then it for girls. I think for guys there is a lot more opportunity to turn pro and make some good money. If you can make the cut every week on the pga then life is pretty good. So in some ways the bar is not as high as women on tour since they have much more opportunities at making money as a pro. Even if you become a low level pro on the tour the chances of getting a good sales job for a guy is still there.

    For girls however only about the top 30-40 players a year really make any amount of money. If you can get into this group then dropping college makes sense. For most girls the smartest play is getting a scholarship at a good school and finish it. If you just making cuts on the LPGA and not finishing consistently in the top 10 life is not good for you.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • ezpzezpz Posts: 461 ✭✭
    Top ranked players wanting to turn pro seems like somewhat of a natural progression to me. But seeing too many kids with 0- +2 thinking they can make it as a professional and becoming disillusioned, while those kinds of players could have a great time playing amateur golf.
  • NevergolfparNevergolfpar Members Posts: 56
    ezpz wrote:

    Top ranked players wanting to turn pro seems like somewhat of a natural progression to me. But seeing too many kids with 0- +2 thinking they can make it as a professional and becoming disillusioned, while those kinds of players could have a great time playing amateur golf.

    I agree. A tournament handicap of +5 (with a reasonable expectation to get better) is the number I feel someone must be at to consider turning professional. A plus 5 should be able to make a few dollars (or not lose his entire investment) on the major feeder tours, but would struggle to survive on the
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