The average golfer is often confused as to the difference between the members of the PGA of America and the members of the PGA Tour. When a PGA professional is introduced to an amateur for the first time, the amateur's initial thought is of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and the PGA Tour's weekly televised events. Let us try and eliminate this confusion.
The members of the PGA Tour, Champions Tour and Ladies PGA, as well as a variety of mini-tours, are professional golfers making their living by playing the game competitively. The members and apprentices of the PGA of America are the people who run the golf industry on a day-to-day basis by using their expertise in the game to operate golf facilities, teach and, in general, be the experts in the game and business of golf.
Founded in 1916, the PGA of America has grown into the world's largest working sports organization with more than 28,000 members and apprentices. Today, from its national office in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and from 41 affiliated Section Offices throughout the United States, the PGA of America directs extensive programs that impact every aspect of the game. The PGA of America also hosts several annual events including the Ryder Cup, The PGA Championship and The PGA Club Professional Championship.
The Colorado Section of the PGA promotes involvement in and enjoyment of the game of golf for the golfers of Colorado, Eastern Wyoming and a small part of South Dakota. The purpose of the Section is to promote the enjoyment and involvement in the game of golf within the Section, and to contribute to its growth by providing services to golf professionals and the golf industry within the Section.
The Section accomplishes this purpose by enhancing the skills of its professionals and the opportunities for amateurs, employers, manufacturers, employees and the general public within the Section. The Colorado PGA has more than 825 members and apprentices.
The main purpose of the PGA of America is to guide, train and educate qualified individuals to become PGA members who then serve the golf industry in a variety of capacities. To become a PGA member, an individual must successfully complete a number of steps. The process begins when the individual completes a Playing Ability Test or PAT. The PAT is given several times throughout the year and players must complete 36 holes at no more than 15 strokes over the course rating. The individual must then work full-time for six months within the 12 months prior to registration and be eligibly employed at the time of registration under a Class A PGA Professional. At this point, an individual can apply to become an Apprentice in the PGA of America.
Within the next six years, apprentices must complete three levels of the PGA of America's Professional Golf Management Program. The PGA/PGM is comprised of self-study courses and seminars. It is designed to increase their knowledge of golf related subjects as they strive to enhance their interpersonal, managerial and communication skills. At the completion of each level of the PGA/PGM, each apprentice must pass a Level Checkpoint where they are graded on the knowledge they acquired during that level. Once this is completed, the apprentice becomes a Class A PGA Professional.
Once a member, a PGA professional must continue their education by obtaining PGA approved recertification credits. Members that become interested in taking their expertise to a higher level can take part in the Certified Professional Program.
Anyone who calls themselves a golf professional and does not have the initials PGA attached to their name has not gone through this extensive training program.
Don't sell yourself or your golf game short. Entrust your game to a PGA Golf Professional. Remember, they are not only here to make you a better golfer, but to make golf a better game.