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Cost of Being A Tour Player


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There’s a lot of guys (at least on the KFT) that have host housing in almost every city they play in. Obviously, your average PGA tour player isn’t doing this but for the KFT guys they need to save every bit of $ that they can. 
 

There’s plenty of rental car sharing going on. Courses provide breakfast and lunch so they just cover their dinner 

 

Most guys who are on staff with a club company are paid about $1250 a week. 

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All this talk makes me wonder, do tour players pay their coaches or is there some other arrangement.  Take Colin Morikowa, does he pay his coaches rate and expenses to travel to a specific tournament?  Or since Colin is 1 of the top players, does the coach use that to build his other clientele/business/teaching academy?

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2 minutes ago, NJBigFish22 said:

All this talk makes me wonder, do tour players pay their coaches or is there some other arrangement.  Take Colin Morikowa, does he pay his coaches rate and expenses to travel to a specific tournament?  Or since Colin is 1 of the top players, does the coach use that to build his other clientele/business/teaching academy?

i’m gonna go ahead and guess it’s something that more resembles the latter. 

 

you know how it goes: the more money you have, the less you need. 

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2 hours ago, Soloman1 said:

And the tour started paying $2,000 (I think that's right...) to players who miss the cut.

Any source for that? The 4 majors pay players that miss the cut a small amount but that's not the PGA Tour. If the PGA Tour is paying players that miss the cut that's news. These articles from April and May 2021 say the PGA Tour players are not paid anything when missing the cut. 

 

https://thegolfnewsnet.com/golfnewsnetteam/2021/05/21/do-pga-tour-players-get-paid-miss-cut-masters-honorarium-103206/

 

https://golf.com/news/masters-miss-cut-brings-nice-payday/

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We sponsor players on both the PGA TOUR and the LPGA Tour.  On the PGA TOUR, one is a rookie (KFT last year) and the other a late 30s veteran and TOUR winner. 
 

Keep in mind these are not top 50 players. By my estimate, each one is making  $150,000 to $200,000 on logos alone (not counting club deals). There are zero expenses involved with these numbers as the sponsor even pays for the logos to be embroidered if the apparel company does not cover that cost in their contract. 
 

Both fly commercial and both stay in hotels (versus renting a house) for almost all of tournaments. On the KFT and LPGA , there are a lot of Hampton Inn/Courtyard stays and, as someone pointed out, host housing. The most desirable amenity in a hotel on the KFT/LPGA is inexpensive and proximity to the course. 
 

When the TOUR resumed play last year after COVID, one agent described the lives of the Pros in the bubble as “very lonely”, with meals in their rooms, etc. I believe the LPGA was even more strict than the PGA TOUR as to the “off the course rules for players during tournament week” during the height of COVID. The LPGA players had an even more restrictive environment when playing in Asia. 
 

 


 

 

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2 hours ago, NJBigFish22 said:

All this talk makes me wonder, do tour players pay their coaches or is there some other arrangement.  Take Colin Morikowa, does he pay his coaches rate and expenses to travel to a specific tournament?  Or since Colin is 1 of the top players, does the coach use that to build his other clientele/business/teaching academy?

Pays him 100%….some guys who haven’t made millions on tour will get like a consultation from their coach and pay them when they hit it big. 

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16 minutes ago, DLBTide7 said:

We sponsor players on both the PGA TOUR and the LPGA Tour.  On the PGA TOUR, one is a rookie (KFT last year) and the other a late 30s veteran and TOUR winner. 
 

Keep in mind these are not top 50 players. By my estimate, each one is making  $150,000 to $200,000 on logos alone (not counting club deals). There are zero expenses involved with these numbers as the sponsor even pays for the logos to be embroidered if the apparel company does not cover that cost in their contract. 
 

Both fly commercial and both stay in hotels (versus renting a house) for almost all of tournaments. On the KFT and LPGA , there are a lot of Hampton Inn/Courtyard stays and, as someone pointed out, host housing. The most desirable amenity in a hotel on the KFT/LPGA is inexpensive and proximity to the course. 
 

When the TOUR resumed play last year after COVID, one agent described the lives of the Pros in the bubble as “very lonely”, with meals in their rooms, etc. I believe the LPGA was even more strict than the PGA TOUR as to the “off the course rules for players during tournament week” during the height of COVID. The LPGA players had an even more restrictive environment when playing in Asia. 
 

