Professional golf instructors can be well-paid, but only after years spent training for certification by the PGA of America and even more years of helping players show markedly improved games. Once you have reached that status, you're able to set whatever rate your customer base of private clients is willing to pay.
As with any industry, instructors certified by a professional group have more earning power. The PGA of America classifies its certified professionals depending on their level of classroom instruction and experience. Classification A-6 (B-6 for apprentices) is for a golf instructor at a PGA-recognized site. Certification reassures potential clients that the instructor can deliver industry-standard teaching approaches.
Pay can vary by market, not only because of differences in the economy, but also because of the weather. Though indoor instruction is easier with modern technology such as bio-sensors and ball launch monitors, a place with milder weather still equals more potential clients. According to Indeed.com's survey in December 2010, the average pay for golf instructors in the United States is $61,000 per year.
It matters where you teach. Instructors at private clubs command a higher pay, normally because club members paid thousands to join and expect more from their club's professionals. Private club pros' pay had a median of $59,649 yearly, and instructors at daily-fee facilities earned a median of $44,351, according to Salary.com.
The best instructors in the world work with touring pros on the PGA, European and LPGA tours. According to a 2006 Golf Digest survey, Hank Haney charged $400 an hour, a rate set before he became Tiger Woods' instructor. Another former Woods instructor, Butch Harmon, had a 2006 rate of $600 per hour. Top instructor David Leadbetter's rate was $10,000 for a half-day, and $50,000 and up for a full day of teaching.