To Be a Professional Golfer, How Good Must Your Average Round Be?

Congratulations, you have just finished your golf degree, so, what’s next?

You’ve already played plenty of amateur tournaments and won a variety of prizes. Now, you want to step up to the professional ranks and make some serious cash to live on as you continue your journey to the PGA Tour. So, how good does your average round need to be to become a professional golfer?

Handicaps of Pro Golfers

If you thought your handicap was good while in school, you are still far away from the elite players. Most golfers love to brag about their handicaps, and many amateurs or scratch golfers hang their hats on having a good course handicap. But professional golfers blow these players out of the water when it comes to shooting low scores consistently. The world’s best golfers “played to handicaps of +4 to +6” before ever making it as a professional, according to experts.

One of the most well-known golf courses in America is Arizona’s Whisper Rock Golf Club. The elite club boasts several PGA Tour players as members and all have an incredible handicap at the club. Phil Mickelson (+5.2), Martin Kaymer (+6.6), Paul Casey (+6) and Geoff Ogilvy (+5.8) all play the Whisper Rock Golf Club regularly, and go out on the road to produce similar results most weekends.

Could you do that? Maybe, but it is much more difficult than it sounds.

Tiger Woods’ handicap in 2005 and 2006 was +7.9, which is a figure most amateurs and even some professionals would do anything to achieve. Woods’ +7.9 shows just how good he was and the difference between the top of the world and everyone else during his great PGA run.

Turning Professional

Everyday golf students dream of turning professional. Professional golfers have to be good. Just going out and puttering around on the golf course on Saturdays and Sundays doesn’t cut it.

Experts say that an amateur golfer should shoot below par in 50% of their tournaments. If you play on a championship-level course, you shouldn’t shoot more than three over par as your highest score. That isn’t easy to do, but no one ever said turning pro was a simple task.

What happens if you can’t achieve these amateur scores? Simple, you won’t make the cut of the tournaments you enter. Professional tournaments have cuts from two over par to five under par.


It takes years to perfect your game. It takes practice day in and day out to get to the elite amateur level.

Some elite amateurs will opt for a professional golf college for training to improve their games, others play with personal coaches. However one thing is always the same, it takes time to become a top player.

Despite there being no guarantees, your game can improve to the professional ranks. Research indicates it could take seven to ten years to become a top professional golfer. It has been reported that athletes need 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill, but practice quality also counts in becoming a professional golfer.

So, playing the most high-quality rounds or training sessions can help you become a better player.

These Guys are Good

If you think your rounds are good, remember there are plenty of other golfers out there with similar scores. Whether high school, amateur, or golfers just having fun on an afternoon, becoming a professional is a long round of practice.

In 2014, Mike Miller made his PGA Tour debut in Texas. According to an article he wrote for, the amount of quality the event had was incredible. Miller didn’t make the cut at the event, and since his PGA Tour debut, Miller has spent his career grinding out paychecks on the minor league golf circuits. Playing golf has taken the talented 25-year-old all around the world, but the fact is, there are plenty of players better than him with PGA Tour cards.

Golf is one of the most competitive sports around, and players seeking fame and fortune may never find it. No matter how you train, players must gain a solid base to build off of. The good news is there are plenty of other careers in golf available.

While you may dream of going pro, you can take your love for the game and work in the golf industry in several different ways. Download our free Golf Career Guide and see some of the many options you have.


  1. I read the article and here is my honest opinion: the article started off well, it had it’s own tempo, but then it spoke the truth. At first, the article it got me excited about golf and improving my game. Then, it made me believe getting better was possible. Shortly after, just as I started to believe I had a chance, the author spoke the truth: I have no chance of obtaining the PGA TOUR card.

  2. Buddy I’m tour bound. It’s in my blood. I’m a 6.5 handicap right now it’s gonna be a +6 pretty soon thanks for lightning a fire under my bum

  3. The difference between a player that shoots over par and under par is a HUGE gap. +3 in a round to -1 only seems like 4 strokes but it’s wayyyy more than just strokes. It takes a ton to get there. Even people that say they’re scratch rarely shoot under par.

  4. It’s genetics, I’m sorry but not just anyone who plays 10,000 hours of golf has a chance. I played in highschool and D3 college and I couldn’t consistently shoot under par for 4 days straight, especially not on the courses they play. In highschool I averaged 36.54 on 9. And 75-76 for 18. And I probably would shoot 90 on a PGA tour course, 90+ on a Major setup. I’ve wanted to at least become a Local Pro and run a course, teach, train, etc. I can hit the distances I believe to be in PGA, But I’d fall apart on the greens. It’s insane at that level. These guys can hit every club in their bags 12 different ways, with 12 different distances, Draws & Fades, backspin, hit & release. It’s insane how much better a PGA player is vs 99% of local scratch golfers. They’d literally shoot 18 under on any local course. Birdie everything, eagle most par 5s. It’s insane how good they really are

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