What Is A Pro-Am In Golf? Criteria And Cost To Attend

When it comes to tournaments in golf, people talk about professional events such as PGA championships, Master, U.S. Open, and LIV tournaments…These events are only for professional golfers who are skillful and famous in golf.

What about the play for amateur golfers?

The survey conducted by The Professional Athlete Index revealed that only one out of 51,346 golfers became professional. That means the chance for you to play in these professional tournaments is 0.00194%. This number tells all! It’s very difficult and costs you a lot of money to be a pro golfer.

That’s when Pro-Am comes to golf, where amateurs can play with professionals and also have their own play. Presenting their skill, introducing new seeds, as well as exchanging with pros golfers.

So, what is a Pro-Am in Golf? Is it beneficial to amateurs and other relevant parties, and how does it work? This article will reveal these things for you, including how to get a chance to play in this event. Let’s dive into it right now!


What Is A Pro-Am In Golf?

What Is A Pro-Am in Golf
What Is A Pro-Am in Golf?

A Pro-Am in golf, or Professional-Amateur tournament, is a competitive event where professional and amateur players are paired to compete. 

This type of tournament has been popular in the sport for years because it allows amateurs to gain valuable experience by playing alongside some of the world’s best pros. 

In addition, the Pro-Am format encourages social interaction between professional and amateur players as they encourage each other throughout their rounds. At the end of the play, prizes are awarded based on team scores.

There are many Pro-Am events a year. Most PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, and PGA Tour Champions events have pro-am activities. 

Before the professional tournament, its Pro-Am will be organized, usually on Mondays and Wednesdays. One of the most popular and expensive Pro-Am tournaments is AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Why is it so famous and special? Let’s explore more about The Pebble Beach Pro-Am event.


The Pebble Beach Pro-Am 2023

The Pebble Beach Pro-Am is a professional golf tournament held annually on the Monterey Peninsula in California, United States.

It is one of the most prestigious and iconic events on the PGA Tour. The tournament is known for its unique format, which pairs professional golfers with amateur players, including celebrities from various fields, creating a blend of golf and entertainment.

The tournament features a field of 156 professionals and 156 amateurs, including celebrities from the world of sports, entertainment, and business.

This year, Pebble Beach Pro-Am welcomes a list of famous celebrities to come, such as Thomas Keller, Macklemore, Gareth Bale, Jason Bateman, Bill Murray, Josh Duhamel, Nate Bargatze, Charles Kelly…

The Pro-Am this year ended up with a victory of 269 scored by professional golfer Justin Rose. Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers & Ben Silverman’s team won the AM tournament by 189 scores at the 54-hole finish.

Jack Owen at AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am 2023
Jack Owen at AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am 2023

How Does Pro-Am Work?

Now, you grasped the overview of Pro-Am tournaments. It’s time for you to dive into the details of how a pro-am golf tournament typically works:

Team Formation

Pro-Am tournaments consist of teams that are made up of one professional golfer and anywhere from one to four amateur golfers.

The teams are usually formed by the tournament organizers, who often pair professional golfers with amateur players based on handicaps, skill levels, or sometimes through random draws.

A golfer is also placed in a team if they want; just contact the Pro-Am organizer to discuss this requirement. 

Tournament Format

The format of a pro-am tournament can vary, but the most common format is a “best ball” or “scramble” format.

In a best-ball format, each player (professional and amateur) plays their own ball throughout the round, and the team’s score is determined by taking the best score (lowest number of strokes) among the team members on each hole.

In a scramble format, each team member tees off, and then the team selects the best shot, and all players play their next shots from that location. This process continues until the ball is holed. The team’s score is based on the total number of strokes taken to complete the hole.

Scoring and Prizes

Each team’s score is calculated based on the chosen format (best ball or scramble) and recorded for the pro-am tournament.

However, it’s important to note that pro-am scores are separate from professional tournament scores. Usually, pro-am tournaments have their own set of prizes and rewards for the top-performing teams.

These prizes can include trophies, merchandise, or even opportunities to play in future pro-am events.

For example, the purse of this year’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am is 9 million dollars for professionals and 1,620,000 dollars for first place, while last year’s was 8,7 million dollars payout.

Interaction and Learning

One of the primary benefits of participating in a pro-am tournament for amateur golfers is the opportunity to play alongside and learn from professional golfers.

During the round, amateurs get the chance to observe the professionals’ techniques, strategies, and skills up close. This interaction can be a valuable learning experience and can also create memorable moments for amateurs.


Benefits of Pro-Am

Benefits of Pro-Am
Benefits of Pro-Am

The main purpose of a Pro-Am in golf is to bring together professional golfers and amateur players in a competitive and entertaining setting. 

Pro-Ams provide an opportunity for amateur golfers to experience playing alongside professionals, gaining insights into their game and getting a taste of the tournament atmosphere.

Besides the core purpose of creating a play for golf amateurs and pros, Pro-Am also brings a bunch of benefits to sponsor companies, also for golf fans, and other entertainment fans, communities…

Pro-Ams add an element of entertainment to the golfing experience. They often feature well-known celebrities, athletes from other sports, and influential individuals from the business world playing alongside the professionals. 

This combination of talent creates an engaging and enjoyable event for spectators and participants alike. As we mentioned before, this year’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am welcomes a lot of celebrities, which brings excitement not only for golf fans but also for other entertainment fans.

