Posted 07 July 2018 - 08:56 AM
I can't speak for anyone other than my son, who was ranked around 82nd in his class a few years ago. Although still in college at a mid-tiered D1 program, he does indeed plan on turning professional next summer.
The road will be long and arduous one for him, as his window of opportunity will be a small one. The biggest obstacle being money. The road to earn a PGA tour card is very expensive. I firmly believe that any golfer at the D1 level, who has experienced a measure of success (my son has won 5 times at the collegiate level) owes it to himself to try. Personally, I believe there are at least a couple of hundred every year who leave college and have the game to compete. The question being, does the money run out before success is achieved. For a vast majority, sadly they run out of money and are forced to begin a life outside of competitive golf.
As his father, my advice to him is to get his degree (he needs one more year of college golf to hone in his game) and I will support his decision thereafter. Last year he made the decision to set up his Junior year class schedule in such a way which will allow him to play his final semester taking only 3 credit hours. His plan is to use this extra time to focus all of his attention to his golf game, while he uses the practice facility and free access to golf to its maximum. The downside to his plan, was his golf game suffered his Junior year, as his dedication to completing a maximum course load affected his play (though he did complete his highest GPA to date). He believes that by the time he graduates his golf game will be peaking at the right time.
As his father I honestly believe that he has the skill set to compete at the games highest levels. Having played with some players who have competed on the PGA Tour already has only increased his confidence that he has the game to compete. However, unless he finishes this summer going deep into the Amateur, the fact remains, that he will receive very little in terms of financial support from outside benefactors (he has a few willing to throw money his direction). Ultimately, it will be financial considerations that will determine his future.
As for your question I do believe that ALL players who have the talent to make a top D1 program should make the attempt to turn professional. They each clearly have the game. Only a few will succeed. During my son's 4 years on a mid-tiered D1 program, I believe only 3 of my son's current and former teammates have the game to give it a shot. Like I told one of his former teammates this year, you don't want to be sitting on a bar stool somewhere watching people you once beat in Junior golf making a decent living playing the game we all love. Live life with no regrets.