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Working In The Golf Business (Your recollections)


caeye0710
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3 hours ago, Ifelloffladder said:

Would be nice to have that experience after I retire. The drinking part. Lol. Just playin'.

 

Thanks for sharing your experience.

 

 

My handicap might've gone up about 7 strokes, but my beer drinking ability has gone up about 20. Lol. 

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3 hours ago, jholz said:

I don't have any golf related stories to recount, but I'm totally with you.

 

I spent most of my late 20's/early 30's trying to make a career of skateboarding. It never happened, but man, those were some fun years.

I got on a skateboard one time in my entire life. Don't ask me how it went. 

 

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Currently still on the golf course grind. I love the people, whether it's the watching one of the new kids we hire really get into golf, shooting the s*** with the members before/after events, or just chatting with random groups when it's slow about which local courses are in good shape, sports etc etc its all fun. But man the pay just kills it, I really wanted to do something in the industry but it seems sales would be one of the only routes and having sold insurance for a little over a year in the past anything similar just destroys that thought for me.

 

The sad part is my golf game has been in a huge slump because after 5 days in the shop I don't even want to touch a club, I play one day a week in a money game with other  employees/members but that's my limit. I haven't gone out to hit balls or chip in almost a year, hell I don't even show up early to warm up anymore. The fact that I used to show up at dawn, work my shift, then play till dark 4-5 days a week just seems insane to me. I basically won't play after work anymore ever. Sometimes I don't even know why I still work here.

 

Sorry to vent, I obviously still love the game and sometimes feel like I should be really grinding my game again to get close to scratch (long time goal) while it's free and I have the time and I'm young but when I wake up on my day off and think about basically going to "work" it just ruins it. Maybe I just need to move on for it to be fun for me again.

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2 hours ago, Storms said:

Currently still on the golf course grind. I love the people, whether it's the watching one of the new kids we hire really get into golf, shooting the s*** with the members before/after events, or just chatting with random groups when it's slow about which local courses are in good shape, sports etc etc its all fun. But man the pay just kills it, I really wanted to do something in the industry but it seems sales would be one of the only routes and having sold insurance for a little over a year in the past anything similar just destroys that thought for me.

 

The sad part is my golf game has been in a huge slump because after 5 days in the shop I don't even want to touch a club, I play one day a week in a money game with other  employees/members but that's my limit. I haven't gone out to hit balls or chip in almost a year, hell I don't even show up early to warm up anymore. The fact that I used to show up at dawn, work my shift, then play till dark 4-5 days a week just seems insane to me. I basically won't play after work anymore ever. Sometimes I don't even know why I still work here.

 

Sorry to vent, I obviously still love the game and sometimes feel like I should be really grinding my game again to get close to scratch (long time goal) while it's free and I have the time and I'm young but when I wake up on my day off and think about basically going to "work" it just ruins it. Maybe I just need to move on for it to be fun for me again.


I hear you man. I’d still be doing it if the money were better. Even with lessons, I think my best year was $15-17k after taxes. 
 

Ironically I’m in sales for big tech. Do I love the job? Yes, but not as much as I did being in the industry. 
 

With a wife, two kids, and two dogs, the money has to roll in at more than $1k a month. Lol. 

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Good thread, brought back some good memories
Whilst it definitely wasn't full time for me, I worked in the pro shop as a teenager during one summer and I don't think it was a coincidence that it was my best ever season and got my handicap to it all time low. I think being around golf all day every day and being in that "inner circle" at the club leads to just living and breathing golf

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Never worked full time in the golf industry, but I use to work in the cart barn doing the summers in high school.

 

Course was semi-private, use to be private back in the 60s, but had gone downhill since. I worked there three years, first two years they had a golf professional run everything (different pro each year), third year they got rid of the professional role and had a "golf manager" come in, who wasn't as fun to work for. 

