Professional golfers struggle to keep dreams alive

Professional golfers struggle to keep dreams alive

PRATTVILLE, AL (WSFA) - Hundreds of thousands of women across the world are struggling to survive as professional golfers.

This weekend, the Guardian Championship for the Ladies Professional Golf Association is underway, and women from across the country are competing to earn a spot on the LPGA tour. While it may seem like a glamorous life, the ladies behind the visors beg to differ.

"A lot of people think 'Oh, professional athlete, you must be taken care of, you must get paid all this money,' well, we are our own managers and we have to rely on fundraising, sponsorship, take care of our own nutrition, our planning," said Selanee Henderson, a professional golfer from California. "We have some swing coaches, but a lot of us are out here on our own, or if we're lucky enough, we have a parent or someone out here with us and it's tough. You have to manage your own time."

Henderson's not the only one who is struggling.

"It's not exactly glamorous at all really, because you do have to pay for pretty much everything unless you have a sponsor who can help you play for travel, hotels, gas money, food money, all that stuff," said Elizabeth Tong, who has been playing golf since she was four.

Tong said that even though she has been playing in tournaments all year, she's spent more money than she's won.

"I made a decent amount of cuts this year and I'm nowhere close to breaking even for this year," said Tong.

This year, Tong said she's spent more than half of it on the road.

"Probably for me personally 20 to 30 [weeks], somewhere in that range, so it's more than half a year," said Tong.

Henderson was also on the road for more than half of the year.

"Just coping with being on the road all year, like I'm on the road probably 25 to 30 weeks out of the year, and dealing with not being able to sleep in your own bed or go home and have a consistent life is something that's been really hard. Just having a normal, steady routine is hard to do out on the road," she said. "You're fortunate enough to stay with host families but we're also just staying at strangers' homes every week usually, or a hotel. It's a really cool experience, but the hardest part is not being able to go home and see your family and sleep in your own bed or see your dog."

While she's been close, she's never gotten LPGA membership.

"I just haven't quite made it and I don't know how to quit at things so that's why I keep doing it," said Henderson.

She and Tong both plan on playing until they make the cut.

Copyright 2017 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.