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Do PGA Players Pay To Enter Tournaments?

If you are a PGA golfer, you already know how expensive the sport is. The costs include not only the quality and high-end equipment, gear, and apparel but also the traveling and participating in tournaments. You may wonder, do PGA players pay to enter tournaments?

PGA players generally have to pay to enter tournaments. PGA Tour players exempt from qualifying don’t have to pay entry fees, but they do have to pay an initiation fee and annual dues. There are differences in the entry fees, depending on whether players are members or non-members. 

On the other hand, the best and most successful PGA players get paid to play in tournaments, as well-known companies and businesses sponsor these tours. There are also variations in specific entry fees for different tournaments as they change over the years.

Do PGA Players Pay To Enter Tournaments? Tiger Woods in a PGA Tournament

Do PGA Players Pay To Enter Tournaments?

A professional golfer does have to pay to enter golf tournaments. There are exceptions at the higher level tournaments because many of the expenses are already paid for by sponsors. However, most professional golfers are not in the elite few that play in sponsored PGA tournaments.

The tours and tournaments that many PGA players play in are often called “mini-tours.” These require entry fees, the specific amount depending on whether you’re a member.

Players can also be exempt from qualifying, so they don’t have to pay entry fees. There is a $100 initiation fee and a $100 fee annually. So for the actual tournament, a player exempt from qualifying only has to pay the $50 for the locker room fee, but that’s it. 

How Much Do PGA Players Pay To Enter Tournaments?

Generally, tournament entry fees decrease as players go higher up on the golf ladder of success. A better-viewed, more significant, more important, and bigger tournament will be less expensive than a more minor, less known tournament.

Rory McIlroy
Instagram: @rorymcilroy

PGA and LPGA Futures Tours

Larger tournaments have more sponsors and TV networks which help cover the tournament’s costs. Most PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association) players entering pre-tournament qualifying events must pay a $400 entry fee for each event.

Champions and Nationwide Tour players pay less, about $100. Non-PGA players who qualify for a PGA Tour event must pay the mandatory $50, not an entry fee. This $50 is also called “limited dues”.

It can cost up to $125,000 and more for golfers to play on the PGA Tour. They’ll have expenses for travel and accommodation, fees for their caddy and staff, etc. By the way, if you want to know where the pros stay, check out this article, Where Do Pro Golfers Stay During Tournaments?

This figure increases considerably if golfers also want to play in events worldwide. For the LPGA Futures Tour, the entry fee for professional golfers is $500 for each tournament. However, there are differences in entry fees depending on whether golfers are members of the Futures Tour or amateurs invited by sponsors.

It’s $200 to play in a qualifying tournament for Futures Tour members, $500 for non-members, and about $230 for those invited by the sponsor of the specific tournament.

Golf Course By The Sea

NGA Tour Pro Series And Other Tours

In the US, the NGA Tour Pro Series is the biggest of the mini-tours and includes four different tours. Perhaps you may be more familiar with this as the Swing Thought Tour, which is its more current name.

  • The first, the NGA Carolina Summer Series, has an entry fee of $750 for members. If players only want to play some of the separate tournaments in the series, the entry is $600 for members and $800 for non-members.
  • The second, the Bridgestone Winter Series, holds the most expensive tournament title, with an entry of $800 for members and $1100 for non-members.
  • Thirdly, the Carolina Winter Series costs between $600 and $700 for members to enter and between $800 and $900 for non-members. These entry fees are for each tournament.
  • Lastly, members of any of the NGA Tour Pro Series tours have to pay $800 to play in the Q School Prep Series. Non-members have a slightly higher entry fee of $1000.
  • Other tours like the Canadian Women’s Tour events and the Gateway Tour also include varying costs for PGA players. Players must pay an entry fee of $399 for the Canadian Women’s Tour events. Members of the Gateway Tour pay $1150 for each tournament but only $1000 if they choose to pay for the entire season.
  • The Golden State Tour charges members $250 for individual 18-hole tournaments, and the entry fee increases as the tournament gets larger. For instance, players must pay $450 for a 36-hole event and $650 for 54-holes. Non-members have to pay a little more for each event.
  • Another pro tour is the eGolf Professional Tour which is $1150 for members on Tour and $1390 for non-members.

What Other Expenses Does A PGA Player Have?

The entry fee of the Tour or individual tournament is unfortunately not where a professional golfer’s expenses end. Other costs, such as travel costs, accommodation, and food, need to be included.

These are considered essential to play on Tour, but you should also consider other factors. These include coaching sessions, fitness trainers, physiotherapists, caddies, and agents.

When professional golfers start out, these expenses can add up quickly, especially considering they probably won’t be winning it all back in prize money.

Related: Why Are Golf Players Paid So Much?

Using a simple breakdown of the costs, you could estimate that it would cost at least $125,000 to play one year on the PGA Tour, excluding the specific entry fees for each tournament. This also varies depending on how many events PGA players go to in a year and if they play locally or globally.

Ultimately, the expenses vary from player to player, and top-tier PGA players can afford these expenses much more quickly. Players still climbing up the golf ladder of success may have to pick and choose where to spend their hard-earned money.

And remember, pros only get paid if they make the cut. In 2022, Scott Hend, DP World Tour Pro, and former PGA Tour player missed nine cuts in a row which cost him $50,000.

Tiger Woods
Instagram: @tigerwoods

Let’s Wrap This Up!

PGA players are required to pay entry fees for tournaments. The prices vary depending on the Tour and membership status. There are exceptions, including players exempt from qualifying, who only need to pay initiation costs and annual dues.

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