- Main article: Professional golf tours
There are at least twenty professional golf tours, each run by a PGA or an independent tour organisation, which is responsible for arranging events, finding sponsors, and regulating the tour. Typically a tour has "members" who are entitled to compete in all of its events, and also invites non-members to compete in some of them. Gaining membership of an elite tour is highly competitive, and most professional golfers never achieve it.
The most widely known tour is the PGA TOUR (officially rendered in all caps), which attracts the best golfers from all the other men's tours. This is due mostly to the fact that most PGA TOUR events have a first prize of at least USD 800,000. PGA TOUR wins can mean endorsement deals, automatically provide the winner a minimum two-year exemption to play in other tournaments, and supply the prestige earned by beating the best of the best. The PGA European Tour, which attracts a substantial number of top golfers from outside North America, ranks only slightly below the PGA TOUR in worldwide prestige. Some top professionals from outside North America play enough tournaments to maintain membership on both the PGA TOUR and European Tour. There are several other men's tours around the world.
Golf is unique in having lucrative competition for older players. There are several senior tours for men 50 and older, the best known of which is the U.S.-based Champions Tour.
There are five principal tours for women, each based in a different country or continent. The most prestigious of these is the U.S-based LPGA Tour.
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