How Much Money Do Pro Golfers Make?

How much money do golfers make? The typical full-membership PGA golfer makes $703,000 a year. The typical LGPA female golfer makes about one seventh of that, or $105,000. That’s based on 2015 numbers, and so far 2016 is shaping up to increase those earnings.

The highest paid golfer in the world is still Tiger Woods. The past master earned $5 million on the course in 2015 but made a further $48 million in endorsement dollars. A very close second is current course champion Jordan Spieth. The 22 year old made just $470,000 less than Woods last year, pulling in an astonishing $23 million on the course (in both PGA and non-PGA events) and $30 million in sponsor money. Even in PGA money only, Spieth is lord of the links with $12.03 million official dollars in 2015.

So far the golf gender gap is abysmal. Top paid golfer Lydia Ko made $2.8 million in official LPGA money in 2015, with an estimated $750,000 in endorsement pay. That means the top paid male golfer makes 15 times more total money than the top paid female.

How Much Money Do Pro Golfers Make?

How Much Money do Pro Golfers MakeThe table below shows how much money pro golfers make. We’ve listed the typical pay for male golfers and female golfers in the PGA and LPGA. We’ve also listed the highest paid male golfer by official PGA money (Jordan Spieth) and all on and off-course earnings (Tiger Woods). The highest paid LPGA golfer is Lydia Ko with $2.8 million. The “typical” salaries in the table are based on medians. The median is just the salary where half of all golfers make more and half make less. It makes a lot more sense that average pro golfer salary because averages get skewed by the highest earners. Put it this way: In a group of ten people where nine have $100,000 saved and #10 is Bill Gates, the median savings is $100,000. The average is $8 billion. Median gives a much better idea how how much money golfers make.

How Much Money Golfers Make
Typical golfer salary (male)$703,664
Typical golfer salary (female)$105,048
Highest paid male golfer (PGA money only, Jordan Spieth)$12,030,465
Highest paid male golfer (with endorsements, Tiger Woods)$52,300,000
Highest paid female golfer (on course pay, Lydia Ko)$2,800,802

Related: How Much Money Do NBA Players Make?

How Much Money Do Male Golfers Make? (PGA)

Money Golfers Male PGAMale golfers in the PGA typically make $703,000 per year. That means half of all full membership pro golfers make more than $703,000 and half make less. That’s way up from $12,000 a year in 1980 and it’s set to go up even more. As of 6/3/16, the typical male pro golfer has already made $508,000.

The table below shows pro golfer money data from 1980 through 2016. The median figure is the most descriptive, since it shows a good solid middle-of-the-road figure. Averages are misleading because they’re dragged way up by top earners like Jordan Spieth and Jason Day. The table also shows the highest and lowest per-year golfer money in those years. Data in the table is based on PGA money only, meaning it excludes all non-PGA on-course events and endorsement money.

How Much Money Golfers Make (PGA, Male)

Top 10 Highest Paid Male Golfers

Money Golfers Make EndorsementsThe top ten highest paid male pro golfers are listed in the table below. The table takes into account money from all sources, including official PGA money, earnings from non-PGA events like international tours and endorsement pay. Even 11 years after his last Masters Tournament win, Woods still rules the pro golf money world. He may have only earned about 1/4 of the on-course money made by Jordan Spieth, but Woods makes up for it in endorsements. There’s a lag time between when a golfer’s birdie powers wane and when the public stops being interested in them. Apparently, golf-greatness is something like Tom Watson’s lifetime PGA membership: Once a golfer has it, it tends to stick around. The Tiger Woods magic may be gone from his clubs, but judging by the way big companies still court him, he hasn’t left the hearts of fans. Woods made an estimated $48 million in endorsement deals in 2015, with deals from heavy hitters like Nike and EA Sports continuing to buoy up his huge net worth. Others in the top ten list are Jordan Spieth with $53 million total, Phil Mickelson with $52 million and Rory McIlroy with $46.9 million.

Highest Paid Golfers (Money from PGA, Endorsements and Unofficial Tours)
GolferOn Course (PGA + Non-PGA)Off CourseTotal Money
Tiger Woods$5,500,000$48,000,000$53,500,000
Jordan Spieth$23,030,000$30,000,000$53,030,000
Phil Mickelson$2,300,000$50,000,000$52,300,000
Rory Mcllroy$9,470,000$37,500,000$46,970,000
Arnold Palmer$0$40,000,000$40,000,000
Jack Nicklaus$0$22,000,000$22,000,000
Jason Day$11,940,000$7,500,000$19,440,000
Rickie Fowler$8,250,000$9,000,000$17,250,000
Justine Rose$7,120,000$8,000,000$15,120,000
Gary Player$0$15,000,000$15,000,000

Related: How Much Money Do NFL Players Make?

