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How do you become a Class A pga professional?


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#1 WesleyD

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 08:41 PM

I've looked around for some info on this but it's hard to get a clear idea.  Could someone just make a check list of the things you need to do to become a class A teaching professional?  Thanks!


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#2 freddiec

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 08:49 PM

You gotta put in a lot of years as an apprentice before you become a "Class A" and move up the latter from there. I think its like atleast 4 to 5 years.  If you really need to know, I'd recommend called the PGA of America.

Here is some information you can check out. There are some programs and degrees you can obtain if you want to get into the business. Here is one.

http://www.sdga.edu/...id=1380&type=GA

Edited by freddiec, 19 June 2008 - 08:54 PM.


#3 Check6

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 10:00 PM

This should give you a start.

http://pgajobfinder....FTOKEN=42690208

#4 WesleyD

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 01:03 PM

View Postfreddiec, on Jun 19 2008, 06:49 PM, said:

You gotta put in a lot of years as an apprentice before you become a "Class A" and move up the latter from there. I think its like atleast 4 to 5 years.  If you really need to know, I'd recommend called the PGA of America.

Here is some information you can check out. There are some programs and degrees you can obtain if you want to get into the business. Here is one.

http://www.sdga.edu/...id=1380&type=GA

quote from the website-"16-month program and is comprised of a combined curriculum of golf instruction and business management to teach you how to become a golf pro. The curriculum is designed to provide graduates with the golf education required to manage, or assist in the management of, all golf complex operations, including the competence to teach golf techniques. "
see this is all I've been able to find.  I'm not interested in the management aspect at all, just teaching.

View PostCheck6, on Jun 19 2008, 08:00 PM, said:

This should give you a start.

http://pgajobfinder....FTOKEN=42690208

All this talks about is the PGM, pro golf management, which is a college course.

#5 tko112204

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 01:44 PM

The SDGA is a great program, but it won't make you a pro. It will teach you the business and help your game a lot, but it has no affiliation with the PGA of America. After you get out you would still have to find a job, pass the PAT, then work through the books. You can sign up to take a PAT at PGALinks.com. You'll probably have to shoot between 150-156 for two rounds in one day. Then as soon as you get a job under a Class A you can register as an apprentice and begin to do your bookwork. Also, the SDGA and PGM schools are totally different. PGM schools are colleges that help you through the program, those are great but you have to go to college. If you have any other questions reply here or PM me.


Ben

P.S. I'm in Level 2, so I can help.


#6 SundayRed

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 04:10 PM

In order to become a PGA member, you will need to become a registered apprentice and go through the PGA Professional Golf Management (PGA/PGM)TM Program. In order to register into the PGA/PGMTM Program, you must:

Meet the Eligible Employment requirements described below.

Eligible Employment

Individuals shall be eligibly employed in one of the following classifications.

You must be eligibly employed at the time of registration and for six months within the 12 months prior to registration.

Participation in an amateur event will forfeit all work experience credits earned prior to the event.

Satisfy the PAT requirement. (Playing Abilities Test)

An apprentice registration form verifying employment and documenting your review of the Professional Readiness Orientation (PRO) must be signed and submitted by you.

In order to become a registered PGA apprentice, you will pay all apprentice fees for National and your Section and will purchase the Level 1 Kit.

When step 4 above is completed, you are a registered PGA apprentice.

Acceptable Progress is defined by successful completion of each Level's Checkpoint. In order to remain in good standing, the Level 1 Checkpoint must be successfully completed within two years of the Level 1 start date.

The Level 2 Checkpoint must be successfully completed within four years of the Level 1 start date.

Level 3 Checkpoint must be successfully completed within six years of the Level 1 start date.

Apprentices have eight years from their Level 1 start date to graduate from the PGA PGM Program and get elected to membership.
Have a high school diploma or be at least 18 years of age and have the equivalent of a high school education. You are eligible for educational credits toward PGA membership with a college degree.

An individual must be either a U.S. Citizen or resident alien.

A total of 36 work experience credits must be earned in addition to fulfilling the PGA/PGMTM Program. (One credit per month while eligibly employed full time.)

12 credits are awarded for a four year college degree and six credits for a two year college degree.

Amateur Status: Work experience earned prior to participating in an amateur event will be forfeited.

If you have any questions concerning this information or requirements to become a PGA member, (800) 474-2776.

