How Much Do Golfers Make From Sponsors?

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How much do golfers make from sponsors

The world of professional golf is very different from most sports in terms of money. 

In pro golf if you don’t make the cut, you don’t get paid – simple as that. But in other sports like football, soccer, hockey, and basketball there is a minimum salary for each player. 

No matter the performance – good or bad – they get paid. 

Golf is not the same which is why finding other revenue streams is key to keeping their dream alive. The cost of travel, caddy fees, equipment, lessons, hotels, food, etc. can add up quickly.

Today we’ll dive into how much golfers make from sponsors and more about the monetary side of the game. 

How Much Do Golfers Make From Sponsors?

Professional golfers earn money a few different ways including purse winnings, sponsorships, bonuses, and other business ventures. 

Pro Golfers Purse Winnings  

The first and most obvious that golfers earn money is the payout for how they finish in events. The better they finish, the more money they earn. 

On the PGA Tour a player needs to make the cut (except in designated no-cut events) to earn a payday. Otherwise, they have to pay a caddy, hotel, travel, and other expenses without earning a dime – in terms of tournament winnings. 

This is unlike most sports where there is a minimum salary required. But if they do win or even finish top 10 or top 25, the payouts are enormous. 

The average purse (the total amount paid out for the event) for PGA Tour events ranged from $3.7 million to $25 million in the 2023 season. 

According to Bet MGM, “There’s a lot of money up for grabs on the PGA Tour during the 2022-23 season — over $500 million, in fact. There are 47 official PGA Tour tournaments, all with different prize money. With the new designated events, a number of tournaments will have purses of at least $20 million.”

The Players Championship had the biggest total purse ($25 million) and individual payout – $4.5 million. But winning also provides other perks like entry into majors, FedEx Cup points, Ryder Cup eligibility, and other events, not to mention job security for the next few years on the PGA Tour. 

But in general, if you don’t play well, you don’t get paid. 

An exception to this is LIV Golf which made quite a splash in the golf world in 2022. These 54-hole no cut events have changed professional golf and everyone gets paid, regardless of how they finish. Not to mention the purses are substantially larger than PGA Tour payouts and the four golf majors. 

Pro Golfers Endorsement and Sponsorship Deals 

The second way professional golfers get paid is through endorsements and sponsorships. This revenue stream can yield millions of dollars each year for representing certain brands.

One of the best examples of this is Tiger Woods and Nike who have collaborated for more than 25 years. He’s signed multiple long-time lucrative endorsement deals with the brand that also included his own TW brand (sort of like Michael Jordan with Nike).

Other players might not get their own apparel line but are an ambassador for the brand. Here are some common examples:

  • Dustin Johnson with TaylorMade.
  • Jordan Speith with Titleist and Under Armour.
  • Phil Mickelson with Callaway and PMG (before he joined LIV Golf). 

Most golfers have one main sponsor and several others. For example, Rickie Fowler is in tons of commercials and has multiple logos on his bag and shirts. Whether it’s Rocket Mortgage, Mercedes-Benz, Cobra, and more. 

Product Placement 

Endorsements aren’t all created equal as it’s not uncommon for players to have multiple sponsors. It’s the product placement and/or promotion they need to do that determines the overall amount.

According to, “A player who keeps his card should have a minimum of three to five corporate partners. Maybe that’s a chest deal, a sleeve deal, and a collar deal—plus maybe two other name-and-likeness deals that don’t require a logo. 

A $100K logo deal usually includes two player obligations: a content-generation day—like a commercial shoot—and a day in a golf setting, like a pro-am or clinic.”

The hat is another important advertising opportunity as it’s front and center. According to the same article this is the number one piece of advertising real estate. 

This can be a few hundred thousand dollars per year or more and might entail some promotional days for the sponsor. Additionally, this can also include a club deal as well. 

There are also “shoe-ball-glove” deals from brands like Titleist and TaylorMade. These aren’t as lucrative but still in the $50,000 to $100,000 range for top ranked players. 

Additionally, other non-golf brands pay professional golfers to appear in commercials, promote training aids, and more. 

Creating Their Own Brands 

While endorsements are great, some golfers are also business savvy and decide to create their own brands like Greg Norman, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods. For example, Greg Norman has tons of merchandise and apparel for his brand. Not to mention all three of these golfers also have their own golf courses too which they designed. 

Pro Golfers Bonuses 

The third way players get paid in the world of pro golf is with incentive bonuses, appearance fees and/or signing bonuses. 

The first type of bonuses are known as incentive bonuses and are based on performance. For example, if a player keeps their PGA Tour card, their sponsor (such as Titleist or Callaway) might pay them $10,000 to $25,000.

If they win they might get an extra $25,000 to $100,000 as its great exposure for the brand. If they make the top 30 in the FedEx Cup they get an even bigger bonus.

The second type of bonuses are known as appearance fees. Tiger Woods was the king of these earlier in his career and it was a great return on investment for both parties.

According to Bleacher Report, “Woods’ appearance fee is $3 million and there are tournaments in Asia and Australia willing to shell out that kind of money for Woods’ presence, and for good reason.  A study done by the Australian Government estimated that Woods’ presence at the 2010 Australian Masters brought a return of $30 million to the local economy.”

Talk about the power of the Tiger effect! 

