How to become a golf professional

One can't just show up to a golf course and say "here I am" to become a course professional.

The Professional Golfer's Association and the Ladies Professional Golfer's Association offer opportunities for the profession of golf pro.

There are two basic ways to be certified as a golf professional. A golf-pro-to-be can either have an apprenticeship with a pro and go through a process with the PGA or LPGA or they can go to a college with a PGA accredited school that offers a program.

Seventeen universities in the United State offer a 4 1/2-year college curriculum called the Professional Golf Management University Program for aspiring professionals.

The Yampa Valley Golf Course's newest pro, Brett Etzler, attended the PGM program at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich.

During the apprenticeship, a professional-to-be spends three to five years working under a golf pro while taking classes and tests organized through the PGA.

YVGC's Ann Marie Hamilton earned her Class A pro status with an LPGA program that was similar to the PGA's apprenticeship.

She told the Craig Daily Press in a June 8, 1999, story that "you have to work under a Class A professional for two years, then you take a playing test and an interview. It takes six years to do."

The playing ability test is an established standard to allow entry into the program.

For the PGA, the PAT is based on 36 holes holes of golf. According to the PGA, only 20 percent of those who take the PAT qualify.

YVGC professional Chuck Cobb said the study and tests for a membership is similar to working on a thesis for college.

Golf pros also lose their amateur statuses as they become certified.

That's why Cobb doesn't play in the Cottonwood Classic or any other tournaments the YVGC hosts, unless it's a Pro-Am.

For more information about golf pros, visit www.pga-links.com or www.lpga.com.

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