Playing in a pro-am? Pro says to focus on these 2 things

michael kim hits driver during the final round of the 2018 john deere classic

It's natural to be nervous about playing in a pro-am, but as long as you focus on these two things, you'll be absolutely fine.

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Playing in a pro-am is one of the greatest experiences a recreational golfer can have. Teeing it up on a Tour course alongside the pros? There’s not much better.

The experience can also be an intimidating one. Playing in front of golfers of a much higher skill level can cause you to feel self-conscious. Add in the fact that many pro-ams have fans in attendance and it can be difficult to calm the nerves.

Most of this anxiety is entirely self-fabricated. Of course you’re not going to play better golf than the pro, and in reality no one in the gallery really cares about the several shanks you’ve hit. But sometimes emotion outweighs logic in your brain, and accepting these truths becomes nearly impossible.

PGA Tour golfers play in pro-ams nearly every week, so they’re no strangers to nervous playing partners. Count Tour veteran Michael Kim among them. In his decade-long career, he’s played in plenty of pro-ams. Recently, he took to social media to share his two best tips for pro-am participants.

1. Pace of play

Rule No. 1 for pro-am etiquette is keeping up your pace. Sure, the course will likely be more difficult than what you’re used to, and there might be some blow-up holes on your card — but that’s ok! As long as you keep up your pace, no one will bat an eye.

“You don’t have to play super fast since it’s probably backed up,” Kim says. “But we get annoyed when you putt out for double and go thru ur [sic] entire routine.”

If you’re having trouble on a certain hole, there’s no shame in picking up. Be considerate of your playing partners — especially the pro — and do your best to keep things moving.

2. Attitude

There’s nothing worse than playing alongside someone with a bad attitude. We all understand that golf is a frustrating game, but don’t sulk on your misfortunes. It’s much more endearing to poke fun at your ineptitudes than it is to break a club over your knee.

“I cannot emphasize this enough — we DO NOT care how good you are at golf,” Kim says. “We’ve played with absolutely terrible golfers and as long as you follow the rules above, we couldn’t care less what you shoot.”

Don’t take yourself too seriously out there. Everyone wants to play well — especially under the circumstances — but that’s not always going to happen. If you hit a bad shot, laugh it off. Enjoy the experience of being out there with a pro and pick their brain a little bit. The pro-am experience is supposed to be a fun one. Don’t ruin it with a bad attitude.

Zephyr Melton Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at