Are Golfers Rich? Here Is How Much They Make

Golf unlike most sports require a considerable amount of money for yearly course membership, green fees, and not to mention expensive equipment like your clubs and irons.

We’ve all seen the mega millionaires and billionaires hang out together on the golf course as their way to build a closer relationship with clients and close deals. But what about those who take the game seriously? Are they too closing deals and raking in millions of dollars from the game?

Here is what you should know:

Are Golfers Rich?

Yes, professional golf players are rich and are among the highest paid athletes in the world. Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, who are all golf players, were among the top 5 highest paid athletes of all time making $2.1 billion, $1.5 billion, and 1.38 billion respectively.

Just by finishing a tournament, the average pro golfer can earn a payout of at least $25,000, while golfers on the PGA tour earn themselves a nice $1.5 million for a single season.

Here is a table showing All-time PGA Tour Money Winners from 2000 to 2021:

Year Golf Players PGA Tour Earnings
2021 John Rahm $7,705,933
2020 Justin Thomas $7,344,040
2019 Brooks Koepka $9,684,006
2018 Justin Thomas $8,694,821
2017 Justin Thomas $9,921,560
2016 Dustin Johnson $9,365,185
2015 Jordan Spieth, $12,030,465
2014 Rory McIlroy $8,280,096
2013 Tiger Woods $8,553,439
2012 John Rahm, $7,705,933
2011 Justin Thomas, $7,344,040
2010 Brooks Koepka, $9,684,006
2009 Justin Thomas, $8,694,821
2008 Justin Thomas, $9,921,560
2007 Dustin Johnson, $9,365,185
2006 Jordan Spieth, $12,030,465
2005 Rory McIlroy, $8,280,096
2004 Tiger Woods, $8,553,439
2003 John Rahm, $7,705,933
2002 Justin Thomas, $7,344,040
2001 Brooks Koepka, $9,684,006
2000 Justin Thomas, $8,694,821

Most of the money these A-list golf players make like Tiger Woods comes from endorsements, licensing and other off-course revenue streams.

Meanwhile, your typical pro golfer will get the bulk of their money from sponsorships and tournament prizes. Whenever a golfer wins a tournament, they get paid quite a bit, but when they don’t, payouts are not as much.

Finishing in the top 10 of the PGA Tour will result in a high paycheck compared to what the average golfer makes.

How Much Does Your Average Golfer Make A Year?

We’ve seen how much the top professional players in the world make, with some raking in ungodly amounts of money. However, when it comes to your average golfer, they don’t make anywhere close to the hundreds of millions of dollars that a Jack Nicklaus or a Tiger Woods would make.

In the United States, the amount of money a club professional golfer makes per year ranges from $73,000 to $105,000. That is a pretty decent amount of income to make per year while playing the game you love. The median salary is $82,000.

This is by no means rich, considering that doctors, engineers, and nurses make just about the same each year.

On the other hand, golfers who participate frequently in the PGA Tour get paid a lot more money yearly than your average club golfer. According to the PGA Tour stats, in the 2021 season the average player made a tidy 1,485,055 for his work.

Related Post: Is golf an expensive sport?

Different Sources Of Income Of A Golfer

Some people are mistaken of the sources of income of a golfer. They immediately assume that the bulk of their income comes from prize money. The fact is that those who are good enough to compete can earn themselves millions of dollars each year and not necessarily from prize money.

Here are the different ways a golfer makes his/her money:

1. Endorsement Money

A lot of the mega star players ceases the opportunity to rake in huge amounts of money from endorsements. They often endorse equipment like golf clubs, shoes, balls and other golf related gears. Endorsements are typically done through ads on the television, magazines or printed ads. They’ll wear badges of their sponsors on their hats and sleeves.

Tiger Woods makes 10 times the amount from endorsements than he does playing competitively.

2. Made-For-TV-Events

If you play the sport well while developing a strong public following and reputation, you may get the chance to be invited to a made-for-tv event, one in particular called the Skins game.

