Do Tour Players Own Private Jets?

Journeying all over the world has never been so luxurious for the game's biggest names

Full Swing screenshot of Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth on a private jet
(Image credit: Netflix)

It's safe to say the best players in the world do a fair amount of travelling. The majority are based in America but with golf becoming increasingly global, the miles sure rack up. But how do they get from A to B?

Well, with more and more money flooding into the game, a certain level of luxury can be afforded by the sport's highest earners, and as such, a number of them choose to fly by private jet.

Famously, Phil Mickelson used to own his own before selling up amid rumours of exorbitant gambling debts.

Stories aboard Ernie Els' jet are said to be plentiful and legendary; one that made it into the public sphere was a supposed bust-up between Steve Marino and the South African on the way back from a tournament in Japan. On the No Laying Up podcast back in 2018, Els all but confirmed there was an altercation, although it's believed to have ended amicably.

"It was just myself and Stevie coming from Japan to Palm Beach," Els said "We had a lot to drink. There was a lot to talk about, and we kind of hugged each other. It was a lovefest on the airplane."

He added: "Nobody got seriously injured. It was all in good fun. It's just what guys do and there's a lot of testosterone running."

Of course, Tiger Woods, arguably the most famous golfer of all time and certainly one of the most successful, has his own private jet. In fact, in this world we live in, it's a surprise his Gulfstream 550 doesn't have its own Twitter account, such is the frenzy that breaks out whenever the 15-time Major champ makes a move. 

Last year, social media erupted when Tiger's jet was spotted landing at an airport near Augusta National, as speculation ramped up about whether he would make his comeback from career-threatening leg injuries at The Masters in 2022. He did, of course. 

As for the new generation, more than 50 PGA Tour players are sponsored by NetJets, including Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas. Many even chart flights domestically to travel between tournaments wherever they are in the world or to scope out upcoming Major venues ahead of time during an off-week.

We got to see plenty of private jet action in season one of Netflix Full Swing, although we can't promise anything like the drama of a flight with Els Airlines.

Given their proclivity for taking the aerial route even for short trips, golfers have faced criticism in the past amid the deepening climate crisis. World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, so often a role model for the game, admitted the guilt got too much for him in 2019 and now pays around $150,000 a year to offset his carbon footprint.

Others who don't have the luxury of such sophistication will slum it with the punters on your average passenger plane, or take the scenic route in an RV. Spieth recently admitted he had actually invested in an RV in order to have a "home on the road" with his wife and son as he begins his 11th season on the PGA Tour.

However, whether rightly or wrongly, as the purse sizes continue to increase across all global golf tours, expect more and more tour players to do the bulk of their travelling by private jet.

Andrew Wright
Freelance News Writer

A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he decided to go freelance and now covers a variety of topics for Golf Monthly. 

Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.

As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as,, and

What's in Andy's bag?

Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)

3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (15°)

Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)

Irons: Mizuno mp32 (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)

Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x