Alejandra Llaneza, 27, recently won her first Symetra Tour event and finished seventh on that tour’s money list to earn full-time status on the LPGA Tour for next season. While she is on her way up the money ladder, her life as a pro has not been an easy one.
“The reality is, many golfers on the women’s tour are still budgeting meals and looking out for sweet deals on flight alert apps.”
If you’re thinking about turning pro in the golf industry, take a look at what Llaneza has to say about it:
Being on tour is expensive! You can’t just walk on to a course and start playing, you have to buy your way in. According to Llaneza a tournament would cost $500, while getting a caddie would be an extra $500-800! Even if you end up making the cut, you still might not break even for that week. “The old joke on the tour is, ‘My caddie made more than me this week. They’re buying dinner,'” Llaneza said.
Traveling isn’t as easy as hopping on a private plane, or even on a commercial plane. Most pro golfers drive to their tournaments to save money! Llaneza said she shared a car with a fellow pro for her entire first year on tour. By doing that and stocking up on snacks for the car, she saved a lot of money, but still estimated she had $75,000 per year in expenses if you include travel, caddies and tournament fees. Meanwhile, she’s only made $183,000 in prize money since turning pro in 2011.
Many golfers will stay at host homes, instead of staying at expensive 4-star hotels. Llaneza says that staying at host homes isn’t glamorous but it can be fun and sometimes even helpful. This year, Llaneza qualified for the KPMG LPGA Championship, but the airline lost her clothes. Thankfully her host family came to the rescue! “‘Oh don’t worry honey, my daughter is your size!'” Llaneza says about her host “mom”. “I ended up wearing her daughter’s clothes the whole week.”
Most tour pros aren’t like the top 5 golfers in the world, where they are making millions of dollars in one tournament, and women even less so. It takes a lot to get there and some never do. It’s good to be reminded of the other thousands of golfers out there trying to make a living off of a sport we all love.