Swing Thought Tour

The Swing Thought Tour (formerly the National Golf Association Pro Golf Tour) is a developmental men's professional golf tour in the United States.[1][2] It includes approximately twenty 72-hole Pro Series events and three 54-hole Qualifying School Prep Series events each year throughout the US South and Midwest. The tour was founded by T. C. "Rick" Jordan in 1988 and later sold to Hooters restaurant chain owner Robert H. Brooks in 1994. Hooters was the title sponsor from 1988 through 2011. The Tour was sold to Robin Waters of Loris, South Carolina in 2011.

In September 2014, the tour was bought by Golf Interact and renamed the Swing Thought Tour.[3] In August 2015, the company announced that they purchased the eGolf Professional Tour and will integrate it into the Swing Thought Tour.


Three men's pro golf tours based in the United States pay out more in prize money than the Swing Thought Tour. The richest competition is in the highest-paying PGA Tour. The second-tier Web.com Tour offers prizes smaller than the PGA Tour but attracts many up-and-coming golfers trying to obtain their PGA Tour cards. The Swing Thought Tour is the third largest tour in the US after the PGA and Web.Com Tours.[4]

Prize money

Unlike the PGA Tour and Web.Com Tour, for which prize funds are provided by sponsors, the bulk of the prize fund paid out in Swing Thought Tour events comes from player entry fees. Like poker tournaments, players are competing to win back their entry fees (and the entry fees from others). However, thanks in part to national sponsorship, the Swing Thought Tour players actually play for over 110% of their entry fees, while other developmental tours typically pay back only 80-90% of entry fees. In 2011 the total prize fund was over $5.7 million, the leading money winner, Brandon Brown (Shelbyville, Kentucky), had earnings of $150,864. Jeff Corr (Longwood, Florida) earned $142,545, Philip Pettitt, Jr. (Murfreesboro, Tennessee) earned $111,109 while 16 others made $50,000 or more. The tour paid PGA Tour Qualifying School entry fees for 33 players (Typically $4500 per person) in 2011. In 2010 and 2011 the NGA Pro Golf Tour received six exemptions each year into individual Web.Com Tour events and exemptions into the annual Hootie and the Blowfish Monday After The Masters Tournament.

The PGA Tour's Reno-Tahoe Open gives an exemption for the tour's mid-season money leader. In 2013, the Sanderson Farms Championship gave a spot to the winner of the Magnolia Bluffs Casino Classic.

The 2012 schedule featured 32 events; 18 Pro Series events with guaranteed purses of $150,000 to $200,000 in guaranteed prize funds and one Members Only Shootout, three Q School Prep Series events, and 10 Carolina events with estimated purses of $132,000 each for a total payout of over $5.4 million.[5] This is approximately one-fifth of the prize money available on the second-tier Web.Com Tour, which has over 30 events with prize pools of $525,000 to $1,000,000, and little more than 12 percent of that on the PGA Tour, which has 47 events with an average prize pool over $6.3 million per event.

Tournament structure

Each Pro Series event on the Swing Thought Tour follows the same structure as the PGA and Web.Com Tour. Entry fees range from $750 to $1400, depending on Tour membership, amateur status, and if one plays in the qualifier. A field of 156 to 168 players start on Thursday, playing one round of 18 holes each day. After two rounds, the top 55 to 65 players and ties continue on to the third and fourth round of play. Players that make the second-round cut are in the money, which ranges (approximately) from $1,000 to $30,000. The fields are first filled by exempt members of the Tour. Most years the top 120 points leaders from the previous year are granted exempt status. Any player may request one of limited number of exemptions granted each year. A player will usually be granted exemption by good performance in previous years (e.g. by being one of the highest money winners in the previous season), by having a successful professional career elsewhere and looking to move up to the NGA Pro Golf Tour, or by having an outstanding amateur career. Past college players automatically receive exempt status. Exempt status can also be earned by performing well during one of the four ranking schools held by the Tour each winter. Only the top 10-15% of players from the ranking school are fully exempt; the rest gain exempt status partway through the season. Five players from a qualifier played the Monday before the event are also granted entry; less than five if there are fewer than 16 players in the qualifier, but more players if there are open spots in the field. More detailed information on events, membership, etc. can be found in the Player's Handbook .

The Swing Thought Tour has helped hundreds of players acquire PGA Tour and Web.Com Tour cards, more than any other developmental tour, because the Swing Thought Tour events mirror PGA and Web.Com Tour events. Like the PGA and Web.Com Tours, Swing Thought Tour players may not use electronic distance measuring devices, must wear long pants, walk (no carts), follow the same strict play and scoring rules, and exhibit professional conduct both on and off the course.

Additional series

The Swing Thought Tour also runs 4 other State Pro Series. Each series can run from 10-25 events all year round.

Former players on the Swing Thought Tour

Major championship winners:

Other golfers who have won at least one PGA Tour event:

Combined money leaders

YearMoney leader(US$)
2013 Jon Curran 99,718
2012 Brandon Brown 115,904
2011 Jeff Corr 159,199
2010 Michael Thompson111,817
2009 Ted Potter, Jr.202,517
2008 David Skinns 134,809
2007 Casey Wittenberg 122,881
2006 Ted Potter, Jr. 102,609
2005 Dave Schreyer 86,682


  1. Elizabeth Olson (August 19, 2003). "Hostesses in Shorts? This Is No Ordinary Flight". The New York Times.
  2. "An Alternate Route For Reaching the PGA". The New York Times. July 14, 2003.
  3. "About the Swing Thought Tour". Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  4. Jolley, Frank (February 19, 2011). "Hutchins goes low to win tourney". The Daily Commercial. Leesburg, Florida. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
  5. 2011 Hooters Tour schedule

External links

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