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What Does it Take to Break into a Professional Golf Career? Isn't a Great Set of Skills Enough? Sadly, the Answer is No.

What Does it Take to Break into a Professional Golf Career? Isn't a Great Set of Skills Enough? Sadly, the Answer is No.

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I grew up in a golf family, my dad, my grandpa, my uncles, and cousins are all amateur golfers, later on, golf gave me golfer friends and so I am now a degenerate golf lover, not saying I am a good one, but for me, those 18 holes, among family, friends and even complete strangers, are the best time of the week. (Please don’t tell my wife).

As some of you know, I am also a Venezuelan lawyer who has always been attracted by the Sports Law and the Sports Representation world. I have been related to the world of soccer (please allow me to call it football) from the beginning, currently being the agent of some players that play in the Spanish league, but my mind has never been closed to only develop as a football agent, I want to grow and be a sports agent, kind of like Jerry Maguire, to create a group that handles a wide number of disciplines, such as baseball, basketball and yes, I want to break into the golf agency industry and I already started, or at least I am trying to.

Golf, contrary to traditional sports, is hard to get into as a professional, not only because of the high level of difficulty that the sports perse implies but because you have to buy your way in. Don’t get me wrong, money by itself won’t get you to the top, but to compete and earn your way to the top, you will need the money. And in case you don’t know, if you are a golf player and get yourself in a professional competition and you miss the cut, you don’t get paid. Picture a 24 years old player, just out of college, where he went with a full-ride scholarship, and now he is out there thinking, how the heck am I going to play in the Whatever tour, which will cost me 35 to 40k? What if someone lends me money and I don’t win? How am I going to pay back? How am I supposed to be focused on the golf course thinking that if I don’t play well, I won’t be receiving a check on Sunday? The answer is very simple: You need a sponsor, pal.

Now is the moment in which the agent needs to shine and boy, it is so hard to shine when facing this titanic task. Why is that? Because when you are a football agent, you need to get your player a contract and that’s it, I am not saying this is easy, but you have to convince a team that x, y, or z player will fit into their playing philosophy, negotiate a contract and BOOM! If you succeed, your guy will be flying with a paid ticket, to start making money every month and no financial burden will be associated with his performance. To find a sponsor for a golf player you need to pitch the idea to a company to perform a sports sponsorship and put their logo on the hat, polo, and bag over a guy that will be playing every week in events that are not always being broadcast. And of course, remember I am not talking about players that are already in the PGA tour, I am talking about our “Just graduated” 24 years old dude that will play the McKenzie Tour or the PGA in Latin America, looking to earn his PGA card. 

I have been in this position before, and it is not easy, because the first barrier you will find will be the company saying: “You are asking me to put money on a guy that yes, will have my logo on his gear, but no one will watch it” Strike 1. Now it’s time to adjust and come back for the next pitch.

This is no ordinary sport, we are talking about golf, one of the most, if not the most elite sport on the planet. Being related to golf is being handed in hand with the top in the world, with the best brands, from the most popular brands like Puma, Nike, Adidas, Coca-Cola to luxury brands such as Rolex, Tiffany, etc. Also, the most important firms such as KPGM, PWC, Morgan Stanly are involved somehow in the world of golf, either as sponsors for a particular golfer or as partners in the PGA organization. What I am trying to say is that these sponsors are not going to be passively simply added during a TV broadcast presentation, or a banner during a golf event, the sponsor implies the actual presence of such companies’ representatives in social events, the networking associated is sure there and you can be a part of it, while your company is supporting a young talent on his way to the top: “That’s your punch line, that’s your pitch in the cocktail party”. 

Once you have passed the first big obstacle, then you are in solid soil and you can bring up the tax-deductible argument, which can be very attractive to some companies and of course, should be analyzed in each jurisdiction according to the tax law applicable.  

But is anybody considering how to sponsor a 24 years old could refresh the image and make a huge impact to your company? I mean, we live in the Tik Tok, Instagram era, can anybody think outside the box and create a mixture between a sponsorship agreement and a possible strategy that uses a fresh young athlete to reach audiences that you wouldn’t get even with the athlete being aired in National TV? I believe that this is an idea that must be sold by the agent and transmit that you are not only putting your logo in some dude’s golf shirt, but you are also reaching ANYWHERE this dude goes and even more powerful, every person that sees him throughout the internet and social media. Let’s create valuable content with our future golf superstar or let’s be more aggressive, let's create our own superstar.

I get so excited every time I get to work with a young golfer trying to get a sponsor; it is such an exciting and difficult challenge to face that I am sure that when I succeed, it will be so rewarding. Yes, my results have not been as expected so far, I am convinced that each failure teaches me how to better address this task: Let’s get that sponsorship. Any ideas? Bring them on, the more the better.


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