There are at least twenty professional golf tours, each run by a PGA or an independent tour organization, which is responsible for arranging events, finding sponsors, and regulating the tour. Typically a tour has "members" who are entitled to compete in most of its events, and also invites non-members to compete in some of them. Gaining membership of an elite tour is highly competitive, and most professional golfers never achieved it.
There are enormous differences in the financial rewards offered by the various golf tours, so players on all but the top few tours always aspire to move up if they can. For example, the PGA Tour, which is the first-tier tour in the United States, offers nearly a hundred times as much prize money each season as the third-tier NGA Pro Golf Tour. The hierarchy of tours in financial terms, as of 2014.
The PGA Tour a professionals separated from the PGA of America in 1968, and founded the Tournament Players Division, which was renamed the PGA Tour in 1975. The PGA Tour organizes weekly tournaments for male golfers in United States, as well as the possession of Puerto Rico, Canada and Mexico, during 11 months of the year. One of the four annual major championships is in the United Kingdom. Check out PGA tour for the list of professional Golf tours.
Tournaments are 72-hole events, scheduled for Thursday through Sunday, with a cut after 36 holes. Players stay on tour by means of various exemptions. The top 125 players on the PGA Tour money list receive full status for the following year. Players can also qualify for the PGA Tour through a tournament–known as "Q School"–held each fall. The PGA Tour has headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
The Nationwide Tour, a developmental tour (or visit Developmental Golf Tours to learn more) for the PGA Tour, was founded in 1990, and has been called the Ben Hogan Tour, Nike Tour and Buy.com Tour during its history. Tournaments are 72-hole events scheduled for Thursday through Sunday, with a cut after 36 holes. Tournaments for the Nationwide Tour are held throughout North America, though tournaments have also been held in Australia, New Zealand and Colombia.
Players on the Nationwide Tour have failed to qualify for the PGA Tour through “Q School” or didn't earn enough money on the PGA Tour to finish in the top 125 on the money list.
Nationwide Tour players can earn a mid-season promotion to the PGA Tour by winning three events in one season. Tournament purses on the Nationwide Tour are about 10 percent of those on the PGA Tour.
Operated by the PGA Tour, the Champions Tour comprises players who are 50 years old or older. The tour was formally founded in 1980, but before 2002, it was called the Senior PGA Tour.
Most tournaments are played over 54 holes from Friday to Sunday, and do not have cuts. Many of the top golfers from the PGA Tour have gone on to have success on the Champions Tour after turning 50. They include Mark Calcavecchia, Fred Funk, Greg Norman, Fred Couples and Hale Irwin.
The Ladies Professional Golf Association was founded in 1950, and is the main tour for women professional golfers. The LPGA is separate from the PGA Tour and Professional Golf Association, and operates tournaments around the world.
Tournaments are 72-hole events, with a cut after 36 holes. The LPGA also operates the Duramed Futures Tour, a developmental tour similar to the Nationwide Tour. The LPGA is based in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Almost every year on the PGA Tour you find new stars whose games are causing heads to turn. The question is often asked, “Where did they come from?”, and the traditional answer is usually the Web.com Tour, but there is often more to the story than that.
Golfers such as Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler who leave college and immediately begin competing on Tour are very rare. For most players, it is a requirement to grind it out on mini-tours just to work their way up for a shot at the Web.com.
In North America, there are many wonderful options for players who wish to pursue the game of golf on a professional level. We don’t often hear about them, which is a shame, because it is here that so many players that we now know by name have developed their professional abilities. Below are ten developmental tours which are currently serving many players that we will one day be watching compete on the Web.com and PGA Tour.
Could be considered a “big-time” mini-tour due to its backing by the PGA Tour. For years has served as a favourite developmental tour for future tour stars such as Nick Watney, Chris Dimarco, Mike Weir and Steve Stricker. Tournaments are held from coast-to-coast from late spring through the summer months.
A fairly recent tour based out of the Greater Toronto Area. The Mandarin Tour website states: “Our goal is to provide Canadian Professional Golfers a full tournament schedule with the highest competitive atmosphere possible. The Mandarin Tours’ 100% member entry fee payback guarantee, combined with reduction in players’ expenses, gives our members the best opportunity to live out the their dreams, achieve their goals, and continue playing professional golf year after year. Our events provide players the experience, exposure, and training needed to advance their careers to the next level.”
Based out of Florida, The Minor League Golf Tour holds numerous one and two-day events year round. Many players currently playing on other developmental tours make frequent stops on this tour to keep their games sharp.
A fantastic option for any aspiring golfer, for tournaments run year round allowing players to compete when it is convenient for them.
Another tour based out of the Greater Toronto Area. They state, “With Over 15 years of experience, NGA- Great Lakes Tour has quickly risen to become the country's largest professional tournament provider. We currently conduct over 20 competitive golf events across Ontario.
Founded in 2001 the Great Lakes Tour was made to serve as a vital training ground for some of Canada’s best touring professionals. It has also provided countless competitive outlets for various players, both professional and amateur. More than 4,000 players from around the globe have competed for more than $4-million in prize money.
Notable Alumni of the Great Lakes Tour Include PGA Tour Player David Hearn, Champions Tour Winner Rod Spittle and Web.com/PGA Tour Player Brad Fritsch to name a few.
