As the new wrap-around season for the Sunshine Tour draws nearer, I often get asked a lot of questions by the ‘young bucks’, their parents or potential sponsors.
Anything from how to navigate their way through Qualifying School, to the costs incurred throughout the year in the tournaments preceding the most dreaded week in professional golf.
During these clubhouse-lounge conversations, there are often innocent bystanders who listen in to the facts, figures, pitfalls and realities of a career choice as a tournament-playing professional.
The look of horror on most of their faces when the cards are laid bare on the table has prompted me to share this with you.
Assuming ‘Player A’ qualifies for any of the above Tours, he will then be awarded a Tour card at the final prize-giving ceremony. Traditionally this is when we all throw our caps, or bucket hats, up in the air for the final photo-op and officially celebrate having a job for the season ahead. Ah, the relief!
With Q-School, also known as ‘the longest week in golf’, now firmly in the rear-view mirror, the time has come to crunch some numbers and work out the who’s, what’s, when’s and where’s of life on the Tour itself.
The Sunshine Tour’s average tournament expenses are:
- Tournament entry fee – R500
- Return flight (low to high) – R4,000 for SA-based events, R15,000 to Kenya
- Accommodation – R5,000 (for five nights)
- Yardage books – R500
- Caddie fees – R4,000
- Food – R1,500 (R100/meal)
- Rental car or taxi – R2,000 (R400/day)
- Emergency/other – R1,000
On average, the costs are between R15,000 and R20,000 per tournament when travelling to SA-based events and up to R35,000 for the Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe events.
Multiply these numbers out to an average of 25 events per year and you will need around R500,000 per season to compete on the Sunshine Tour.
This is all before your monthly costs of rent, bills, food and other living expenses, so bring your A+++ game to the course each week out on Tour.
With so many great young players, wider access points into DP World Tour events and tournament cut-lines which are more often than not a few under par, it gets tougher each year.
With all of that said, there is no doubt that if you can break through on the Sunshine Tour these days, it’s only a matter of time until you win in Europe or America.
– This column first appeared in the April 2023 issue of Compleat Golfer magazine.