 

The job itself as you said above was pretty good, got to play/practice unlimited on days off or not working. Got free meals when you were there, made "Crazy" tips for a high school kid. They would have outings and we got leftovers, ate for days haha. Shop would close around  5/6 during the summer, and I would have to wait for all the carts to come in; instead of sitting there waiting for the one cart that would always come in at 9, I'd go out and play. 

 

In college ended up working on a more private club, which was just downhill from the first course. I get if you're a member you don't want to get hit up with tips, but at this private club we got no tips and only got to play on Mondays. 

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On 12/1/2022 at 1:15 PM, caeye0710 said:

A recent thread made me think back to my "glory" days of being an Assistant Pro at a 36-hole club back near my hometown. 

 

On paper, it was 60+ hours a week while still having two days off. The beautiful part of it was that one of my duties was to play in the members group three times per week (usually Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays). I'd typically open the shop up in the morning, and tee off with the group around Noon. Most of the time I'd be done after that, but because I had free meals, I'd usually hang around for dinner and help out before heading home. Having Wednesdays and Sundays off, I could play if I wanted in the money matches, practice, or simply relax. Mondays were usually full 14-16 hour days. Saturdays were the same although I did get to play. 

 

Housing was free, and it wasn't a shanty. The owner was a prominent developer who provided the full-time golf staff with their own 3br home within walking distance. 

 

It was like one big family: both the employees and the membership. It wasn't some stuffy club you often hear of. 

 

Staff mingled with members (rarely this caused problems). You'd often catch the owner, pro, and all of us having beers at the grille after work (sometimes during depending on the occasion). 

 

It seemed like a fairy tale as most of the women who worked there were drop dead gorgeous, but outside of dating one of them for three years, it never really mattered to me because I had/have zero game with the ladies. 

 

We had an employee "bar" in the barn out back for after hours. Nearly every night there was drinking and some kind of card game going, most of the time a member or two in the inner circle would join in. Beers for us employees were $1 if it was a draft, $2 if it was bottle (no discount on liquor that I can recall, but I was more of a beer guy).

 

Saturdays after work, the entire staff (myself, the pro, the chef, and the grille room attendants) would usually walk across the neighborhood to this little honkey tonk style bar and stay out wee into the morning. A couple occasions when I did have to cover on a Sunday, I'd barely get an hour of sleep before heading in at 4:30am. No chance my body could handle that anymore. 

 

When I got hired there, I was an 8-handicap. I practiced, played, and drank my way down to a +1 or so. I broke up fist fights between the members, talked cops out of giving our favorite member a DUI for hitting his car with a golf cart when he was smashed, and said Goodbye to quite a few older men and women whose time came to head to the afterlife. 

 

I passed my PAT on this course, had several members pay for the rest of my college after my Mom died, got my first hole-in-one after half-drunkenly calling my shot.

 

Despite it being a PRISTINE 36-hole private facility, 95% of the membership there were salt-of-the-earth people besides a few bad apples that really never stuck around long, anyways. 

 

I'll never forget the awesome people I got to work with along the way. I've worked for the typical clubs where you have to brown-nose your way around the place and walk on eggshells. I knew when I left this course, I could never go anywhere else. 

 

Now, ten years later, a slightly inflated gut and definitely inflated handicap (I blame the kids), I always think back to those years. I died inside when I resigned, but I knew making $960 a month after taxes wasn't going to get me anywhere in life, even if housing and food was at no cost. 

 

I know a lot of us who have worked on the green grass side of the business have nightmare stories, but I'd love to hear if anyone has recollections similar to this. 

Sounds like Heaven on Earth. And I’m assuming since you have kids, you had plenty of game with at least one lady.

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On 12/2/2022 at 5:13 AM, caeye0710 said:


I hear you man. I’d still be doing it if the money were better. Even with lessons, I think my best year was $15-17k after taxes. 
 

Ironically I’m in sales for big tech. Do I love the job? Yes, but not as much as I did being in the industry. 
 