Another type of sponsorship is a signing bonus which isn’t something the world of golf has ever seen until LIV Golf in 2022. Signing bonuses are much more common in other sports like soccer or football, along with their salary. The PGA Tour doesn’t pay golfers to join the tour but LIV had a huge bankroll and needed to incentivize golfers to switch tours. 

LIV ended up spending hundreds of millions of dollars paying players to switch tours in 2022 including a reported $200M 4-year deal for Phil Mickelson. While others received smaller amounts but still life changing money for golfers. Plus they earn money in the event if they play well and make the cut. 

Network Deals 

Another way that some pro golfers can earn money in the sport is through broadcasting. Like other sports, it’s common for athletes to transition into broadcasting once their playing time is over. 

A few examples of this include Johnny Miller and Nick Faldo. Both had incredible golf careers and then went on to have very successful broadcasting careers too. Fans like to hear the perspective of elite players and it’s a great way for them to stay involved in golf. 

It’s not just golfers either. Jim “Bones” McKay – Phil Mickelson’ former caddy – got into broadcasting as well. He was amazing on air but eventually went back to caddying for Justin Thomas and does broadcasting a few times per year. 

Golf Instruction

The final way that professional golfers earn money is through different forms of instruction. For example, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, and Jack Nicklaus all have books that share their thoughts on the game. 

Mini tour professionals who might not have as many endorsements or sponsorships tend to teach as well. Some offer online instruction, in-person coaching, and mental game coaching too. 

Don’t Forget About Costs 

As you can tell, there are a lot of ways to make money on and off the golf course as a professional. However, there are a lot of expenses as well. 

Some of the most common include:

  • Agent. Agents tend to get 10-20% of non-course earnings. 
  • Caddy. Caddies get a salary and percentage of earnings depending on the finish. If a player wins he rewards the caddy with 10% of the earnings. Slightly less for a top 10 finish. 
  • Trainer. A lot of PGA pros work with personal trainers to get their body in as good of shape as possible to avoid injuries (and maximize earning potential). Plus, they have professionals for massage, acupuncture, chiropractic work, and more. 
  • Travel costs. Getting to and from golf tournaments isn’t cheap. Luckily, some PGA Tour pros sign deals with NetJets and other aviation companies to make the travel much more enjoyable.
  • Hotels and meals. Some pros even bring along their own personal chefs to prepare all meals for the week. Other pros rent a house together to save money and enjoy the camaraderie.
  • Coaches. Most players have a coach that gets 1-3% of earnings and/or a salary depending on how much they travel. In Hank Haney’s book he noted that he only earned $50,000 per year when coaching Tiger. Plus, a lot of golfers hire mental game coaches and sports psychologists as well.

As you can tell, being a professional golfer isn’t cheap but what a life they get to lead. 

Top Questions

Keep reading to learn more about how pro golfers earn their money. 

How much has Tiger Woods earned from sponsors?  

Tiger has made more money off the course thanks to his huge deals with Nike, Monster, Gatorade, Buick, and countless other endorsement deals. Before Tiger hit his first shot as professional golfer he signed a five year, 40 million dollar deal. His second deal was nearly double the amount and he’s signed multiple contracts with Nike since then.

Tiger Woods did lose most of his endorsements during his personal struggles in 2009-2010, but gained new ones in the following years. He’s also earned an astounding $120 million in his playing career including 82 PGA Tour wins and 15 major championships. 

What does it cost to sponsor a PGA player?

Sponsoring a PGA player isn’t cheap and depends on what you’re looking for. Just getting a logo on a hat for a top player will cost a small fortune.

As said, “For a Top 10 guy, you’re looking north of $3 million and getting close to eight figures for the most marketable players in the world. For this deal, a player will be obligated to, on average, commit to giving a company three to four appearance/promotional days per year.”

How do pro golfers get sponsors?

Getting sponsored isn’t easy but comes down to performance on the golf course, how they align with brands, and social media following. Since more and more golfers have big social media followings this can help promote brands they work with much more. 

Do PGA caddies get paid by sponsors?

Yes, a lot of caddies have their own sponsors and endorsement deals. Some caddies have the same sponsors as their player but different deals. While other caddies get their own sponsorship deals and endorsements.

Click here to learn more about the life of a pro golf caddy. 

Wrapping Up 

Making money in the world of golf is not easy as it’s very competitive. Making it to the Korn Ferry Tour or DP World Tour is an impressive feat while making it on the PGA Tour is nothing short of a miracle. 

With a limited number of PGA Tour cards given each year, it’s one of the most challenging sports to turn into a lucrative career. 

Plus, as you know from playing the game it’s far from a consistent one too. One day you can hit it great, the next day you can’t remember how to swing or putt. That’s just golf.

But if players can get inside the top 50 and win occasionally, they can earn serious money. 

Luckily, players don’t always have to depend on their on course performance to pay the bills. Almost all professional golfers have additional revenue streams from endorsements, sponsorships, and other opportunities.

Did you think golfers made more or less money?

Let us know in the comments below. 

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Michael Leonard

Michael Leonard is a full-time writer, author, creator of Wicked Smart Golf and +1 handicap amateur golfer. He left his corporate career in 2017 to pursue entrepreneurship and professional golf; since then, he’s competed in 160+ tournament days and went to Q-school in 2019.

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