Golf pros fall into any of three main professions: touring professional, club professional and instructor. Each profession has its own requirements, responsibilities and degrees of technical skill. Generally, golfers who do not succeed at becoming touring professionals take on positions as club professionals or instructors. All professions call for daily involvement in the sport along with knowledge of correct techniques and the rules of the game.
Touring professionals are the golf pros seen on television, traveling internationally to compete in major golf tournaments. They compete for money and earn additional income from their sponsors. Often touring professionals become famous and can be seen in magazine and television commercials, supporting their sponsors. Only the very best and most talented golfers make it to this level after years of dedicating their lives to the sport of golf.
Club professionals are the golf pros who run golf courses. Whether they be country clubs, driving ranges, public courses or resorts, the golf pro is responsible for everything from daily management to course maintenance and giving advice to other golfers on what equipment to use. Club professionals are also responsible for many other managerial duties including accounting, staff supervision, advertising, press releases, keeping track of inventory and scheduling maintenance. In addition, these golf pros are businessmen who are the public face of their establishment. Especially in the case of resort owners, club professionals often host charity events and golf tournaments to raise funds for their communities.
Golf instructors work as either independent contractors or are employed with a club, hotel or resort. They are highly successful and technically skilled golfers who have an aptitude for conveying technique and gameplay through verbal instruction and physical demonstrations. They understand weaknesses in a student's game, and will instruct and guide the student in order to make improvements. Golf instructors working for a club or resort may also have additional responsibilities including managing assistant instructors, supervising caddies, managing the club's pro shop, and informing the groundskeepers about turf problems.