There are few bleaker stats to demonstrate the gulf between the men and women on Tour than what they earn. In 2015 Mel Reid finished second on the Money List, pocketing a very neat €249,150. In the same year 110 men on the European Tour, the precise number who retained their card, earned more than Reid.

Australia’s Bree Arthur finished 80th on the LET standings last year. From 14 starts she earned €14,587. To get by, other than your golfing skills, you need to be thrifty, innovative and hope that someone can give you a helping hand along the way. Otherwise you might end up sleeping in a maintenance shed, which is what Arthur had to do earlier this year.

The 28-year-old last played on the LET in Morocco in May and then ran out of money. It wasn’t a difficult choice, she had to go back home and find a job.

”I went to Morocco which cost me three and a half grand and I couldn’t afford to keep going. I needed to find a source of income and there wasn’t really much. I have always played golf, I’ve not got a degree or even a teaching PGA so it was quite hard to find a decent job,” said Arthur.

“I have previously funded through my earnings up to last 15 months, my parents have supported me when I’ve got stuck and we have a good family friend who has a private business and he has helped to cover my Aussie season.”

And so Arthur ended up ended up delivering catalogues after getting a flyer through the door.

“It said ‘walk and get paid’ so I thought that would be OK.”

The job involved dropping catalogues to around 1,000 homes a week which, other than the exercise, didn’t help on two levels. The money was risible, Arthur was barely covering her weekly costs, and there was no time left to practise.

But then a phone call to Cherie Alison brought about the start of an upward curve in Arthur’s fortunes. Alison played on both the LET and LPGA Tours and was now the head pro at Concord GC just outside Sydney. If anyone could appreciate what Arthur was up against it was Alison. And so she gave her a new job.

“I run comps, am a shop assistant, help with customers, rearrange the shop to make it look pretty. I’m not a qualified coach but I know a fair bit about the swing, if a member comes in and is struggling will give them a tip. There are some ladies who come on a Monday afternoon before their Tuesday comp and I will pop my head out and give them some drills, I love helping them.”

The only slight drawback was that Arthur lives in Shellharbour, which is two hours south of her new place of employment and she was there to save money to fund her playing career.

So she slept at the club.

“At the start I was sleeping in the maintenance shed for a while as I didn’t know anyone. It used to be an old fire station which was converted. Downstairs it was all the high-tech machinery, upstairs is like a little staff room and there is actually a single bed so it’s not as bad as it sounds. It was a bit gloomy and scary for me.”

Arthur now has a second job at Drummond Golf retail shop, which is in Shellharbour, so she does three days away from home at Concord and another two days selling clubs, clothes and ‘making it look pretty’.

“I’ve always been a bit of a geek in terms of fitting but I have learnt a lot about the products and different equipment out there which has been interesting.”

Speak to any Tour golfer, be it male or female, and other than an ability to ‘hole a few more putts’, small gains here and there can make the world of difference. On the men’s European Tour players speak of saving a quarter of a shot a round to help make significant advances, the ladies’ game is a little different.

“I couldn’t afford a caddy so I did my own thing. Even a local caddy just pulls the bag and, for the sake of 50 Euros, I would rather spend that on food for the week.

“You get good at saving money, be it cheaper flights or learning to manage your body yourself to save money on physio treatments. They now have green-reading books which chart all the breaks, I use AimPoint so it would be awesome for that, but that would be another €80 Euros. I can barely cover the yardage book.

“Then there are things like the players’ lounge. The lunch goes to 3pm so that that will be your dinner for that night.”

Arthur and the Aussies on TourBree Arthur

Not that Arthur would swap it for everything. Play great and there is a great living to be had and Arthur, thought to be one of the better ball strikers on Tour, has the top 10s in the past to prove that she’s got plenty of game.

And now she is back this week on the LET at the Ladies European Masters, four months after her last start but a somewhat different person. There is enough money for Germany and Spain in a couple of weeks and then it is back to Australia. She also has a new credit card of $5,000 which is 15 months interest free.

“I have gone into debt but having a job to go home to is a bit of a relief. It is not too much to be scared of paying it back.

“I feel completely different as a person, I definitely appreciate being out here on Tour now and it is more rewarding knowing that I have worked hard to be here and it has been great seeing all my mates. I’ll just enjoy the sun and see what happens…”

Mark Townsend

Been watching and playing golf since the early 80s and generally still stuck in this period. Huge fan of all things Robert Rock, less so white belts. Handicap of 8, fragile mind and short game

Handicap: 8

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