Here is a helpful link:

http://pgajobfinder....ro.cfm?ctc=1637

#7 markheardjr

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 04:54 PM

Here is a link to the different classifications of a pro.  I believe you are trying to be a class A1 pro. Just a useful link to keep around.

http://www.pga.com/p...lassifications/
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#8 gregcindyh

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 06:07 PM

Best thing to do is go to your local course and talk with someone in the business. My brother-n-law is a head pro in W. Virginia, he went to 2 years of school in Las Crusas New Mexico for the degree after 4 years of a BA at St. Johns University on a baseball scholarship. (Went to PGM school with Rich Beem)

Another friend of mine is at one of the country clubs here in my home town and is going through the hoops as an apprentice. After 5 years of that he still has a year left with the PGA program. Unless your best friend is a course owner or your young and don't mind puttting in big time hours, this is pretty much the norm!

I've been around the golf industry for the past 12 years and thought about it myself, just didn't want to put in all of those hours at the very low pay, and I mean, very low pay. Most of all the guys I know in the business rarely play and the are not very good because they don't have time to work on their games!
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#9 Swingtheclub

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 06:19 PM

wow sure is different than in the old days when I did it

We had PAT  two business schools   and the oral interview   and I think it was 40 active months as and assisstant


I managed to pass it all the first time . I think it is great that they make guys take the PAT first now

I did it first but only because it worked out that way  the state assisstants tournament was a 36 hole event they did the PAT along with it if you wanted too.

I placed fourth in the tournament and PAT was done with.  I had a friend that took the PAT  18 times.

#10 WesleyD

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 12:48 AM

hey guys, thanks for the info, this has been good...so ok just to clarify, I want to be PURELY an instuctor. A-6 classification.  I want to be a Hank Haney or Butch Harmon type guy you know, nothing to due with golf course management or operation.  I'm kinda getting the feeling that I might need to go through some of that management stuff.  

By the way, I did talk to the professional at the club i work at and he just told me, "yeah, you pass the PAT and then you go through the books.  It takes time, man, and it's tough."  I was like, that's it? Thanks bro."  :russian_roulette:


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#11 DRGJR72

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 01:07 AM

View Postsbguard9, on Jun 20 2008, 10:48 PM, said:

hey guys, thanks for the info, this has been good...so ok just to clarify, I want to be PURELY an instuctor. A-6 classification.  I want to be a Hank Haney or Butch Harmon type guy you know, nothing to due with golf course management or operation.  I'm kinda getting the feeling that I might need to go through some of that management stuff.  

By the way, I did talk to the professional at the club i work at and he just told me, "yeah, you pass the PAT and then you go through the books.  It takes time, man, and it's tough."  I was like, that's it? Thanks bro."  :russian_roulette:

Not as easy as it seems.....good luck if you venture down the road....I would love to read your book or memoirs of your experience 6 years from now and see if you think the same thing.

By the way...becoming a Hank Haney, Rick Smith, or a Butch Harmon type does not happen overnight.  It takes time, effort, contacts and many years in the business.  Butch comes from a legacy of golf professionals and his last name is recognized as one of the elite within the industry.   Any of the guys that you see, big name teacher wise, have more than likely put in their time and effort, and have been fortunate to reap the rewards of their toil and hard work.  They have reaped what they sowed.  It looks glamorous, and it is when you reach the top, but until you get there it is a grind, no different from any other job, that entails a ton of lessons that hone your skills with the likes of many of your local club members.  Butch did not just sign up for a PGA membership and get to teach Tiger.  I assure you he worked through many a lesson with Mr and Mrs Havacamp on the road to where he is now.
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#12 labillyboy

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 01:50 AM

View Postsbguard9, on Jun 20 2008, 10:48 PM, said:

hey guys, thanks for the info, this has been good...so ok just to clarify, I want to be PURELY an instuctor. A-6 classification. I want to be a Hank Haney or Butch Harmon type guy you know, nothing to due with golf course management or operation. I'm kinda getting the feeling that I might need to go through some of that management stuff.

By the way, I did talk to the professional at the club i work at and he just told me, "yeah, you pass the PAT and then you go through the books. It takes time, man, and it's tough." I was like, that's it? Thanks bro." :russian_roulette:

Make sure you have a back up plan...