 


 

 

The LPGA was a joke. They couldn’t even be seen picking up take out food from restaurants in mid 2020

 

Im interested in who you sponsor on the PGA tour. Is your location based on where the rookie is from?

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1 hour ago, grm24 said:

Any source for that? The 4 majors pay players that miss the cut a small amount but that's not the PGA Tour. If the PGA Tour is paying players that miss the cut that's news. These articles from April and May 2021 say the PGA Tour players are not paid anything when missing the cut. 

 

https://thegolfnewsnet.com/golfnewsnetteam/2021/05/21/do-pga-tour-players-get-paid-miss-cut-masters-honorarium-103206/

 

https://golf.com/news/masters-miss-cut-brings-nice-payday/

No surprise but PGA players who miss the cut aren’t getting paid. 

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5 minutes ago, Creedo77 said:

No surprise but PGA players who miss the cut aren’t getting paid. 

I'm well aware of that LOL! Just waiting for the back pedaling/I heard wrong comment from the poster above that says current PGA Tour pro's are getting 2k a week when they miss the cut w/o any source to verify. 🤣🙄🙄🤣🙃

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For the Top Caliber guys, I am pretty sure that is about right. When you factor in NetJets and flying your crew to the tournament, Housing for them as well as prepped meals like others have said. 

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10 hours ago, llewol007 said:

For the Top Caliber guys, I am pretty sure that is about right. When you factor in NetJets and flying your crew to the tournament, Housing for them as well as prepped meals like others have said. 

 

But don't they all just become buddy-buddy with all the pros that have NetJets as a sponsor and just all jump onto all their free flights? 😂

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10 hours ago, llewol007 said:

For the Top Caliber guys, I am pretty sure that is about right. When you factor in NetJets and flying your crew to the tournament, Housing for them as well as prepped meals like others have said. 

While not a true fixed cost, most private aviation’s are per hour rather than per person. Whether you’re taking yourself or a dozen of your friends, the cost is similar. Only things that might change is fuel costs which would obviously be more since there’s more weight, but those costs could be higher anyways with just you depending on weather conditions, heat, runway conditions, aircraft performance. 

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From a caddie perspective, the typical deal for a full time caddie is $2K/week guaranteed.  Some players may be very particular and say that they'll only 'pay for play', so if they miss the cut they'll only pay $500/round and pay the caddie $1K for the missed cut, but that's pretty rare these days.  Caddies need the money and are also caddying practice rounds and the sort, so most just give them $2K/event and get it over with.

 

Tips is where the caddies make their money.  It's usually a 5/7/10 rule.  5% for made cut, bumps to 7% for a top-10 finish, then to 10% for a victory.

 

Let's use Viktor Hovland as an example.  He made $5,048,772 in Tour earnings alone last year.  He played 25 events (about the average for a full time Tour player) with 1 victory, finishing 16th on the money list.  

 

So his caddie probably was paid $50K in guaranteed money (25 events * $2K).  From there, I don't have his earnings at the match play and Zurich, but the projected caddie tip for the other 23 events would come out to $517,313.  I'm guessing in total the tip to his caddie for the season was around $550K, so in total he paid his caddie $600K.

 

Swing coaches usually go for around $50K for the year, put on retainer.  Putting/Short Game coaches usually go for $20K-$25K.  Not sure what sports psychologists and trainers go for.  I would think that trainers probably go for no more than $25K because there's such a big supply of trainers out there.  I also doubt that sports psychologists are getting that much consistently.  It's common for a player that works with a sports psychologist to work with them for 2-3 years early in their career and then stop or see them maybe 1-2x year.  So i would put the coaching expenses at $75K-$100K/year.

 

Then you have business managers/agents.  They are often paid on commission and what endorsements they can get the player.  Let's say they're getting $100K/year (this for a top-30 player).

 

So we're looking at about $800K for caddie, coaches, agents/managers.  

 

Most of the players I've known, even the top-30 guys, still fly commercial.  If they fly private, it's either once in a while on their dime or it's paid by somebody else (either a company that is endorsing them or some rich dude they are friends with).  A lot of the housing is the same way.  If they bring their family, they'll get a nice house.  If they are by themselves, they may stay at an upscale hotel or rent a smaller house.  Sometimes those are given for free or at ridiculously reduced rates.  Probably harder to get that in say Hawaii and New Jersey.  

 

I would guess that at 25 events, if they are paying $8K to travel per event, that would be high end.  $500/night rooms for say 6 nights would come to $3K.  Then there's another $5K leftover just to spend.  

