WAGGA golfer Charlie Pilon is prepared to do whatever it takes to make it on the big stage as he prepares to finish his university studies and hit the professional scene.
The 23-year-old will finish his masters degree in sports management at University of Michigan midway through this year, and plans to relocate to Jacksonville to compete on third tier tours.
The Latin American Tour, which feeds into the second tier Korn Ferry Tour, is the most likely option as he looks to prove himself after five years competing in a team environment at college.
At home for Christmas, Pilon admitted going out on his own is nerve wracking, but said he's prepared to do 'rough it' initially and hope the rewards come.
"I've loved it over there doing the whole college scene. But I'm at that point in my life now where I'm ready to go out on my own and make my own story," he said.
"It's definitely tough One of the great things about college is the resources available and the support network you have, whatever you need you get it.
"It's a little bit daunting going out and doing it yourself, but I'm fortunate I've got a lot of friends who have done exactly what I'm doing. I'm learning from them before I make the transition, and it's a process I'm excited for."
Most casual fans associate professional golf with big money, glitzy lifestyles and living in luxury hotels, but it will be anything but for Pilon as he looks to get a foothold on the circuit.
"The way I describe it to people is it's like those people who travel around in a car playing music for a living, living from pay cheque to pay cheque and living out of their car," he said.
"That's what guys at my level do, driving to a different state every weekend to play an event.
"It's not like a team sport where it's a guaranteed salary, it all comes down to how well you do. That's part of the fun of it though, there's no limit to how much you can make but you also have to do well enough to get by.
"I'm prepared, I've been doing that basically my whole life with the old man. We'd go up to junior events all the time and be in the back of the caravan.
"I'm well adjusted to that environment and I'm confident it will pay off. A lot of guys doing it for the first time might struggle, but I think I'm ready."
Golf has somewhat taken a back seat due to COVID and his increased study workload, but Pilon feels he's obliged to give professional life a crack.
"I've been doing it all my life, so I'd be kicking myself if I didn't give it a shot. I don't want to be at the pub saying, 'should've, could've'," he said.
"Florida, Arizona and Texas are the breeding grounds for pro golfers in the US, it's where most guys end up living when they're looking to break onto the scene. I'll look to move there (Jacksonville) in September.
"I've only played one tournament the last few months, but February we start our college season again for the spring. I'll play four or five events, then move down to Florida later.
"Most guys would work at a golf club so they also have somewhere free to practice," I'll be looking to do that.
"The Latin American tour or the Canadian Tour are the two tours where guys earn a decent amount of money and work their way through the ranks.
"You've got thousands of guys going for 25 spots (on the Korn Ferry Tour). It's not easy, you have young guys like me out there and seasoned veterans who have been doing it a long time.
"It's a tough gig but that's what makes it fun."
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