With a wife, two kids, and two dogs, the money has to roll in at more than $1k a month. Lol. 

I’d say $50-60k a year is pretty normal for anyone with ambition nowadays. 

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20 hours ago, golfandfishing said:

I’m still seeing assistant pro job openings here in AZ at $32k. Say a guy works in Scottsdale at that rate, rent and basic utilities is $2000 minimum now anywhere within a 30 minute drive. There is nothing left after that, so a grown man needs roommates. The golf industry still loves to keep people poor until they hold one of the top 3 or 4 spots in an operation - head pro, GM, DoG or super can make a living. Everyone else can live in the bunkhouse and be grateful for the employee meal(s).  It’s tough for anyone to tolerate very long, especially when their friends of the same age are making $60k out of college and quickly earning more while they jump from Camelback to Talking Stick to Eagle Mountain chasing an extra $20 a week in salary and maybe the employee meal includes chicken instead of just hot dogs? The old and still dominant culture of being proud of poverty has really hurt the ability to hire good people into the golf business. 

And I know of a bunch of teaching positions that are available starting at $60k+ that can’t find people to fill them. Again you need ambition and actually want to be good at your job but there’s a TON of opportunities out there

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2 hours ago, iteachgolf said:

And I know of a bunch of teaching positions that are available starting at $60k+ that can’t find people to fill them. Again you need ambition and actually want to be good at your job but there’s a TON of opportunities out there

The main issue with the jobs you describe is that many of the folks who are capable and ambitious enough for that $80k a year teaching pro job is that they left the business years ago and make two or three times that now.  The golf business and the pga of America’s program and culture weeded most of the people with ambition, skills and talent and now they don’t have enough left to fill middle class lifestyle jobs. Huh, I’m shocked……

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39 minutes ago, golfandfishing said:

The main issue with the jobs you describe is that many of the folks who are capable and ambitious enough for that $80k a year teaching pro job is that they left the business years ago and make two or three times that now.  The golf business and the pga of America’s program and culture weeded most of the people with ambition, skills and talent and now they don’t have enough left to fill middle class lifestyle jobs. Huh, I’m shocked……

 

I think outside of say Arizona or Florida, in many cases working in golf needs to be a passion project more than anything. As you say a talented, ambitious smart person can make more money doing other things and then just play golf as a hobby. There are very few 100k golf jobs in the golf industry in say, Canada. There's probably individual companies in my province that have more 100k jobs then the golf industry in Quebec combined. 

 

Now if you're in Arizona or Florida and can become a coach of pros, it's probably a more realistic goal to make a generous living and do what you love. But you can't do that everywhere.

 

Like, if you want to be an actor, you gotta Live in Hollywood 

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8 of my friends and I worked grounds crew(2 worked pro shop/starters) every Summer through our college years at the public course super close to where I built my home & play mens league now.  Those were easily the best Summers of my life.  Couple of us lived in my parents house(they were living South at the time), worked hard, played hard & free golf went a long way for us.
 

I still am friends with them all today, 2(both pro shop guys) play in my mens league foursome.  We know the course like the back of our hands & have great memories and stories from those days.

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On 12/11/2022 at 5:14 PM, golfandfishing said:

The main issue with the jobs you describe is that many of the folks who are capable and ambitious enough for that $80k a year teaching pro job is that they left the business years ago and make two or three times that now.  The golf business and the pga of America’s program and culture weeded most of the people with ambition, skills and talent and now they don’t have enough left to fill middle class lifestyle jobs. Huh, I’m shocked……

Not many jobs out there paying $100k+ to work 30 hours a week.  Love to see the gig that pays 3x what my assistants make let alone what I do at similar hours. I consider an $80k teaching job an entry level/fairly low paying gig.  I know a lot of guys teaching that make $250k+.  Last I checked there was over 10 teaching gigs open that pay $120k+.  I’m sure even more head pro/DOG positions at that figure are open currently.  