 

According to Golf Digest, the most common answer for a Tour player when it comes to money in their pocket is $300.  They'll use that to tip the clubhouse manager and maybe to play for some money in a practice round or tip somebody that gets them something in fear of coming off as cheap.

 

My guess is that the traveling expenses per event just for the player are more like $5K/event.  So that would put a player like Hovland who made over $5M in just earnings, at more like just under $1M in expenses.  And he gets to write almost all of that off  And it doesn't include his endorsements which have incentives for winning, making it to East Lake, etc.

 

 

 

 

RH

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13 hours ago, Loki said:

Wasn't it reported that Woods paid Haney $25k to basically be on call every year?

I think having clients like Tiger Woods, Collin Morikawa or Matthew Wolff is a privilege. It raises the profile of a coach or academy immensely. For example, Rick Sessinghaus, is so busy with speaking engagements, writing books, and coaching high profile clients that he doesn't coach regular folks anymore. George Gankas now charges $500 an hour and has his own Youtube channel. Before Matthew Wolff, I doubt that anyone would pay George Gankas $500 an hour.

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A lot of this is really based on your success on tour. Not everyone takes NetJets nor first either. We have also heard of tour player renting out RV's. I am betting a lot of these players provide their own travels and probably ship their clubs via Shipstix. 

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4 hours ago, llewol007 said:

A lot of this is really based on your success on tour. Not everyone takes NetJets nor first either. We have also heard of tour player renting out RV's. I am betting a lot of these players provide their own travels and probably ship their clubs via Shipstix. 

No pro uses shipsticks. The majority are flown with them 

 

There is the Hulka family that is in charge of giving out all the towels on tour. They have a big trailer that they will transport player clubs/luggage for a fee to every event. There’s probably 20/30 players that use it

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30 minutes ago, golfortennis said:

I thought I had read somewhere that swing coaches work on a deal like 1% of winnings or stuff like?

 

@RichieHunt, are caddies still on that scale you mentioned?  I thought about 20 years ago guys started putting the caddies on a salary(likely with a bit of a bonus structure)?  

 

The majority of caddies are on a weekly salary and the percentages that he listed 

 

Your top 20/30 players in the world will give out a monthly salary 

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3 hours ago, llewol007 said:

A lot of this is really based on your success on tour. Not everyone takes NetJets nor first either. We have also heard of tour player renting out RV's. I am betting a lot of these players provide their own travels and probably ship their clubs via Shipstix. 

 

The RV-thing is players with families trying to create a common routine/home life.

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2 hours ago, golfortennis said:

I thought I had read somewhere that swing coaches work on a deal like 1% of winnings or stuff like?

 

@RichieHunt, are caddies still on that scale you mentioned?  I thought about 20 years ago guys started putting the caddies on a salary(likely with a bit of a bonus structure)?  

 

 

I honestly don't know of any swing coach that works solely on a percentage.  Standard for top name swing coaches is $50K/year but they are basically on retainer. and have to show up almost wherever the player wants them.  Lesser name coaches will go for $20K-$25K and may get their travel expenses paid for.  If there's a % type deal going on, it's probably an incentive like 1% of earnings on a victory and additional money for making it to East Lake or the Masters, etc.

 

I think the salary concept for caddies started with Furyk and Fluff.  I have had some people tell me that it wasn't really anything different than what the normal caddies get (guarantee + tips) and it was basically a written contract instead of a handshake agreement.  Not sure how accurate that is, but I wouldn't doubt it.  Nothing more would bum a caddie out than missing out on $$$ because they've agreed to a set deal when they could have made much more on the typical 5/7/10 structure.

 

But most caddies out there are on the 5/7/10 deal.  If you're not a full time caddy and are just picking up a loop, it's usually $250/round + tip.  

 

That's where Kuchar got into trouble with his win at Mayakoba.  His caddie wasn't a full time Tour caddie and I think the Mayakoba caddies would get $100+ tip per round.  Kuchar offered him $2K for the week (essentially $500/round) for a non-full time caddie and thought he was doing him a favor because if Kuchar had missed the cut, the caddie would have made far more money than even other part-time caddies would make.

 

Then Kuchar won and IMO, didn't see the big picture and how that hurt the image of his brand and should have just paid out the normal 10% tip and come away with over $1 million and another Tour victory and all of the ancillary money that comes along with it.

 

 

 

 

RH

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