How expensive is life for a professional golfer on the road?

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick April 5, 2022 09:28

Scott Hend is one of professional golf’s real characters and perhaps the most approachable player on any tour. At least, if you ran into him at an airport on his way to a tournament, he would certainly give you the time of day if you wanted a selfie. If anything, he would probably be nonplussed as to why you wanted a picture with him in the first place. As mentioned, he is one of the tour’s good guys and what you see is certainly what you get. This is why his tweet in early April was quite jarring as he stated that he had missed nine cuts in 2022 and hadn’t made a cent from golf, all the while though, he had spent £38,000 courtesy of the expenses that come with life on tour.

High Starting Costs

This naturally makes one wonder: how do players cope when starting out and how expensive is it to pursue a life as a pro? Of course, this is a problem that most casual sports fans won’t be aware of and if you bet on golf then you are probably used to seeing a list of names that make up some of the wealthiest sporting people on the planet. Indeed, if you look ahead to the US Open in June, you will see the three favourites to win, Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, and Rory Mcllroy who, astonishingly, have collectively amassed more than £82 million in on-course career earnings since they started playing on the PGA Tour. Keep in mind that Mcllroy is the oldest at just 32.

In other words, it’s easy to forget that everyone who plays golf isn’t a multi-millionaire, but the truth is that there are a lot more pros trying to make ends meet than there are ones who are incredibly rich. In reality, just staying on tour is an achievement when the money begins to run out for players who haven’t been able to secure their futures yet. This isn’t a problem that is exclusive to just the men’s tour when you take into consideration that top women’s professional Danielle Kang said she had earned £4500 during a tournament in March after making the cut, and incredibly, still didn’t break even for the week.

Remarkably, the overheads of flights, car hire, and hotels, plus everything else that goes with a week on tour amounted to more than what Kang earned. This gives you some indication of how tough it is for pros who aren’t at the very top of the game to keep their heads above water.

Like Kang, Scott had been spending the same amount every week, roughly around £4300 per event but the Australian missed every cut which, in essence, meant that he had taken just short of £40,000 out of his savings to get him to April. Professional golf rewards in abundance for a select few but for everyone else on tour, it’s a ruthless existence that has a tendency to burn through large amounts of cash in the blink of an eye.

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick April 5, 2022 09:28
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