Becoming a PGA Member: Step 8

My wife and I welcomed our son Asher on the 4th of July. He’s our first.

Well, it’s certainly been a while! After a nearly seven-month travel restriction due to the Zika virus, my wife and I recently had our first child, which means I’ve been cleared to return to Florida for the PGA Level 2 Seminar.

I’ve been through one full season working as an Assistant Golf Professional at La Paloma Country Club in Tucson, and now I’m ready to further my PGA Certification.

When you meet all the requirements of Level 1 by attending the Seminars, completing a Work Experience Portfolio, and passing all the Level 1 tests, you are eligible to advance on to Level 2.

However, you’re not actually in Level 2 until you pony up some more money. Would you have expected anything different? Level 2 registration is $350 for access to the online pre-Seminar courses: Golf Operations, Intermediate Teaching, Intermediate Teaching and Golf Club Alteration, Merchandising and Inventory Management, and Turfgrass Management.

Cost: $350
Running Total: $4,047.99

Upon completion of the online courses, which basically means just clicking on each of the four links, you are then eligible to register to attend a Level 2 Seminar Session at the PGA Education Center back in Port St. Lucie, Florida for another $2,000. You’re not actually in Level 2 until you register. You pick the Seminar dates of your choosing online, and there are approximately 11 Level 2 Seminar offerings per year. Acceptable progress is based on your advancement to the next level.

In order to remain in good standing, Level 2 testing must be successfully completed within four years of the Level 1 start date, which for me was July of last year. My goal is to test out of Level 2 by year’s end.

Cost: $2,000
Running Total: $6,047.99

When you register to attend a Seminar at the PGA Education Center, this will be your home for the week.

Next On the Tee
Tune in all this week as I’ll be posting daily updates from the Level 2 Seminar. We’ll see if they let us out to view Monday’s total solar eclipse, the first to be visible to the U.S. mainland since 1979. Of course, Bonnie Tyler’s been singing about Total Eclipses of the Heart since 1983.

I also just checked the schedule for the St. Lucie Mets, the high Single-A affiliate of the New York Mets. They’ll be on the road at Charlotte and Palm Beach all week long, so sadly there will be no Tim Tebow sightings this trip.

I’m also glad to see there’s finally a link online at detailing the steps to becoming a PGA Member, which was almost impossible to find much less to understand before. It’s right there on the home page! As you know, they’re just a tad late. I started my online step-by-step process in June of last year.  

Previous Steps
Step 1 – In order to become a PGA member, you first have to become a registered apprentice and go through the PGA Professional Golf Management (PGA PGM) Program. It takes up to three years to complete all 11 steps. Step 1 is pretty self-explanatory. To register into the PGA PGM Program, you have to register or re-register as an apprentice and complete a Background Check. (Cost: $58.99)

Step 2 – You’re not considered a PGA Apprentice until you satisfy all the requirements at the Qualifying Level and register as an apprentice. At the Qualifying Level, applicants must complete three online courses: Introduction to the PGM and the Golf Profession, PGA History and Constitution, and Rules of Golf 1 as well as pass a knowledge test based on the three courses. (Cost: $200)

To earn your PGA Certification, at some point, you have to pass a PAT.

PGA Qualifying Test – This 90-minute, 75 question test is administered by PSI Exam centers nationwide. The test covers three online courses: Introduction to the PGM and the Golf Profession, PGA History and Constitution, and Rules of Golf 1. A clean, unmarked copy of the Rules of Golf is permitted into the testing center and a score of 70% is required to pass. (Cost: $40)

Step 3 – The 36-hole, one-day Playing Ability Test (PAT) at a PGA Approved Golf Course requires a target score within 15 shots of the course rating in order to pass. The $160 total cost includes the $100 pre-registration fee as well another $60 paid on-site to cover the cost of green fees, cart fee, range balls, and lunch. (Cost: $160)

Step 4 – Print out the PGA PGM Program Application, get it signed by your Current Employer/Intermediate Supervisor, and then fax or email it back to the PGA. Be sure to include proof of your highest level of education and a copy of Work Permit or Employment Visa if you’re not a U.S. Citizen.

The last page of the application is a combination of National Fees ($60), Section Fees ($250), Liability Insurance ($25), Life Insurance ($34), a Registration Fee ($200), and the Level 1 Online Course Access Fee ($560). Once your registration is approved, you’ll have access to the Level 1 courses through the PGA Knowledge Center. (Cost: $1,129)

Step 5 – Register for the PGM 2.0 Level 1 Seminar in Florida
The all-inclusive package includes five days of classes, airfare to West Palm Beach (from the city you prefer to fly out of), lodging for the week (it’s $500 more for your own hotel room if you don’t want to share with another Apprentice for the five days), ground transportation, and breakfast and lunch each day. (Cost: $2,000)

Apprentices registered after January 1, 2010, can view and/or download PGA PGM 2.0 curriculum information online.

Step 6 – Level 1 Work Experience Portfolio
The average student takes 26 months to pass Level 1: the Portfolio and all five tests. That’s ridiculous! In the right environment, a properly motivated Apprentice can easily complete the task in less than two months. It’s not difficult, but it is time consuming and, at times, tedious. (Cost: $0)

Step 7 – Level 1 Test Battery
The five-test battery consists of 240 questions and took a little more than 90 minutes to complete. Check out the study guide I posted here, and really focus on the Golf Car Fleet Management section, which more Apprentices fail than any other. (Cost: $78, Retakes: $32)

If you’ve been convicted of a felony, misdemeanor or equivalent, you should submit documentation to the PGA Membership Department to determine eligibility for PGA Membership prior to proceeding. Per the PGA Code of Ethics, certain transgressions are cause for permanent preclusion to PGA Membership.

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