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No Longer an Amateur Golfer

Though technically my time as an amateur golfer ended prior to this afternoon, I crossed a barrier today that cements my decision to become a golf instructor: I gave my first official lesson.

I've been observing lessons given by Dave Wedzik for quite awhile now. My trip to Scottsdale, though ostensibly for the capturing of images, was also and perhaps even primarily geared towards continuing to further my understanding of the golf swing.

As of today, I'm a professional golfer. OK, that felt weird to type…

At any rate, I'm likely going to enter the PGA's Professional Golf Management (PGM) program shortly. The first PAT (Playing Ability Test) in my "section" of the PGA takes place on May 7. The cost is $100 + $50. I'll pay $200 for access to three pre-qualifying courses, then $32.50 to take a test at an ACT testing center. After that, it's $58.99 for a background check (yeah, seriously), ~$250 for section fees, and $560 for the Level 1 materials. In late fall I'll probably try to visit Port St. Lucie to take my Level 1 tests… for $2000. I'll buy my Level 2 materials, eventually pay another $2k for those tests, and then get Level 3 materials and pay $1800 for those tests. The entire time I'll be a "PGA Apprentice" and, at the end, a PGA Class A Pro. Though I could probably complete the coursework and pass the tests in six months if I wanted, I believe there's still a inimum of three years.

Frankly, the entire PGA program is a bit of a goofy system. Among the classes I'll have to take, several have nothing to do with instruction - including "Golf Car Fleet Management," "Tournament Operations," "Turfgrass Management," "Food and Beverage Control," and "Merchandising and Inventory Management," among others - and I think the PGA would be much better off to certify people within several categories of professional golf management - instruction, tournament operator, director of golf, etc.

At any rate, I'm off. It'll be awhile before I register for the pre-qual courses and sign up to play in the first PAT, but I am off, and on my way. Three years from… well, some date a few months in the future, anyway… I believe I'll be a PGA Class A Member.

And yeah, this is what I was talking about when I wrote a post called 'A Change of Profession'." I'll still be a software developer. I'll still be a web developer - especially for the next three years - but I'm looking to bring the knowledge I've gained to bear on the field of golf instruction, too.

This isn't a decision made recently, either. I spoke with Dave Wedzik last fall about this, and I've spent hundreds of hours looking at the golf swing and almost as many talking with Dave, observing lessons, and furthering my development and understanding.

This summer I'll be a "junior" or "apprentice" instructor at the Golf Evolution academy at Whispering Woods Golf Club.

5 Responses to "No Longer an Amateur Golfer"

  1. Dude, awesome. Congratulations on your progress so far and best of luck to you with the rest!

  2. Nice!

    Sounds like fun, good luck!

  3. Congratulations!! I really think that most people end up moving out of the computer world eventually to something that is a little more "hands on". I know I miss the real world when I'm stuck at my desk in the intarweb.

  4. Congratulations! Sounds like an exciting new chapter in your life.

    Are your plans to focus on instruction, work at a club, or both?

    Good luck at your PAT!

  5. From someone who would know, you will make a great golf instructor and more importantly, a great teacher (there's a difference).