Player #A spent about 150 million won for expenses for the Korea Women’s Professional Golf (KLPGA) tour last year. For each tournament, he spent 200,000 won for lodging, 200,000 won for gas and other vehicle maintenance, and 500,000 won for meals. They had to pay a maximum of 200,000 won per event as a participation fee. On top of that, if you calculate the cost of lessons, training, and psychological counseling on a monthly basis, the estimated cost is 4 million won. For personal caddy expenses, he paid up to 2 million won per week. Hiring a reputable caddy multiplies the cost.
It was found that each player on the KLPGA tour costs between 120 million and 50 million won per year. The problem is that most players are playing the game at a loss due to the increasing cost burden year after year. Experts were concerned that “if this phenomenon is prolonged, the number of players on the LPGA tour will become thinner, which will eventually lead to a decline in performance and shorten the boom period of the KLPGA tour.”
In fact, in the women’s golf world, the phenomenon of ‘the rich get richer and the poor get poorer’ is getting worse. Players up to the 15th place in the prize money rankings last year were high-income earners who earned more than 500 million won in prize money. Among them, Park Min-ji (25, about 1.47792 million won) and Kim Su-ji (27, about 1.08258 billion won) earned more than 1 billion won in prize money alone, and rookie Lee Ye-won (20) won 849 million won in prize money without winning. As the KLPGA tour boomed, the amount of prize money for some players also increased. However, industry insiders explain that this is only the story of some players.
An industry insider said, “If you look at last year’s prize money rankings, only the players in the top 55 lived a tour life where they picked up a ‘benefit’.” Most of the players had to lose money even though they played on tour all year round.” These players are caddying with their families or those who travel with their families endure the inconvenience of sharing accommodations in order to save even a little bit of money. In particular, even among the players below the 30th place in the prize money ranking, they cannot sign a sponsor contract, so they have to go ‘all in’ on the prize money.
The Dream Tour (Part 2) situation is worse than this. The total prize money of 19 Dream Tour competitions last year was 1.8 billion won. It is less than 1/10 of the total prize money of the KLPGA Tour, which is 28.3 billion won. The cost of living on tour for a year is about 70 million won, which is half of that of regular tour players. This amount corresponds to the fourth place in last year’s Dream Tour prize money rankings. In addition, about 140 players are literally living a tour life with ‘navels bigger than stomachs’. It is because of one goal: to go on a regular tour. This year, the players’ concerns are growing as they have not yet been able to find all the title sponsors for the tournament.
It is an established theory in the industry that the LPGA tour costs more than twice as much as it costs domestically. The top players on the LPGA Tour spend about 5,000 dollars (about 6.6 million won) per tournament. Considering the player himself, his caddy, and one family member’s airfare, rental, lodging, and meals, this amount is spent per week. On top of that, labor costs such as personal managers, trainers, physical therapists, and coaches, as well as travel distance, lodging and airfare vary widely depending on the region. If you assume that you play a maximum of 28 games a year, you will spend about 300 million won. 안전놀이터
Last year alone, out of 24 Korean players who played on the LPGA Tour, 10 players failed to even make it. This is why it is not easy to jump into the US tour with only one dream. There is no guarantee of success, and the investment cost is high, so they are not willing to take on the big tour.
The ‘inclination’ of the sponsoring company also affects whether or not a player goes on an overseas tour. In addition to prize money, sponsorship money is the main source of income for athletes. The problem is for companies that prefer the domestic market. These companies do not sponsor players who want to go on overseas tours. This is because the frequency of corporate exposure is low and overseas publicity is not necessary.
An official said, “There were several players who said they were watching the LPGA Qualifying Series on the KLPGA Tour last year. However, in the end, Yoo Hae-ran participated alone because of this reason.” Another official said, “Rather, sponsoring domestic prospects has the advantage of being less expensive and growing together, so there are more companies that sponsor domestic players and domestic tours recently.”