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18 minutes ago, iteachgolf said:

Not many jobs out there paying $100k+ to work 30 hours a week.  Love to see the gig that pays 3x what my assistants make let alone what I do at similar hours. I consider an $80k teaching job an entry level/fairly low paying gig.  I know a lot of guys teaching that make $250k+.  Last I checked there was over 10 teaching gigs open that pay $120k+.  I’m sure even more head pro/DOG positions at that figure are open currently.  

 

Sorry to jump in with a question that is somewhat related, but also somewhat tangential. There's a bit of a preamble...

 

Since the pandemic started in 2020, golf equipment has gone up in price, both secondhand and new. I don't have an accurate figure for the price rise, but I'd guess at a markup of of at least 20% on secondhand clubs compared to a couple of years ago.

Around me (in Western Japan), it has become harder to book a tee-time, and green fees have gone up (by about 15%) as a result. I don't think my part of the world is unique in this.

 

Golf is becoming more popular, and prices for clubs and green-fees are rising; is the pay for the teaching jobs you mentioned also rising in a comparable way to that? 

 

I'd like to think those jobs are also seeing a bump, but I'm also curious to see how much.

 

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8 minutes ago, No_Catchy_Nickname said:

 

Sorry to jump in with a question that is somewhat related, but also somewhat tangential. There's a bit of a preamble...

 

Since the pandemic started in 2020, golf equipment has gone up in price, both secondhand and new. I don't have an accurate figure for the price rise, but I'd guess at a markup of of at least 20% on secondhand clubs compared to a couple of years ago.

Around me (in Western Japan), it has become harder to book a tee-time, and green fees have gone up (by about 15%) as a result. I don't think my part of the world is unique in this.

 

Golf is becoming more popular, and prices for clubs and green-fees are rising; is the pay for the teaching jobs you mentioned also rising in a comparable way to that? 

 

I'd like to think those jobs are also seeing a bump, but I'm also curious to see how much.

 

I think it varies greatly.  My rates have stayed constant but I’m sure others are raising rates. I think salaries have gone up slightly on the club side of things.  
 

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1 hour ago, iteachgolf said:

Not many jobs out there paying $100k+ to work 30 hours a week.  Love to see the gig that pays 3x what my assistants make let alone what I do at similar hours. I consider an $80k teaching job an entry level/fairly low paying gig.  I know a lot of guys teaching that make $250k+.  Last I checked there was over 10 teaching gigs open that pay $120k+.  I’m sure even more head pro/DOG positions at that figure are open currently.  

10 teaching gigs in an entire industry? Can’t see at all why people aren’t lining up to jump in…….

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2 hours ago, golfandfishing said:

10 teaching gigs in an entire industry? Can’t see at all why people aren’t lining up to jump in…….

That are currently open off the top of my head.  There are thousands of pros making over $150k teaching.  
 

The average compensation for full time teachers in the latest compensation survey (net after expenses) is over $150k for employees and independent contractors.  For teachers who own their own academy it’s over $200k.  

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Good thread...

 

I got started in the summers working on the maintenance staff at a very famous and prestigious country club in my area.  I actually really loved that job b/c it was 6am-2pm Monday through Friday and 5:30am to around 10am on saturdays.  It was a great job b/c I loved being outside, being active, and still had the rest of my day to play free golf or do anything else I wanted.  I did that all 4 summers in college.  The pay wasn't great but it was a fun job.

 

After college I had thoughts of maybe going all in and doing the PGA thing to become a pro.  My first job out of college was at a very high end golf club in NY as an assistant caddiemaster.  Put a lot of hours in with that job as I would work 40hrs on the clock doing tee sheets, assigning loops, managing carts, bag room, etc.  It was a very small club with a smaller membership so it was never really stressful.  After I clocked out I usually did a loop myself for extra cash.  During the busy season we hosted a lot of monday outings so I really didn't have any days off.  Again, lots of hours but I did make a lot of money as well.  Even almost 20 years ago I was making at least $150 for double bagging at that club.  It was fun b/c I met some cool people I worked with but it was pretty exhausting and I literally never had time to play golf.  On the plus side I met some pretty famous members/guests and that was pretty cool.  

