5 crazy findings from Golf Digest’s “What people in golf make”

Ah, money in the $70-billion golf industry. There never seems to be enough of it, but the core group of individuals who play the game keep making more and more of it.

While you ponder how that’s possible, check out a few highlights from Golf Digest’s cleverly titled “What People in Golf Make.” Here we’ll point out a few things that we find just plain crazy..

1. The commish, compared

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Shriveled old crypt-keeper himself, Tim Finchem, who stepped down as Commissioner of the PGA Tour at the end of 2016, pocketed $5.6 million bones for his services last year. The man replacing him, Jay Monahan, is due to earn just $2.1 million.

Now, paying Finchy in excess of $5 million seems, well, excessive, but let’s compare his salary to the bosses in the big four major sports.

NFL: Roger Goodell: $31.7 million (in 2015)
NBA: Adam Silver: Estimated to be about $10 million
MLB: Rob Manfred: Estimated to be about $25 million

So, regardless of your feelings on Finchem, if Roger Goodell is worthy of compensation north of $30 million, paying Finchem $5 million for his services seems reasonable…which is crazy.

2. The Uihlein family golf fortune

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A top earner on Golf Digest’s list, Wally Uihlein, President and CEO of Acushnet (which owns Titleist and FootJoy) earned $4,978,638 (includes base salary of $995,200, plus bonus and other incentive pay) in 2016.

His son, Peter, plays on the European Tour, but missed most of 2016 due to injury, earning just 23,728 euros. He’s pocketed more than $3.8 million since turning pro in 2011. FWIW: Only six golfers on the PGA Tour earned more on course than the elder Uihlein in 2016.

3. PGA vs. USGA executive pay

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You’ve probably been losing sleep, staring at the ceiling night after night wondering how executive compensation compares at the two main governing bodies in U.S. golf. Well, here’s the answer. Mike Davis, Executive Director of the USGA: $854,803. Pete Bevacqua, CEO, PGA of America: $1,444,331. So there you have it. Rest easy.

4. Sorry, pro

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Long hours, thankless environment, but hey free golf (if you ever have time to play/the job hasn’t inspired within you a deep hatred for the game you once loved). Such is the lot of the golf pro. That, and folding shirts.

According to GD’s numbers, the head pro at the average public course earns $48,103. At the average private course, where #moneyaintathang: $73,488. At more prestigious clubs, that number ticks into the $150K range. Is it worth twice the money to deal with 10 times the assholery at top-notch vs. average clubs? We’ll leave the for you to decide.

5. The bottom of the barrel

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Here are some interesting number from the opposite end of the spectrum of the Finchems and Uihleins of the world. The lowly peons who really make things run at your local courses and clubs don’t make much more than a fast food worker.

Locker-room attendant
Estimate for private club
$30,000, plus tips

Course ranger
Estimate for private club
$25,000, plus playing privileges

Beverage-cart worker
Estimate for private club
Minimum wage, plus $200 to $300 in tips a day

Golf-club cleaner
Private club
Minimum wage, plus tips

Bartender/waiter
Midwest private club
Minimum wage, plus tips

Mower
Midwest public course
$18,000 (works four days a week and may play golf for free weekdays after 1 p.m.)

*face palm*