Does a PGA Golfer Pay to Get Into a Tournament? If So, How Much!

Does a PGA Golfer Pay to Get Into a Tournament? If So, How Much!

Yes a PGA Golfer will pay to enter tournaments unless he/she has an exemption, in this article, we will explain how much a golfer will pay to get into tournaments on the different professional golf tours.

It costs in the region of $110,000, as a minimum, to play on the PGA Tour. For players who compete in global events, it is estimated that costs will be in the region of $200,000.

To play on the less prestigious Nationwide Tour will still cost $75,000.

It’s cut-throat and there is no guarantee of a paycheque. In a four-day tournament after day two, 50% of the field fails to reach the score required to keep playing through the weekend, this is called the ‘cut‘.

If you fail to make the cut, the golfer will earn nothing at all.

They still have all of the expenses for travel, accommodation, and the fees for their caddy.

A PGA tour player who has an exemption from qualifying is not required to pay an entry fee.

They do pay a $100 initiation fee on top of the annual subscription of $100, the only expense for these top players is a $50 locker room fee.

The bulk of professionals who are forced to play in a pre-tournament qualifier are required to pay a $400 entry fee.

Champions and Nationwide Tour players pay a reduced $100 fee and non-exempt PGA Tour members have no fee to pay at all.

The PGA Tour is the organizer of the primary professional golf tours for men in the USA.

These tours are a way of linking unconnected professional tournaments into an organized schedule.

Up to 95% of professional golfers in the USA earn their money as club professionals instead of competing on the tours.

There is a small group of professional golfers who have opted to concentrate on competition.

These are referred to as “Tournament Golfers” or “Pro Golfers.” This group of players makes their income from prize money and endorsements.

The top golfers in this group can make eight-figure incomes, but for the majority of these Tournament Golfers, it can be a challenging experience.

As a member of the PGA, professional golfers do not typically pay green fees.

This is the case in virtually all the courses world-wide.

An exception to the rule is Wentworth where they get a limited number of free rounds.

They do have to pay for their caddy, and that can prove expensive.


Golfers work out individual arrangements with caddies, but a caddy will expect to be paid circa $1,200 a week minimum as a basic fee, supplemented by a percentage of the winnings. (between 5% and 10% depending on the level of success the golfer has).

Travel Costs & Living Expenses

Another cost the Tour Golfer has to cover is the cost of travel and accommodation. This can be a struggle for some lower down the ranks and they may even end up staying in a car or campervan.

Getting from one tournament event to the next is also done in a variety of ways. All of this without any guarantee of a paycheck.

Tours Operated by the PGA Tour

The PGA Tour is a separate organization from the PGA. The PGA Tour The PGA Tour is responsible for organizing the following tournaments:

PGA Tour

This is the premier tournament in the USA. It does include some events outside the USA. These events occur in Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, South Korea, Malaysia, and Japan.

PGA Tour Champions

This is an event for seniors for golfers over the age of 50. It has one event in Canada and one in the UK.

Korn Ferry Tour

Entry Fee: $100
A US Development tour which has one event in Colombia, Canada, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Panama,

PGA Tour Latinoamerica

An international development tour with events in nine Latin American Countries

PGA Tour Canada

The Mackenzie Tour is an International development Tour of Canada which has a qualification school in California followed by nine events in Canada.

PGA Tour China

This development tour of China was created in 2014.

Tour Card

The PGA Tour runs from January through to October and is the Premier Golf Tour in the USA.

At the end of the year only the top 125 players, based on their winnings get to keep the all-important “Tour Card“.

This card allows the holder to enter any of the PGA Tour’s events with potentially massive prizes to be won.

It also opens the door to sponsorship deals and other benefits, it is noted that when you secure a PGA Tour card you are given $20,000 per week expenses by the PGA Tour.

If a player ends up in the next 25 spots they keep their card and can enter events to make up the numbers if required.

Things are not so good if you end up outside that top 150, In that situation the player has a choice. of going back to the notorious Q School (The PGA Qualifying Tournament) or being sent down to the Nationwide Tour which is the minor league for American golf.

So, even if and when you qualify to be a Pro Golfer in the PGA tour there is no guarantee that you keep that elevated position. It is all too easy to lose the position. This of course also has an impact on entry fees and other benefits.

PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament

The PGA Qualifying Tournament usually called ‘Q School‘ is the entry to the PGA Tour. It is a tough test to face and gives new golfers a taste of the pressures of golf tournaments.

The school will highlight those players who have both the technical skills and mental toughness to compete at the highest level in golf.

New golfers taking their first steps at becoming a Tournament Golfer will have to fight their way through Q School and compete with experienced professionals who had a bad year and lost their card.

It is tough to qualify through ‘Q School’ and only the very best golfers will succeed. Golfers who have finished in positions 26 to 40 get an exemption to the final round of the tournament at Q School, as do former PGA Tour Cardholders who lost their card the previous year.

Entry Costs for the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament

Getting through Q School is expensive.
• Pre-Qualification Stage – $2,700
• First Qualifying Stage – $4,500
• Second Qualifying Stage – $4,000
• Final Stage – $3,500

You need to be sure that you are good enough before applying for Q School, or it could be a waste of a lot of money.

However, should you succeed and win through, receiving your PGA Tour Card, then you will have joined an elite group with extraordinarily high earnings potential.