This is a great question, and one that is asked of me often. Not only why haven’t I gone pro…ever, but what are the common denominators/intangibles needed to be successful when try the play for pay circuit. I know the odds, I personally know over 500 guys that have tried the play for pay circuit and I can count on one hand the number that have made a good living playing golf.
I may be wrong, but right now from one of the most populated areas in the country, that being Northern California, I can only list a few that have really made it. And it’s not the guys that were considered can’t miss…..like Bobby Clampett who absolutely dominated amateur golf on a global basis. I can name 100+ guys that were really good, but just didn’t have the missing ingredient. That ingredient I believe number #1 is the belief that you CAN be a winner in the professional ranks, many don’t feel they are good enough. Handling the failure of not making it right away as a pro is tough as many amateurs just knew dominating amateur golf.
Then you have the guys that did make it that you’d probably not predict would like Kevin Sutherland and Scott McCarron come to mind. I’ve had the god fortune to talk to these guys about this exact subject, and the truth is quite revealing about success in professional golf like any business. It’s basically the burning desire and willingness to sacrifice anything to be successful. Some guys hit the snooze at 5:30 am when it’s time to hit the gym, while others fire out of bed and can’t wait to start their day.
Personally what motivates me is falling short of what I believe to be my potential, my one shot that comes and goes very quickly like everything in life. I can remember the 2000 NCGA Amateur at Spyglass when I made the finals and faced a very good player James Hay in the 36 hole final. After 3 straight days of walking and playing 36 holes I was on pure adrenaline during the final match. I stayed up in the match all day until I ran out of gas on the 14th hole at Spyglass where I chunk-ed my third shot in the lake, that send me reeling to defeat on the 36 hole. Now for those of you that know James, he does not look like a fit athlete, and you’d think you could outlast him physically since he’s carrying some extra weight on those 12 mile walking days. But NO I was the one that got tired, and after losing on the 36 hole I drove back to the Bay Area and went to the gym and did an hour of intense cardio to help with my frustration and missed opportunity. Other times I’ve hit a good bottle of red. But the point is we all have different DRIVING factors that make that small difference in making it or not.
Being a realist and analyzing ones weaknesses is a very important start in the process. If you have immense talent, but have some glaring weaknesses, you’d better be working on those into the wee ours of the night as opposed to hanging with the gang, chicks, guys or whatever is going to keep you from success. Listen, I’m not paid to ramble on like this, nor do I like seeing wasted talent go down the drain because the kid doesn’t have the drive and discipline to run his golf life like a serious business.
Pro golf is not like other major sports where about 1000 baseball players are making $1 million a year regardless of how they perform. Not that will adjust and that money goes away quickly, but golf is not a team event, it’s you against the world. That’s the hard part, everyone out there wants to beat your brains out, especially for the kind of money the pro’s are playing for these days. Do you think Tiger is sitting on his ass sulking that he lost perhaps the hottest girl on the planet, and now needs to date co-eds and waffle house waitresses..well yes he is doing those things while practicing like a mad man all other hours of the day. He is driven and talented beyond belief, and will have his day in the spotlight again. Why will this happen for Tiger, because of what I just said, he knows what it takes to be a winner, it’s hard work. Do you not think Phil Mickelson works hard on his game, or any of those top players, hell yes they do and they are working a lot harder on their games than we are, its their JOB.
That really is the key word, JOB…many of these amateurs don’t know what work is, they’ve just played in the nice junior circuit followed by college golf and some great amateur events. But that’s not the proving ground, the real test is when you try to graduate to the PAY FOR PLAY ranks. Honestly I always knew where I belonged, in amateur golf which I love dearly.
So if anyone is still reading this, then here is my advice.
I would love to hear your comments on this subject. These are my opinions and I’ve been known to be wrong many times, but this is one subject I’m very qualified to comment on. If you are aspiring to play for pay, then you need to work harder than anyone out there. Do you think Ricky Fowler works on his game…OMG be real about the time and talent these guys have.
Playing great amateur golf is a million miles from the pay circuit. If you have what it takes, contact me and I’ll give you my thoughts on the best teachers, exercises, training aids, and mental exercises and goal preparation. If not maybe we’ll just have a private skins game and we’ll have some fun.
Thanks for staying with me through this one!!
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