Many Pro-Ams are organized as charity events, aiming to raise funds for worthy causes. Participants, sponsors, and spectators contribute to these charitable endeavors. 

The Pro-Am format helps attract attention, as people are more inclined to support and donate when they see prominent golfers and celebrities involved.

This is a unique opportunity for amateur golfers to interact with professionals, sponsors, and other influential individuals from various fields.

Participants can build connections, create business relationships, and forge lasting friendships in a relaxed and social environment.

Pro-Ams often have corporate sponsors, and these events also serve as an opportunity for sponsors to showcase their brands and products. 

Sponsors can align themselves with the prestige and excitement of professional golf, gaining exposure and enhancing their reputation among the golfing community and beyond.

Besides, this is also a chance for potential players to appear. What is more wonderful than there is a gemstone for other sponsor companies, other golf organizations catch and nurture them to be the new star. 


Criteria for Attending a Pro-Am

The criteria for attending a Pro-Am in golf can vary depending on the specific event and its organizers. Generally, there are a few key factors to consider when determining eligibility to participate in a Pro-Am:

Invitation: Some Pro-Ams, such as Pebble Beach Pro-Am, are typically invitation-only events, meaning players cannot simply sign up or register on their own. Invitations are extended to specific individuals, including sponsors, celebrities, influential figures, and amateur golfers who may have connections to the organizers or are affiliated with the event’s sponsors.

Handicap Requirement: Many Pro-Ams require amateur participants to have a valid golf handicap. The specific handicap requirement can vary, but it is common for organizers to set a handicap limit; common is around 20 handicaps.

Sponsorship or Pro-Am Package: In some cases, amateur participants may gain entry to a Pro-Am by securing a sponsorship or purchasing a Pro-Am package. These packages often include a spot in the tournament, access to practice rounds, attendance at social events, and sometimes the opportunity to play alongside specific professional golfers.

Donations or Fundraising: Certain Pro-Ams may allow amateur participants to gain entry by making a significant donation to the charitable cause associated with the event. This provides an avenue for individuals who may not meet other criteria to participate while contributing to the fundraising efforts.

Celebrity Status: In Pro-Ams that feature celebrities or influential figures, the criteria for attending may be based on one’s status in the entertainment, sports, or business world. Celebrities and influential individuals are often invited to participate to add entertainment value, generate media attention, and attract sponsors and spectators.

It’s important to note that the specific criteria for attending a Pro-Am can vary widely depending on the tournament and its organizers. Each event may have its own unique requirements and guidelines for participation.

It is advisable to check the official tournament website or contact the event organizers directly to understand the specific criteria and process for attending a particular Pro-Am.

Tiger Woods at AT&T  Pebble Beach Pro Am 2022
Tiger Woods at AT&T  Pebble Beach Pro Am 2022


How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Pro-Am?

Attending a Pro-Am event comes at a price, with entry fees varying based on the specific event. Typically, these fees range between $2,500 and $10,000. 

It is common for these entrance fees to be charged per group, typically consisting of four players. 

For a PGA-level tour Pro-Am, the costs tend to be significantly higher. Take, for instance, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which can cost participants up to $40,000

Alternatively, the Symetra Tour Pro-Am offers a more affordable option, charging $2,000 for a group of three. It’s important to keep in mind that these costs reflect the financial commitment associated with attending a Pro-Am event.

Besides the entry fee, participants should also consider other potential expenses, such as caddie fees, meals, accommodation and travel, and incidentals during their time at the Pro-Am. These costs can vary depending on personal preferences and the services provided by the tournament organizers.


Do You Need A Handicap To Play In A Pro-Am?

Many Pro-Ams require amateur participants to have a valid golf handicap. The specific handicap requirement can vary, but it is common for organizers to set the handicap around 20 handicaps.

Do Pros Get Paid To Play in Pro-Ams?

Professional golfers are usually paid to compete in pro-am. The amount varies depending on the tournament and its organizers. Professional golfers also often receive additional compensation for participating in pro-am in the form of merchandise, travel expenses, and other incentives.

Can Anyone Play in a Pro-Am?

The criteria for attending a Pro-Am can vary widely depending on the specific event and its organizers. Generally, there are a few key factors to consider when determining eligibility, such as invitation, handicap requirement, sponsorship or pro-am package, donations or fundraising and celebrity status. It is advisable to check the official tournament website or contact the event organizers directly to understand the specific criteria and process for attending a particular Pro-Am.


Final Thoughts

Pro-Ams can be an exciting and rewarding experience for golfers of all levels. These events allow players to play alongside professional golfers, build relationships with sponsors, and enjoy a unique atmosphere with like-minded individuals. However, it is important to keep in mind the criteria and costs associated with attending a Pro-Am before making any commitments. With that in mind, interested players can find out more information about specific Pro-Ams by checking event websites or contacting tournament organizers directly.




  • Alvin Daniel

    Hello everyone, I'm Alvin Daniel. I was born in the Philippines and came to the United States when I was 16 years old. I started playing golf at that age and have loved it ever since. I turned professional when I was 21 and have been working as a golf instructor and guide ever since. My goal is to help everyone know more about this great game of golf. And, hopefully, through my instruction, they can improve their skills and enjoy the game even more.

Leave a Comment