Graduation from Golf Canada’s National Amateur Team to the professional ranks must be a smooth transition, right? Not exactly.
Every former athlete of the program has their own unique path. A spot on a professional tour is not guaranteed – that has to be earned as well. Nothing is given.
These young amateurs experience up-and-downs in their golf games just like every one of us, only on a much smaller scale. I’m talking decimal point changes to their Handicap Factor. That could be the difference between tournament eligibility and making the cut.
The goal of the high performance program is to provide athletes with as much assistance as possible to help them reach their goal, which is usually a career in professional golf. In some cases, an athlete will choose not to pursue a career as a professional golfer. No matter what path is taken, the coaching and support staff do whatever is in their power to help these athletes be the best they can be.
Women’s Head Coach, Tristan Mullally, speaks to the transition of turning professional and the challenges associated with it.
We have really focused our efforts towards helping our amateur players get to the top of the World Amateur Golf Rankings to see where they are against the world’s best. The difficulty has been we’ve got a player that has been super busy with school as well as the program which are both highly organized. A professional schedule offers a lot more free time and it becomes much more of a job. It’s difficult to put that 9-5 together when you come from so many structured elements to focus on just one.
It’s no cakewalk either. Those players are the best players in the world. You need to go that extra 1% in every single area just to have a chance. It’s extremely difficult, even if you are one of the best amateurs in the world. If you have the right support system behind you and you have the faith that you are doing the right things over a long period, I’m confident these players have the ability to be very successful.
Behind the excitement of playing professionally, there are countless hours of training, tournament fees, travel fees, hotels, rental cars, etc.
To shine some light on the path to turning professional, let’s look at 2013 National Amateur Team athlete, Christine Wong. The Richmond, B.C., athlete made the transition shortly after graduating from San Diego State University and is on her way to fulfilling her life-long dream.
Wong has posted a RallyMe page to help her with the costs of playing in professional events and striving for a tour card (RallyMe is an online fundraising platform). She also describes her story in detail in the video below. You can make your own contribution by visiting her page.