Top 10 Highest Paid Male Golfers – Official PGA Money Only

Stripping away the endorsements and the other non-PGA tour money is a good way to get a gauge of which golfers are currently the hottest and how much they make. Looking at that list, Jordan Spieth is tops with $12 million. That’s the most official money earned by any PGA star in 2015. Jordan Spieth was born in 1992 and has already earned $149 million. It would take 50 typical Americans working their entire lives to make that kind of money. So far in his career, Spieth has won the 2015 Masters Tournament and the 2015 U.S. Open. He also took 2nd place in the PGA Championship and was named the PGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year in 2013. He was beaten in the 2016 Masters by Danny Willett, who isn’t on our list of the top ten pro golfer money makers.

Top 10 Highest Paid (Earning) Male Golfer in 2015
RankGolferPGA Money
1Jordan Spieth$12,030,465
2Jason Day$9,403,330
3Bubba Watson$6,876,797
4Rickie Fowler$5,773,430
5Dustin Johnson$5,509,467
6Justin Rose$5,462,677
7Rory McIlroy$4,863,312
8Zach Johnson$4,801,487
9Henrik Stenson$4,755,070
10Jimmy Walker$4,521,350

How Much Money Do Female Golfers Make? (LPGA)

Money Golfers LPGAHow much money do women golfers make? A lot less than men. There’s something to be said for the idea that statistics can be used to make any point with the same data. That said, no matter which angle we start with, women golfers just make less. The typical female golfer made $105,000 in 2015. That’s about 1/7th of median male golfer pay. The median LPGA golfer so far in 2016 has earned just $61,000. Compare that to $508,000 for the men. The gender gap has widened significantly in the past quarter century. In 2005, the median woman pro golfer made $105,000. that’s about the same money they’re still making now. Back then, men made about five times more than women. Since that time, male golfer money has gone up by 40% while female golfer money has remained unchanged.

Top 10 Highest Paid Female Golfers in 2015 (from LPGA stats)
RankFemale GolferLPGA MoneyLPGA Events Played
1Lydia Ko$2,800,80224
2Inbee Park$2,630,01125
3Stacy Lewis$1,893,42326
4Sei Young Kim$1,820,05627
5Lexi Thompson$1,763,90424
6Amy Yang$1,438,31223
7Cristie Kerr$1,294,30125
8So Yeon Ryu$1,292,39525
9Shanshan Feng$1,086,33821
10Anna Nordqvist$977,74325

Top 10 Highest Paid Female Golfers

The top paid female golfers listed in the table below bring in on average about 50 times less endorsement money than the men. They also make about 25% as much as male pro golfers on the course. The top paid female pro in 2015 was Lydia Ko. The young links phenom made $2.8 million in official money and about another $750,000 from endorsements. #2 pro golfer Inbee Park wasn’t far behind with $2.6 million.

Top 10 Highest Paid Female Golfers in 2015 (from LPGA stats)
RankFemale GolferLPGA MoneyLPGA Events Played
1Lydia Ko$2,800,80224
2Inbee Park$2,630,01125
3Stacy Lewis$1,893,42326
4Sei Young Kim$1,820,05627
5Lexi Thompson$1,763,90424
6Amy Yang$1,438,31223
7Cristie Kerr$1,294,30125
8So Yeon Ryu$1,292,39525
9Shanshan Feng$1,086,33821
10Anna Nordqvist$977,74325

Related: Lydia Ko Earnings and Net Worth

PGA vs Other Sports

Want to make a lot of money but can’t decide which pro sport to get into? Become a doctor. The chances of getting into a top sports league is worse than the odds of getting struck by lightning. By contrast, the chance of making it as a doctor is more along the lines of getting struck by a snowball. Plus, many doctors make about as much money as the typical pro golfer, and they seem to golf a lot too. Can’t stand the sight of blood? Try an MBA. They don’t make quite as much as doctors but some of them make a lot more and most do pretty well. That said, without endorsement deals, golfers don’t stack up well compared to other sports stars. The table below shows that typical pro golfers come in dead last compared to players in the top four leagues. There are also a lot less of them, which could make it harder to break in, depending on how many people try.

How Much Money Pro Golfers Make vs Other Sports
Pro Sports LeagueMedian Pay 2016Max Number of Players

Want to know more about how much money pro athletes make? Check out our post here on how much money NBA players make, or this article on how much money MLB players make. We’ve also crunched the math on NFL money right here.