Very well established tour with events on the west and east coasts, as well as Florida. With a robust schedule, alumni include PGA Tour pros Tom Gillis and Steve Marino. A favourite for many aspiring touring pros.
Based out of South Carolina, the Swing Thought Tour has been around for years and as such have seen many alumni go on to have success on the PGA Tour. Notable alumni include Zach Johnson, Keegan Bradley and Tom Pernice Jr. Formerly known as the Hooters Tour their website states, “Recognized as the #1 developmental 72-hole TOUR in the US in preparing for life on the PGA and Web.com Tours.
The Swing Thought Tour has proven year after year to be the most outstanding avenue for players to display and develop their skills in an extremely competitive atmosphere. The Swing Thought Tour provides players the opportunity to experience all aspects of life as a true touring golf professional. The schedule is structured around geographical series and different varieties of championship golf courses to subject our players to any type of course they may face at golf’s highest levels For more amazing golf equipments just click here: golfgearsdirect.com.au.
The Swing Thought Tour prides itself on running only professional 72-hole events with a knowledgeable staff who are PGA and USGA certified. As evidenced by the success of our alumni, The Swing Thought Tour is the most proven avenue to the PGA and Web.com Tours. We not only provide a competitive place to play, but a financially rewarding opportunity as well.”
Based out of the central United States, tournaments run from mid-March until the beginning of September. They state, “In operation since 1994, the Adams Pro Tour, a subsidiary of K&G Sports LLC., partners with local non-profits to conduct professional golf tournaments in the mid-south region of the U.S. In addition to raising thousands of dollars each year for charity, these events provide an avenue for professional golfers to hone their skills while preparing for a life on the PGA Tour.
The Adams Pro Tour has successfully graduated players to the PGA Tour. They include PGA Tour winners Mark Hensby, J.L. Lewis, Tim Herron, Cameron Beckman, Bubba Watson, and Ryan Palmer. Several former members have also earned their privileges to the PGA’s Web.com Tour; including Web.com Tour winners Scott Sterling, Ron Whittaker, Shawn Stefani, Edward Loar, and J.J. Killeen (2011 POY on the Web.com Tour). The Adams Pro Tour currently conducts professional golf tournaments in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas.”
A favourite for many, including club pros living in snowy provinces and states who travel down to Florida for the winter months. “The Florida Professional Golf Tour (aka FPGTour) was started by Rick Hendershot with help from Mac Snow, both of whom are Class A members of the PGA of America, as a developmental tour for professional golfers in Central Florida.
Established in 2006 under it's new name, the FPTour (Formerly known as the PGA's North Florida Winter Tour) has quickly risen to become a premier destination for Tour players from around the world.
From the start, the FPGTour has maintained a tour quality atmosphere in order to help prepare players for life as touring professional's. We strive to exceed the expectations of every professional golfer in order to leave them with an enduring experience and lessons that will allow them to succeed at a higher level.”
While it is not a North American tour, it is another developmental tour that the PGA Tour has chosen to partner with and is attracting some North American talent. Similar to the Mackenzie Tour Canada, this tour serves as a stepping stone toward the Web.com tour, and with PGA Tour backing, it provides a world-class experience for its players.
Different from many other popular tours in that it serves golfers in the northern United States. Conducting one and two-day events, the Michigan Players Tour season runs from the beginning of June until mid-September.
There are a variety of formats for golf tournaments, but the majority of them rely on only a few different types of competition. In most events individual players all compete against each other for the lowest total score. Some tournaments involve a series of individual matches between two golfers. Players can also be grouped into teams and compete against other groups in one of several different ways.
The most common tournament format is individual stroke play, also called medal play. It is the overwhelming choice for professional events as well as local amateur tournaments. Out of more than 40 events each year on the PGA Tour, all but one is a stroke play event For more Golf equipments just visit here: golfgearsdirect.com.au . The winner in this format is the one with the lowest overall score, either for a single round or for a number of rounds. In most amateur events the scores are net scores based on the players’ handicaps, but professional and high-level amateur tournaments use gross scores.
Match play consists of a series of one-hole contests between two players, and the one who wins the most holes over the round is the winner. With a large field of golfers, many matches are required to decide a winner.
Once the preferred format for high-level competitions, there is now only one match play tournament each year on the PGA Tour. The United States Golf Association and regional amateur golf associations still conduct many of their championships using match play.
A less common individual competition format is Stableford, where players win points for their scores on each hole. The player with the highest point total at the end wins the event. Up until 2007 there was one Stableford competition on the PGA Tour. For more amazing golf equipments just click here: golfgearsdirect.com.au.
Some competitions involve two or more golfers playing together as a team. The most common form of team play is the four ball, or better ball, competition with teams of two players.
Only the lower score of the partners counts on each hole. Teams usually compete against all the other teams in medal play using either gross or net scores. In some tournaments like the international Ryder Cup competitions, teams play against each other in match play, and sometimes play “foursomes” matches where the two teams alternate shots and play only one ball.
A popular format used in less formal tournaments is the scramble. It is a team competition that is suitable for players of vastly different skill levels. Teams usually consist of four players. For each stroke the team members select the best of their previous shots and all play their next shots from that position. The procedure continues until someone holes their ball. The event can be handicapped but it is difficult to do in a fair manner. There often are limitations on the skill level of players allowed on the same team and the number of drives required from each player.