I have seen countless people start on this path and very few finish...

I think you are talking about two different things here...Getting to be a Class A PGA pro has little to do with getting to be a Butch, Hank or Pelz, in fact, you don't have to be a Class A or even be affiliated with the PGA... to do what they do...  I get the impression that you see yourself getting a Class A and then all of a sudden having Tour Pros coming to you to seek advice... while getting a Class A is a wonderful achievement it is not a guarantee of riches and fame.

First of all this is Very unlikely to happen no matter what you do... if it is your dream and you are young it sure won't hurt you to pursue it...but you better start right now coming  up with something unique and be able to communicate it, the work you do in pursuing a PGA certification will help you develop those skills but that is about all... You will have to do much, much more.  You need to be honest with yourself do you have it in you?

I don't think there is any way to get a PGA card without working at a golf course doing things other than teaching lessons... correct me if I am wrong PGA guys...

Are you willing to spend years at very low pay, with long hours, doing mundane work?  While you are doing that are you going to do the things that will seperate you from everyone else that is out there doing exactly what you are doing with the same goal?  What is your plan? (I ask that question a dozen times a day...)  How are you going to measure your progress?  What are the measureable goals you need to hit along the way to make sure you are on track...  What are you going to do if you get off track?  Who is going to be your mentor(s)?

If you are gong to be Hank, or Butch; how are you going to meet Tour Pros and gain their confidence?  (this is tough because the pros you will be working with might not even be golfing today)  How are you going to get into that inner circle?  (a PGA Class A card won't do it).  Can you get a job at one of the golf acadamy's where all the child prodigees go?  How do you build those connections...

Get off you butt and get down to the golf course and talk to the PGA Class A pro... I mean really talk to him, ask him questions... don't accept "take the PAT, do your books, yada yada" if he won't help you go to the next guy and the next guy... and then don't give up if you can't do that this isn't for you.

Alll I want to do is make sure you get the fact that this is not easy...  but then, nothing of any worth is...

#13 gregcindyh

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 12:35 PM

As most of the other posters and I have mentioned, it's a work in progress and takes 4-6 years minimum. To pass the PAT, you better be able to shoot back to back 75's or lower to pass. That's really the easy part if your a good player, next all the time and low pay. If you want to be a teacher, you can start at your club by helping with the Jr. camps and start there. Make friends with the teaching Pro and learn from him. Most teaching Pro's start at the same speed, build your client base, over years and word of mouth travels fast if your not a very good teacher.

You don't really only have to love golf, but teaching people how to swing a club that most think they already know how! You need patience galore and a love for seeing people excell in golf! I know it seems your getting a lot of negative vibes from most of us, but your probably young and have alot of assperations to succeed. Most of us are experienced in life and have done similar things. Just remember, you'll be in it for the long haul and it is a journey. If your in it for the money you better have a back up plan, because few make big money in the golf industry.

Always try to find something you love and you have been "Shaped" to do. THere is nothing worse than getting into a profession and in 10 or more years down the road you want out because your sick of it. Then you're back to square one. Happened to me and many others.
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#14 Prospero

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 12:35 PM

Without a pedigree of some sort, you are not going to be a Harmon or Haney or Hardy. Read the backgrounds on those fellas. Each were accomplished players to some extent (college/professional) before they turned to teaching. Harmon of course comes from golf royalty.

It is a long, expensive, and difficult road to your Class A. Even if all you want to do is teach, you pretty much need to go through it, however, even that does not guaranty any level of success as an instructor. Just for reference sake, as rare as the Harmon/Hardy types are, the golf professional who only teaches and doesn't log shop time or management responsibilities is just as rare. DO NOT expect to get into this industry and just start giving golf lessons. I hate to sound harsh, but it just ain't gonna happen.

However, it is an extremely rewarding and satisfying career. I will never work in a cubicle. My office is a pro shop, a golf course, and a driving range. Life is great.
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#15 CJOO9O

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 01:00 PM

Alot of these guys are totally correct, and some are not so correct.

I am an A-6 Teaching professional at the age of 22. I went to Arizona State University in the Professional Golf Management Program. I've done all 3 levels of the PGA Education program and let me tell you, it is not easy. Like alot of these guys say, it takes alot of hard work to become a class A professional, and even then, it takes alot of work to build a client base if you wanted to teach. The PGA Education program does teach you alot of the things you need to know about teaching including ball flight laws, principals, and body positions, but at the same time, the apprenticeship program will have you work for numerous years gaining experience. Why do you think none of the teachers on the top 100 list are very young? it takes years and years of building clients and making your name known in the golf industry.