Such golfers who appear on made-for-tv-events will get paid for showing up. They will also earn money from winning the tv competition depending on how many holes(called skins) they can win. Players like Kevin Na, Russel Knox, Kevin Kisner, Phil Mickelson, and Brandt Snedeker usually appear on the Skins TV Show.

3. Tournament Winnings

This is the obvious one. Finishing a PGA tournament can result in a payday of at least $25k, while winning the PGA can pay you $1.5 million. The good thing about these events is that no matter where you finish, you will always get paid, if it’s even dead last.

These events go throughout the calendar year, so players will always get the opportunity to go out and perform their best.

4. Corporate Events

Golf players also make a lot of money from corporate sponsored events. Corporate events typically runs on Mondays or Tuesdays, due to the fact that most tournaments are played Thursday all the way to Saturday.

These events can net a golfer a sum of $25k to $250k depending on his level and how much the corporation is willing to pay.

The Richest Golf Players In The World

1. Tiger Woods

This prominent player boast the highest net worth of $800 million and is the highest paid golfer of all time. Tiger woods have ranked number one in Forbes list of richest athletes for over 10 times now.

Tiger Woods have won several championships during his golf career, with 80 PGA Tour wins and 14 majors up his sleeves. The bulk of his money comes from endorsement deals and sponsorships.

Tiger Woods also boasts a huge following on social media, with roughly 3 million Instagram followers.

2. Arnold Palmer

You may have heard of him. He is the second richest golf player in the world just behind Tiger Woods. His net worth is $700 million.

Arnold Palmer is regarded as one of the greatest golfers of all time. He has a lot of championship victories on his records from PGA Tour wins to Master Tournament victories.

His character is one of a humble person and he is the founder of the Arnold Palmer Enterprises. A company that manages, endorsements, licensing and spokesman associations.

When it comes to motivation and being a role model for younger golfers, Arnold is that person.

3. Greg Norman

Having a net worth of $500 million, Greg Norman is famous for winning 91 international tournaments such as the PGA Tour which he won 20 times during his career, and two major tournaments.

This Australian player is known for his entrepreneurial skills as he launched his own golf course design company called Greg Norman Company. He also boasts his own clothing line.

4. Phil Mickelson

He goes by the name “Lefty” and is a well known American golfer. Phil Mickelson earned his status of being the 4rth richest golf athlete in the world with a net worth of 400 million.

When it comes to rankings, the Official World Golf Ranking places him 2nd in the list of top players. He is also featured in the World Golf Hall Of Fame.

5. Jack Nicklaus

In 5th position of the richest golfers in the world is Jack Nicklaus with a net worth of $320 million. He goes by the nickname Golden Bear and he has won 18 major championships during his professional career. This is quite an exceptional performance.

Not only that, Jack Nicklaus has 73 PGA Tour wins and is apart of the World Golf Hall Of Fame.

When it come to his business dealings, Jack founded the Muirfield Village golf club, he wrote several instructional golf books and spends most of his time in golf course design.

Jack also hosts the Memorial Tournament held in Dublin.

6. Gary Player

Gary Player who is an international ambassador of the sport currently has a net worth of $250 million and was once a professional South African player. He achieved the feat of winning nine major championship tours including the regular.

Gary started playing golf as early as in his teens and became a professional within three years of taking up the sport.

He owns a Golf course design and real estate company that adds to his net worth, not to mention his Player Foundation that promotes education for underprivileged children around the world.

Final Verdict

The best golfers in the world are multi millionaires and the bulk of their money comes from endorsements and off-course revenue streams. Making money in golf is not a walk in the park as it will be challenging for you to make it to a level where you are winning tournaments. It takes many years of practice, hard work and determination to prepare for a tournament in which you could potentially make money.

Professional golf players can make a living from the game by playing in tours, making money form endorsements, and even becoming a coach where you teach the game at resort courses and private clubs.

If you are an average player, you may find it a dream career to become a professional golfer. The truth is anyone can get to this level. All it takes is a lot of hard work and focus to qualify as a professional. And of course, a good deal of talent. Are you up for the task?



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