Starting a career as a professional golfer can be expensive. In team sports such as football and basketball, you're usually drafted out of college and almost immediately receive a signing bonus and contract that could be worth millions of dollars. However, in golf there isn't a player draft, and there are no signing bonuses or salaries. Players have to cover all of their expenses, usually with the help of sponsors and investors, until they begin winning enough prize money in tournaments to make a good living. The first step for the player is to raise enough money to begin his career.
Start by creating a budget for playing at least one season on a professional golf tour. You will need a minimum of about $45,000, according to the golf website Pro Launch. That money will cover travel costs, tournament entry fees and related expenses. Your first-year expense budget could be more or less, depending on the number of tournaments you enter, where they are located and the level of travel accommodations you prefer.
Create an investment prospectus. This document will be a part of the presentation you make to potential investors. It should include a cover sheet, letter of introduction, your golfing highlights and accomplishments, a detailed tournament schedule, and projected income and expense budget. The proposal should be extremely well-written without errors in grammar or math and should be easy to understand.
Identify potential investors. Start with people you know, such as friends and relatives. Launch a personal website to attract others. Use social networking tools such as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin to build a following that could create additional leads.
Decide how you will repay your investors. If your goal is to raise $50,000, consider finding 25 people to invest $2,000 each. Or find 10 to invest $5,000 each. Some may expect a financial return; others may be happy just to be a part of your inner circle and to be invited to tournaments, parties and other events. Others may want a percentage of the prize money that you win--a common practice according to BusinessWeek magazine. The magazine said golfing legend Arnold Palmer started his career with funding from just one sponsor who wanted nothing monetarily in return. On the other hand, former golfer Roger Maltbie raised $18,000 to start his pro career in 1975, and in return he promised to turn over half his winnings that first year to his investors. The prospectus you present to potential investors should not discuss financial returns. Handle that through conversation as you consider the individual interests of the potential investors.
Make appointments with your potential investors and raise the money you need to start your pro career. If the fundraising falls short of your goal, consider reducing your expense budget. Or consider alternatives, such as an additional round of presentations, a bank loan or using your credit card for the first year's expenses.