Putting your finances first: Professional golf in numbers

In the second article in his ‘Putting your finances first’ series, Harry Clewley looks at what’s made, paid and saved by professional golfers. Check out our infographic and see why it’s about playing the long game when it comes to saving!

We know golf to be a game of birdies, bogeys and, sadly, bunkers(!!) – but professionals will more likely be eyeing up an eagle or albatross. And that’s where golf goes from a frustrating hobby for some to a rewarding career for others. Did you know, for example, that the winner of this year’s Masters Tournament won’t just get their hands on the highly coveted green jacket…they’ll also win $2,070,000?

While there are less than 3,000 touring pros on the major tours around the world1, those who are good enough can make millions of dollars – from tournament winnings to incredibly profitable sponsorship deals throughout the year.

Here’s what’s made and paid by professional golfers:

What’s made and paid?

As you can see, there’s some serious money to be made in professional golf. On top of the tournament winnings, sponsorship deals can be particularly lucrative – a sentiment epitomised by Jordan Spieth’s earnings in 2019. As you can see from the above infographic, the three-time Major winner made $2.1 million in prize money, and a whopping 13 times that ($29 million) in endorsements.2

Players also have to think about outgoings, from the cuts paid to the caddie, agent, accountant, coach and trainer, plus travel expenses, PGA Tour membership feed, lock room attendant and valet tips and incentive bonuses.3

But, after these incomings and outgoings, what’s saved?

Playing the long game

The PGA Tour has a generous retirement proposition for players. According to MarketWatch, in 2019, over 600 pro golfers had more than $1 million in their retirement plans, and 114 had over $3 million.4 One example of retirement planning is the FedEx Plan bonus money, which goes to the top 150 golfers of the year. In 2019, the No. 1 golfer reportedly received a $15 million bonus – $1 million of which took the form of deferred retirement income.5

In my last article, I wrote about why a caddie is like a financial adviser, and a key element in both roles is planning ahead. While winning a PGA Tour can result in a big payday, professional golfers don’t receive a ‘base salary’ as such, so it’s important to have one eye on the future – factoring in those big wins in the context of their retirement dreams – and making the most of the deferred winnings where possible. And here, once again, golf provides a brilliant metaphor for financial planning!

Throughout our lives, we may encounter occasional substantial incomes, such as a generous work bonus or inheritance, but it’s important to keep one eye on our retirement prospects when deciding what to do with this money. Do you treat yourself now, or use the money to pay into your pension pot this tax year? Or a bit of both?

Don’t stray into the rough when it comes to your financial planning – speak to an expert.

Contact us today

If you have a question about taking financial advice or would like more information about my services, please contact Wellesley Wealth Advisory on 01444 244551 or via email at info@wellesleywa.co.uk.

The value of a pension with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds you select and the value can therefore go down as well as up. You may get back less than you invested.

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Author: Harry Clewley
Author: Harry ClewleyAdviser
harry.clewley@sjpp.co.uk