Dont be fooled by the SDGA or the Golf Academies of America. They offer a 16 month ASSOCIATES degree, and DO NOT...I repeat...DO NOT have you do your PGA books. It is a quick way to get some experience, but is not enough to hold weight in the golf industry without being a PGA apprentice or pursuing your Class A membership.

anyway....being a Class A professional is extremely helpful. Let me put it to you this way-
If your going to get surgery, do you want to get your surgery from a guy who is an actual Ph. D? or do you want a guy that did a little med school and has a little real world experience?
I dunno about you, but I would want the actual certified doctor.

Hope this helps, Talk to your local PGA professional.


#16 LagunaLove

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 04:57 PM

I agree with everything the poster above said, I had similar experiences at the UNLV PGA/PGM program and I'm now a Class A, A-8 classification and only 23.  I will also add that if you're going to do it, do it because you love golf, not because you love to PLAY golf, there is a big difference.  Also, as a great read and a reference point, read the book "The Pro" written by Butch Harmon about his dad, I think you'll enjoy and it talks about his dad and his experiences in the golf business as well as his journey through the golf world ( he used to be on the management side of things all over the country and world including at a club in Bettendorf, Iowa.  It's not all glitz and glamour but very rewarding if you love the game and have a passion for serving people.

Edited by LagunaLove, 05 July 2010 - 04:58 PM.


#17 iteachgolf

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 05:53 PM

You absolutely do not have to be a PGA member to teach.  If you want to become a PGA Member you will have to do more than jsut teach while being an apprentice.  To teach tour players and make a good living teaching is tough.  If you plan on teaching tour players, and do it for an extended period of time, you better be 100% certain and confident in what you are teaching.  After all it is there job to be good at golf and professional golf is tough gig.  There are many ways to become a teacher and the PGA isn't the only route.  Best of luck.

#18 larrybud

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 08:03 PM

View Postgregcindyh, on 21 June 2008 - 12:35 PM, said:

As most of the other posters and I have mentioned, it's a work in progress and takes 4-6 years minimum. To pass the PAT, you better be able to shoot back to back 75's or lower to pass.
To pass the PAT you have to be 15 or less shots above the course rating for 2 rounds.  If the rating is 72.0, you have to shoot 159 or less.

#19 Harry Longshanks

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 08:11 PM

View Postlarrybud, on 05 July 2010 - 08:03 PM, said:

View Postgregcindyh, on 21 June 2008 - 12:35 PM, said:

As most of the other posters and I have mentioned, it's a work in progress and takes 4-6 years minimum. To pass the PAT, you better be able to shoot back to back 75's or lower to pass.
To pass the PAT you have to be 15 or less shots above the course rating for 2 rounds.  If the rating is 72.0, you have to shoot 159 or less.

http://www.pgalinks....patinfo/pat.cfm

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#20 JLTD63

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 04:17 PM

View Postlarrybud, on 05 July 2010 - 08:03 PM, said:

View Postgregcindyh, on 21 June 2008 - 12:35 PM, said:

As most of the other posters and I have mentioned, it's a work in progress and takes 4-6 years minimum. To pass the PAT, you better be able to shoot back to back 75's or lower to pass.
To pass the PAT you have to be 15 or less shots above the course rating for 2 rounds.  If the rating is 72.0, you have to shoot 159 or less.


The PAT should be the least of anyone's worries when embarqing on a professional career in the golf industry, that's for sure!!  However...that's not always the case...I took and passed the PAT in the summer of 2005...the guys in my group...WOW...both of them had tried and failed multiple times previously, and neither came close that particular day either.  Neither broke 90 in either round.  It's not like it's U.S. Open conditions out there either, they set up the course at something like 6,500 yards or something and most all the pins were dead-center in the middle of the greens if I remember correctly...they set it up for success.  

I realize you don't "have" to be a good player to be a club pro or a teaching pro...which is why the PAT requirements aren't overly difficult.  But anyone that takes a PAT will be amazed at the level of play out there...it's nuts.