 

The following year I got a caddiemaster job at another country club nearby.  I worked Tuesday through Sunday and sometimes Monday's as well.  This job is what kind of drove me out of the business.  At the time, all the tee times were done manually on a literal tee sheet.  Members either had to call or reserve their times with me in person.  Seems simple on paper but rich entitled members not being happy with the tee times, or not getting one at all b/c they just assumed I knew to handle it for them, got really old.  I'm just not the butt kissing type and I had to manage the play on the course as well as the caddies with assigning loops.  There was just a lot of.... "hey this is my normal time and my normal caddie" but then sometimes they wouldn't show and the space/caddie would be left hanging.  I didn't play that crap... and I really hated it when members wanted to just "Squeeze out".  They just couldn't understand that I wasn't willing to piss off every other group on the course by doing so when they had a tee time and they didn't.  It just really sucked... it was one of those jobs where it was no news is good news and when a member did come to me it was always bc of something negative.  Maybe it was a bad fit but I left the golf business immediately after that and decided to go back to school to get my masters and I became a teacher instead.  Now I'm a member at a country club and bc of my experience in the business, I am extra courteous to the staff at my club.  Dealing with people sucks. 

 

Long story short, it wasn't at all as glamorous as it seemed it would be.  I made good money on tips and liked being around the game but I rarely had time to play.  Now I'm off in the summer, I make more money, and I have way more time to play golf.  Dealing with kids (I'm a PE teacher) is way more rewarding than dealing with members!

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6 hours ago, iteachgolf said:

That are currently open off the top of my head.  There are thousands of pros making over $150k teaching.  
 

The average compensation for full time teachers in the latest compensation survey (net after expenses) is over $150k for employees and independent contractors.  For teachers who own their own academy it’s over $200k.  

 

Sorry are you saying average pay for full time teachers in the US as a whole is 150k?

 

That just seems crazy to me. Sorry i'm not fighting or anything, that just seems really high considering how many dudes in like Missouri and Kansas and places like must be earning much less. 

 

One of my friends is one of the highest regarded pros in Quebec (he has recently won awards to this effect) and i don't believe he makes that in US dollars

 

It's possible i'm just way off but that seems really high for an average, but i'm not an expert on every market obviously and i'm not in the golf biz

 

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4 hours ago, MtlJeff said:

 

Sorry are you saying average pay for full time teachers in the US as a whole is 150k?

 

That just seems crazy to me. Sorry i'm not fighting or anything, that just seems really high considering how many dudes in like Missouri and Kansas and places like must be earning much less. 

 

One of my friends is one of the highest regarded pros in Quebec (he has recently won awards to this effect) and i don't believe he makes that in US dollars

 

It's possible i'm just way off but that seems really high for an average, but i'm not an expert on every market obviously and i'm not in the golf biz

 

Correct, now I’m sure not every teacher completed said survey.  But I know multiple teachers in Canada who do very well and make numbers that would compare to those and considerably higher in some cases.  
 

does your friend teach full time, year round?

 

Full time teachers should be teaching 1400+ lessons a year.  

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8 hours ago, iteachgolf said:

Correct, now I’m sure not every teacher completed said survey.  But I know multiple teachers in Canada who do very well and make numbers that would compare to those and considerably higher in some cases.  
 

does your friend teach full time, year round?

 

Full time teachers should be teaching 1400+ lessons a year.  

