I hear very often through various mediums that PGA professionals in the UK sometimes question what value they get for their subscription fees. Yes, there are online resources, monthly magazines, insurance and a free yearly diary but apart from that.
I believe, deep down in most professionals there is a player who either still does or did enjoy playing the game of golf and riding out some of the good times and many of the bad. Following that assumption I have contacted all of Golf Monthly's Top 100 Golf Courses of 2015/2016 to see how they assist the players in the professionals to experience some of the best the UK has to offer.
Not all responded or were available to confirm or deny what they could offer but here is a good sized list of what the PGA professionals of the UK can take advantage of but firstly the golden rules.
1. Take your own PGA ID card that is valid and in one piece. This is a must.
2. Book in advance, some courses requested 2 weeks notice, others 48 hours. Speak to the secretary or the office who may then direct you to the Head Pro, Director of Golf. These are not a right, they are a privilege. It's advisable to phone a day before also to check that it's still okay and nothing has changed.
3. Play only from the tee's that you are allowed to play from. No stealth whites where you start the first from the tee-of-the-day and then onto the championship tees on 2.
4. Be a professional. Respect the rules of the club. Don't change in the car park and wear pumps if it doesn't fit the location.
5. Again, be professional. If you are able to take a few paying guests and it's allowed under the rules of their club then they will likely be more than pleased.
6. Talk to the pro-shop staff, a little small talk goes a long way and nobody can predict where life may take them. You may meet again.
7. These replies are only accurate the day I received them, always check beforehand.
Okay - Now enjoy my time and research. Share this post rather than try and copy and paste it!
Sunningdale GC (10 New Course) – Yes*, Assistants and Qualified once per year. New Course only, Mondays only.
Royal Liverpool, Wirral (12) – Discounted, Assistants and Qualified - £30 pp.
Ganton GC, North Yorkshire (19) – Yes, Assistants and Qualified plus European and Challenge Tour players plus female equivalents.
St George's Hill GC, Weybridge (24) – Assistants and Qualified if three paying guests are provided.
Hillside GC, Southport (30) – Yes, Assistants and Qualified although one pro per four-ball and green fees are £65 midweek in February, £85 in March and £130 pp in summer.
Saunton GC, North Devon (35 East, 61 West) – Yes, Assistants and Qualified booking via the Pro Shop.
St Endoc GC, Cornwall (36) – Yes, Assistants and Qualified with advice to avoid Saturdays due to members competitions.
Wentworth GC (42 West, 86 East)– No following new management.
The Berkshire GC, Royal Ascot (43 Red and 57 Blue) – Yes, Assistants and Qualified weekdays only. Guests at £150 March – November and £70 - £90 outside of that.
Notts (Hollinwell) GC, Nottingham (48) – Discounted rate of £25 per PGA professional.
Silloth GC, Cumbria (51) – Yes, Assistants and Qualified.
Alwoodley GC, Leeds (52) – Yes, Assistants and Qualified. Guests full price.
Royal Cinque Ports, Kent (56) – Yes, Assistants and Qualified with a preference to provide paying guests.
Hunstanton GC, Norfolk (64) – Yes, Assistants and Qualified.
Royal North Devon GC (72) - Yes, Assistants and Qualified.
The West Lancashire GC, Liverpool (79) – No, however £25 only per Pro.
Bearwood Lakes GC, Berkshire (81) – Yes, Assistants and Qualified although NO guests allowed due to it being a private club.
West Hill GC, Woking (85) – Yes, Assistants and Qualified Monday to Thursday with 48 hours notice.
Parkstone GC, Dorset (91) – Yes, Assistants and Qualified with 48 hour notice. Guests £90 April – October and £65 November to March.
Close House GC, Newcastle (100) – Yes, Assistants and Qualified although there is a limit as to how many times this may be used.
Ballybunion Club, County Kerry (16) – Discounted for Qualified Only. 50% off normal fees if alone. Courtousey if providing a fourball. €95 April and October, €185 in peak months.
Portmarnock GC, Nr Dublin (25) – Yes, Qualified ONLY. Weekends €45 unless providing a group of 8.
Lahinch GC, County Clare (26) - Yes, Assistants and Qualified.
Old Head GC, Kinsdale (39) – PGA rate is €75pp.
Rosapenna Hotel and GC (45) – Yes, Assistants and Qualified if guests pay a green fee.
Doonberg, Trump International, County Clare (32) - Yes, Assistants and Qualified.
Carne Golf Links, County Mayo (99) – Yes, Assistants and Qualified (Very friendly secretary/professional Eddie)
Royal County Down GC (2) - Discounts available dependent on factors of how many and the attached club and how many paying guests provided.
Royal Portrush, County Antrim (11) – Yes, Assistants and Qualified.
Tralee Golf Club, County Kerry (53) - Yes, Assistants and Qualified – One Pro per 4-Ball with others paying normal rate.
County Louth GC (59) – Yes, Assistants and Qualified.
Lough Erne Resort and GC, Fermanagh (78) – Yes, Assistants and Qualified.
Royal Porthcrawl GC, Between Swansea and Cardiff (22) – Yes, Assistant and Qualified.
Aberdovey GC, Gwynedd (65) – Yes, Assistants and Qualified, Visitors £49.50 in Summer Rate and £35 Winter Rate.
Trump Turnberry GC, Ayrshire (4) – Discounted rate of £80 pp on the Alisa from June to October and £55 November to December. Courtesy on the Kintyre course.
Trump International, Aberdeenshire (14) – Discounted, Assistants and Qualified £75pp April, October and November. May to September £100 pp.
Carnoustie GC, Angus (6)– No unfortunately, £165pp.
Royal Aberdeen GC, Aberdeen (17) – Yes, Qualified and Assistants. Overseas PGA receive 50% discount.
Castle Stuart Golf Links, Moray Firth (23) – Discounted, Assistants and Qualified at £75pp. Guests would need to pay £190pp. Open March to October only.
North Berwick GC, Firth of Forth (28) – Yes, Assistants and Qualified.
Royal Troon GC, South Ayrshire (29) – Discounted rate, £165pp between April and September with a complimentary round on the Portland Course also. Mid-September to October is £125 on the main only. Course closed outside of those dates.
Nairn GC, Moray Firth (34)– Discounted rate, Assistants and Qualified at £60 between April and October.
Gleneagles GC, Perthshire (40 Kings, 63 Queens)– Yes, Assistants and Qualified once per year.
Prestwick GC, Prestwick (46) – Discount of 50% for PGA professionals both Qualified and Assistants.
Machrihanish GC, Mull of Gintyre (50) – Yes, Assistants and Qualified once per person per year.
Western Gailes GC, North Ayrshire (54) - Assistants and Qualified, Overseas PGA professionals receive 50% off (£100 in shoulder months March/April and October, £150pp May – September).
Gullane GC, East Lothian (68) – Yes, Qualified ONLY
Cruden Bay GC, Aberdeenshire (89)– Yes, Assistants and Qualified all year around. Oversea PGA pro’s pay £25 in the Summer season.
Ladybank GC, Fife (96) – Yes, Assistants and Qualified. Guests full price.
As above all, please share this and subscribe if you wish. If you have any comments or recommendations on where to play please comment below. I think you'll agree the subscription fees don't seem so bad now.
*The list may be updated following new responses so feel free to check back or update me if you believe policies have changed!