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#21 Harry Longshanks

Harry Longshanks

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 04:25 PM

View PostJLTD63, on 06 July 2010 - 04:17 PM, said:

The PAT should be the least of anyone's worries when embarqing on a professional career in the golf industry, that's for sure!!

Well, I'm not in the program, but I disagree with that statement.  To even be allowed into the PGA program, you must either pass the PAT or receive a (non-passing, but low enough) score that allows you to enter the program (and you still must pass the PAT at a future date.)  I think I have that right.

So, to me, that means the PAT is the first thing you have to worry about.  Otherwise, you aren't even allowed to start the program.

Maybe it's different for the PGM route?

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#22 JLTD63

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 05:01 PM

View PostHarry Longshanks, on 06 July 2010 - 04:25 PM, said:

View PostJLTD63, on 06 July 2010 - 04:17 PM, said:

The PAT should be the least of anyone's worries when embarqing on a professional career in the golf industry, that's for sure!!

Well, I'm not in the program, but I disagree with that statement.  To even be allowed into the PGA program, you must either pass the PAT or receive a (non-passing, but low enough) score that allows you to enter the program (and you still must pass the PAT at a future date.)  I think I have that right.

So, to me, that means the PAT is the first thing you have to worry about.  Otherwise, you aren't even allowed to start the program.

Maybe it's different for the PGM route?


Sorry if I came across the wrong way...yes, the PAT definitely has to be passed to get through the program, and as such it should be taken seriously.  I was more alluding to the idea that you'd think if someone has aspirations to work as a club or teaching pro the PAT should be just one step along the way, and a simple one at that....but it's not.  There are guys out there who have failed the PAT a million times, and likely will never pass.  In fact (I could be mistaken...I got out of the "industry" before I really got into the books) I think you can actually work on your books before you pass the PAT, so there are likely guys who only need to pass that playing test to become Class-A...but they may never do it.

It just seems wild to me that someone who wants to make a career out of teaching someone else to play this game (I'm not directing this at the OP) can't break 80 in consecutive rounds on a shortish, simple layout.  That's all.

It SHOULDN'T be anything to worry about, but I was amazed when I showed up at the level of play...one guy in my group topped his first tee shot, and about ten others throughout the day. Posted Image

#23 iteachgolf

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 07:40 PM

Only around 5 of the 80 or so people who took the PAT when I took it passed.

#24 acquadiice

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 08:03 PM

so i can safely assume a PGA Class A Professional is a big deal.

#25 iteachgolf

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 08:13 PM

View Postacquadiice, on 06 July 2010 - 08:03 PM, said:

so i can safely assume a PGA Class A Professional is a big deal.
It's not a terribly easy thing to achieve.  It takes hard work and dedication, but sadly there is little to do with teaching golf in the current PGA PGM program.  The primary focus is on managing a golf course.  Unless an apprentice got lucky and worked under a great instructor or went to a school like Campbell that has a very good instruction component the PGA will not make someone a decent teacher.  Like everything there are some really good teachers who have no affiliation with the PGA and there are some very bad teachers who are Class A PGA Professionals.


#26 acquadiice

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 08:36 PM

View Postiteachgolf, on 06 July 2010 - 08:13 PM, said:

View Postacquadiice, on 06 July 2010 - 08:03 PM, said:

so i can safely assume a PGA Class A Professional is a big deal.
It's not a terribly easy thing to achieve.  It takes hard work and dedication, but sadly there is little to do with teaching golf in the current PGA PGM program.  The primary focus is on managing a golf course.  Unless an apprentice got lucky and worked under a great instructor or went to a school like Campbell that has a very good instruction component the PGA will not make someone a decent teacher.  Like everything there are some really good teachers who have no affiliation with the PGA and there are some very bad teachers who are Class A PGA Professionals.

i see you responded to both of my post about this topic, check the other thread please, thanks!

#27 tbomb

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 08:44 PM

Interesting read guys.

I'm a CPGA member and about 5 months away from being a Class A and I'm only 24.

I have to agree with the passion FOR golf, not for playing golf. It's rewarding in different ways. Like watching a totally beginner hit their first great shot and watch their face light up. I swear I see some better reactions from a good golf shoot then I have of some marriage proposals. lol

I know up here we have to shoot 155, I forgot what the slope is of the course but it's a mental challenge.

If you're living in an area where it snows, find a good winter gig. lol




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