The value of the business handled weekly on the PGA driving range is worth more than a tournament check sometimes. Yes, that’s right!

I was talking to IndyCar driver, Pippa Mann, at a business function and she was explaining the real reason the little sponsors, you know the ones that have a bumper sticker on the car that you can’t see at 225 mph, sponsor race teams. The connections. It is brilliant and makes perfect sense that these little companies are trying to get in the room with the big companies and strike a merch deal, a distributor deal, or some kind of partnership and the only way they can do it is if they are promised a meeting in exchange for a 100k sponsorship of the team.

The golf range at a professional golf tournament is no different. Here is a fascinating inside look at the big business of the PGA golf range from Golf Digest.


At first glance, every player looks great on the practice range at a PGA Tour event. Soaring tee shots. SMACK! Piercing irons. THWACK! Look a little closer, though, and you can tell a lot about a guy—his star power, personality, social skills, habits, the state of his game or even his life. It’s not all that dissimilar to high-school hallways all across America. Rickie Fowler? Mr. Popularity. Tiger Woods? The alpha male, though he seems to have softened a bit in recent years. Brooks Koepka? The uber-jock.

“There’s this beautiful rhythm,” says Paul Casey. “The players, usual caddies, the press, the reps, the staff. It all flows. Everybody’s aware of who’s working, who’s grinding, who needs to be pampered, who needs to be left alone.”

Bryson DeChambeau and Hideki Matsuyama? They fall into the latter, each endlessly toiling away under the watchful eyes of an army of swing people, video people, equipment people, caddie people, agent people. In the case of DeChambeau, a dew person, too, as you might have heard about the guy spraying mist on each of his practice balls one afternoon at last year’s Tour Championship so the scientist could account for the effects of the droplets on every shot.

Beyond the business of improving their games, there are business transactions being conducted, too, with the range serving as Main Street within the larger neighborhood of tournament golf. Over here is an equipment rep peddling some new magic elixir, over there a swing coach eyeing a potential client. Elsewhere, the media lurking for a hot story.

“This is our office,” says Brandt Snedeker. “We’re trying to get work done out here.”


*Originally Published on 6/20/19