 

Ah OK i get it , no he wouldn't be teaching that much. That's a lot of lessons. Typically the guys i know who've become head pros at good clubs, they have a couple of assistants who usually do like 70-80% of the lessons with the members. They might do some lessons in the offseason with good clients. But mostly they get good salaries and manage the pro shop etc, deal with the big OEMs accounts and stuff. I mean these guys do well, paid well plus some perks from the companies they are on staff with--i just didn't think it was like 200K CAD+

 

But doing this plus several lessons yeah i could see that. Though as you say thats a lot of work

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I think this is an area where job titles are kind of murky and not well-defined. 

 

You would think the "Head Golf Professional" at a club would spend a lot of time giving instruction but that actually seems sort of rare. If a guy in that position wants to prioritize teaching he usually can, but otherwise he's going to spend a lot of time organizing tournaments and the like. Normally the head pro has a financial interest in the pro shop as well and that can eat up a lot of time especially if he does fitting appointments. 

 

A "teaching professional" is not necessarily affiliated with a club. In fact if someone wants to maximize their time giving lessons it's probably better if they aren't in a club environment. Better to be at range or teaching facility where you're not distracted by questions from members about why Bubba is still getting pops in the low ball when he played in the second flight of the member/member. 

 

The guy I see is at a range/teaching facility here. He does both lessons and fittings and probably has about 6-7 hours of his time sold every day. At around $100/hour on average I have to think he's doing okay. His biggest problem is likely not getting enough time off. 

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      What you need to know: Breakthrough movable weight technologies and versatile designs are the hallmarks of the 2023 TaylorMade Stealth 2 fairway woods. Stealth 2 Plus is branded as “three fairway woods in one” owing to the unique performance characteristics afforded by the 50-gram sole weight. Stealth 2 features a slightly lower profile 3D carbon crown than Stealth. This moves CG down and away from the toe with more weight in the rear of the club for higher launch and MOI. Ultra-high MOI Stealth 2 HD features an oversized 200cc head and low-profile sole, creating an easy-to-hit, draw-biased club.
       
      Stealth 2 fairway


       
      Stealth 2 Plus fairway


       
       


       
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      • 47 replies
    • 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions - Discussion
      Please put any equipment questions or comments here
       
      More albums will be added tomorrow
       
       
       
      General Albums
       
      2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua – Tues. Pt. 1
       
       
      WITB Albums
       
      Jon Rahm mini WITB (w/ new Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond driver and fairway woods) – 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions
      Ryan Brehm WITB – 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions
       
       
      Pullout Albums
       
      SuperStroke Limited Edition Hawaii Collection covers and grips – 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions
      Collin Morikawa's new TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus driver and 3 wood – 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions
      Xander Schauffele's new Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond driver – 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions
      Xander Schauffele's Odyssey Toulon "XS Proto" mallet putter – 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions
      New Odyssey White Hot Versa and Tri-Hot 5K putters – 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions
      Sungjae Im's Scotty Cameron Tourtype F-5 proto putter (with new SuperStroke Zenergy 1.0 PT grip) – 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions
      Scottie Scheffler's new TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus driver and Stealth 2 fairway wood – 2023 Sentry Tournament of Champions
       
       
       
       
       
       
       

       
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    • 2022 PNC Championship - Discussion and Links
      Please put any questions or comments here
       
       
       
      General Albums
       
      2022 PNC Championship - Thursday
      2022 PNC Championship - Friday #1
      2022 PNC Championship - Friday #2
       
       
       
      WITB Albums 
       
      Nelly Korda - WITB - 2022 PNC Championship
      John Daly, II - WITB - 2022 PNC Championship
      Tiger Woods - WITB - 2022 PNC Championship
      Qass Singh - WITB - 2022 PNC Championship
      VJ Singh - WITB - 2022 PNC Championship
       
       
       
       
       
      Pullout Albums
       
      Tiger & Charlie - 2022 PNC Championship - #1
      Tiger & Charlie - 2022 PNC Championship #2
       
       
       
       
       
      • 28 replies

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