There are two established routes to becoming a PGA Professional
There are two routes in the UK to becoming a PGA Professional. They might loosely be termed the vocational and the academic. Very loosely – for both routes involve work placements and academic study; it is just the ratios are different.
The more academic route is by studying a three-year degree course at Birmingham University in Applied Golf Management Studies. This course is designed not only for future club golf pros but also for those intending entering golf club management or other jobs in the industry. It is the only degree in the world that offers the chance to gain PGA status on completion so long other criteria for PGA membership has also been met.
Application for a place on this degree course is via the usual UCAS procedure, just as for any other degree in the country. The degree course is heavily oversubscribed. Those with International Baccalaureate Diploma are required to have at least 34-35 points and offers based on A levels grades are generally AAB or ABB, with at least two of the following at A2 level (or equivalent) required: PE or Sports Studies/Science; Business Studies or Economics; Design and Technology or Mathematics; a science. GCSEs at at least grade C in English, Mathematics and a science are also required. Applicants also need to have a golf handicap of 4.4 or better for men and 6.4 or better for women.
Part of the course includes three placements working for PGA professionals in the golf industry. It also involves studying the following areas: psychology of golf, analysis of swing theory, equipment technology, applied sports science, business and financial performance and event management.
Another route to becoming a PGA Professional is by the three-year PGA training course which involves distance learning whilst working in golf and now incorporates a Foundation Degree in Professional Golf in conjunction with the University of Birmingham. Those on the course have to work for a minimum of 30 hours per week in a golf environment and be employed by a recognised PGA Professional. There is also study via online distance learning, by completing various modules, and a one-week residential course each year at the National Training Academy at The Belfry.
Applicants are required to have a playing golf handicap of 4 for men and six for ladies and have at least four GCSE passes at grades A to C including ones in Mathematics and English Language. Those applicants who are accepted undertake the PGA’s Admissions Review Programme which consists of two days at the PGA Training Academy and passing a playing ability test. Those who have a handicap of scratch or better are exempted from the playing test. The ARP runs from May through to August each year, with the training programme course starting the beginning of October.
Upon completion of the Admissions Review Programme, students will be eligible to sign contracts with a PGA professional. Once these contracts are signed the golfer looses their amateur status. Once the Foundation Degree Programme is complete, students can apply for PGA membership.