A PGA Professional is a certified member of the Professional Golfers Association. PGA Professionals influence how the game is played, coached, promoted and managed. They enjoy careers all over the world in a wide variety of roles from coaching to course management.

You will most likely find a PGA Professional at your local club or golf facility. They are fundamental to the game of golf, contributing majorly but not exclusively to coaching players to improve, managing golf facilities that enable people to take part in golf, equipment fittings, junior programmes and the general outreach of the game to the community. PGA Professionals may also assist with organising club competitions, as well as the day-to-day running of a shop, selling equipment, clothing and general golf merchandise.

They are always on hand to answer your questions related to the club or facility as well as queries surrounding golf lessons or club fittings. If you’re looking for either, you can ask directly or find a PGA Professional near you through PGA Play.

The PGA supports over 8,000 members in 80 countries. PGA Professionals strive to be forward-thinking and responsible for shaping the future of the game. The PGA is committed to the belief that everyone should have the chance to get involved in golf - at all levels and in all roles.

In order to become a Golf Professional certified by the Professional Golf Association, there are several steps that you must take. Understanding the requirements of the career path ladder to becoming a PGA Qualified Professional can help you decide if it is a good match for your personality. A PGA Qualification is an internationally recognised passport into a career in golf. Below are the steps you must take to obtain the certification.

Initial training

Potential members of the Association undertake a three-year training programme, which since 2003 has been a nationally recognised qualification - a foundation Degree in Professional Golf. Here, students are trained in sports science, custom fitting, business and coaching and development as well as other key industry skills. Since 2002 the University of Birmingham and the PGA have also offered the Applied Golf Management Studies (AGMS) degree. Although PGA Membership is not secured through successful completion of the AGMS degree alone, the subjects covered are quite similar.

Coaching qualifications

In addition to the PGA Qualification, a Trainee must also complete two Association of Sports Qualifications (ASQ) to be eligible for membership of The PGA.


To be eligible for PGA Membership, Trainees must have:

  • Successfully completed a PGA recognised training programme.
  • Obtained an ASQ level 2 certificate in coaching golf.
  • Attained an emergency first aid certificate.
  • Completed an appropriate child protection course.
  • Completed a background check.

Become employed in a golf-related field

The PGA requires Trainees to be employed at a golf facility, ensuring the distance learning study content can be put into practice.

Playing requirements

To be eligible, applicants must have a maximum handicap of 6.4 for males or 8.4 for females. This will require verification with a current World Handicap System (WHS) playing handicap certificate with evidence of your previous playing history (usually in the previous 12 months), which includes an appropriate number of competition rounds. General play scores are not accepted.

  • A male with a maintained handicap of 4.4 or less or a female with a maintained handicap of 6.4 or less will be required to play in a minimum of 21 recognised tournament rounds to be able to apply.
  • A male with a maintained handicap of 6.4 – 4.5 or a female with a maintained handicap of 8.4 – 6.5 will be required to play in a minimum of 21 PGA recognised tournament rounds to be able to apply.

Why become a PGA Professional?

PGA Professionals are golf development experts. They help to get people started in the game and then keep them improving, teaching beginners and major champions alike. PGA Pros are not only experts on how to swing the club but also on the game generally.

PGA Professionals’ passion, knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment can help to inspire people to take up golf, engage people in learning to play the game, convert them into regular golfers and club members and retain them in lifelong participation.

What job roles are available to PGA Professionals?

Many! PGA Professionals use their qualifications in over 80 different job roles worldwide. Retail, coaching, golf management, technology, golf course architecture, refereeing…just to name a few.

A career in golf requires a wide range of skills and the management of services, products, facilities and people. Roles include Golf Club Managers, Club Professionals, Custom Fitters, Coaches, Business Owners, Operations Managers, Tour Players, Sales Representatives, Architects, Marketeers, Journalists. Whatever your career aspirations, a qualification through The PGA is a prestigious mark of credibility to prospective employers.

What are The PGA courses?

The PGA offers three qualifications;

  • FdSc - BSc (Hons) Foundation Degree in Professional Golf (in association with the University of Birmingham)
  • DipHE - BA/BA (Hons) in Professional Golf (in association with the University of the Highlands and Islands)
  • BSc (Hons) Applied Golf Management Studies (in association with the University of Birmingham)

Those who have then completed their FdSc Foundation Degree can opt to top-up to a full degree, which similarly to the Foundation Degree, would consist of two years’ part-time distance learning education. The part-time aspect of both degrees has allowed students and members to continue their day-to-day occupations, whilst gaining their qualifications.

The PGA offers various other learning opportunities, including further courses and qualifications such as PGA Director of Golf, which expands members’ knowledge, providing the framework to be successful in such a role.

What are the academic requirements to enrol on the FdSc foundation degree?

The minimum academic entry requirement is four GCSEs at Grades 4 to 9 (A to C) including Maths and English Language.

How much does the degree course cost?

For those starting the programme in 2024 the tuition fee will be £4,750 per academic year for UK and Republic of Ireland entrants and £6,750 for international students.

What do different classes of PGA Professionals mean?

The PGA has a pathway to progression through the Association’s membership framework called Excel. It’s designed to reward PGA Professionals for their impact and achievements and inspire them to reach their potential. Different membership designations are awarded through PGA Excel, enabling members to use these bands and the accompanying logos to market, promote and differentiate themselves from other PGA Members.

PGA Members are differentiated through formal recognition of their previous experience, further education, achievements, accreditation etc. The CPD System (Continuing Professional Development) was put in place in 2019 to highlight the requirements that must be met or exceeded each year and are measured via hours and standards, considering the impact members have had on the industry. There are four additional titles that member can apply for:

Recognised as having built on their training and can now demonstrate the delivery of advanced standards across aspects specific to their role. Common to all Advanced Professionals is a commitment to self-development, evidence of operating a successful business and being a positive influence on the development of the game.

Recognised as excelling in their field. Common to all PGA Fellow Professionals is a proven ability to deliver success across all aspects of their role which has had a considerable effect on both the development of others and the game itself.

Recognised as being experts in their field and deliver sustained as significant success across all aspects of their role. They have made a significant contribution to the development of the game, having developed others but also developed those that develop others, broadening their sphere of influence.

A prestigious and exclusive honor, awarded to those who have developed an outstanding reputation through their exceptional contribution to golf, identifying them as role models and ambassadors for The PGA and its members.

If you’re interested in one of the PGA’s courses and taking the first step towards becoming a PGA Professional, then visit www.pga.info and fill out the admissions enquiry form.

Find your nearest PGA Professional