Player diary: Trying to make it financially

LPGA Futures Tour's Nicole Noelle Smith during a practice round. Nicole is blogging exclusively for Golfweek.com.

LPGA Futures Tour's Nicole Noelle Smith during a practice round. Nicole is blogging exclusively for Golfweek.com.

Every so often I hear the phrase, “I wish I could golf as my job!”

I heard it today, actually, and yes I agree, I do have the best job ever!

But I believe there are things that people don’t take in to consideration when they think of golf as a career…

What people know about being a professional golfer:

• Golfers travel to beautiful places

• Play for awesome paychecks

• Appear on camera all the time

• Get plenty of publicity

• Live in the public eye

Yes, much of that is amazing, but not all of it is reality. Nor is it reality for most professional golfers trying to make it big.

I like to say that I am the President and CEO of my life. I write my own schedule, sleep in when I am tired, kindly let myself start work late and work later when I need to, and organize my schedule accordingly so that I can see my family and friends. That's all great, but there is a solid downside.

There is no income in the off weeks when you are putting in those long hours of extra work – sending e-mails and making phone calls to try to secure your next sponsor or payment opportunity.

So what does a typical off week look like for a professional golfer?

I spend long hours at the computer to make sure all the little details are in order. I make sure I receive clothing and golf balls for the season, my travel itinerary is in order and I am always looking ahead for any possible job opportunities during my off weeks. When this is finished, my favorite part of the day begins, and it is finally time to head to my office! With the extra practice hours I’ve put in this week, I feel confident and prepared for the LPGA KIA Classic Monday Qualifier and the first few events on the road with the LPGA Futures Tour.

In preparation for the Monday qualifier, I had two practice rounds at Industry Hills mapping out the course, analyzing the greens, landing spots, tee shots and creating a solid game plan to approach the course. I also had a solid practice session with my coach to make sure that my swing is feeling good and that I’m ready for my first series of tournaments.

Thursday and Friday I had amazing practice days at PGA West with a good friend who also is a professional golfer. We put in practice time on the range fine-tuning our swings and followed it up with a competitive round of 18 holes with dinner on the line. On Friday, my buddy aced the third hole on the Nick Private at PGA West. I stuck mine to 10 feet but it didn’t even matter. I had to just laugh, it was his 14th ace! We did celebrate with some friends later over some pizza (on his dime, since he holed it out). Sweet!

The golfing part of my workday averages about 6 to 7 hours of practice, followed by about an hour working out. Typically I like to go to the gym, but if I’m too lazy or tired to drive to the gym, I like to turn on the TV so I can jump rope and enjoy a couple episodes of Sex and the City.

OK, now it’s time to pack for my three weeks away from home, and that is never easy. Fifty pounds of clothes and 50 pounds of clubs, plus a carry-on? This is not an easy task, some might even say impossible. Until next week…

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