In my opinion everyone who plays at a PDGA sanctioned event is a professional disc golfer. You are playing an event sanctioned by the governing body and by the governing bodies rules.
I think we are getting too hung up the terms and as some other people already pointed out the "payout" concept is self-delusional and disingenous. What we really have is the equivilant of having a PGA Tour and Nike Tour at the same course at the same time. I've felt for years we should just dump our the division names and just use rating breaks because what we are really talking about is skill level not whether or not you are a "professional" or "amateur".
As was also mentioned, the reality is, outside of college most sports are pro-am in that people compete seriously and expect some kind of reward other than a trophy/title and play for the joy of playing. Okay, some of these college players are hoping for a big pay day in the future but that is only in a few sports and most of that group is also delusional.
Another reality is the current model has endured because of the same reason, most things endure, M-O-N-E-Y. I'm not saying this is a bad thing though, that money usually gets ploughed back into the sport so it's hard to complain.
Right now the tournament sponsor makes most of their "profit" by purchasing prizes at cost and paying them out at retail. Players accept this for one of three reasons, they figure they get plastic they would buy anyway, they can sell the prizes and convert the to cash or they know they are helpng the local tournament sponsor raise money to put back in the sport. The first result was greatly helped by tournies going to the voucher payout system so players could "pick their own". The second choice was greatly enhanced by all the internet enabled outlets on the secondary market. For example this site itself profits off this by charging a fee to use the Marketplace Forum.
So now you want to remove the profit motive and go to a true amateur model. Does this mean entry fees will drop drastically? Let's just say a typical tourney makes $10 per am player as "profit" this would mean the entry fee could then be $10 plus the cost of the trophies. However, let's say the club makes $20 a player so the entry fee is now $30 (in theory) and all you get is a trophy, I'm not sure a lot of people will line up for that deal.
What I think is a more viable model is to make everyone pro and everyone is paid cash at PDGA event. First off we clear up the confusion of the general public when we say we are member of the Professional Disc Golf Association but you're an amateur player. Second, we put all the tournament finances on the up and up, everyone can see how much was paid in, paid out and none of this gray of cost/retail stuff. Then the clubs make their money by either taking a cut of the purse for the expense of running the tournament which I'm totally fine with and by selling merch. Just like Vegas, the casino has shops to take away the money you won. They know that the true end game is not what you leave the table with but what you leave the casino with or even in the larger picture what you leave Vegas with. And just like Vegas I think golfers are more willing to spend "house" money burning a whole in their pocket.
Tournament sponser would probably make the same they do now, all financials are completely transport and we stop this fantasy of "amateur" players. I will concede that new rec players are still the true amateurs and they and some others would be excited to win a trophy. Then we really say what we mean is "I want to play with other players I am competitive with and if I do well I want some kind of compensation". I also recommend paying 50% of the top tier to encourage people to move up from the middle tiers. I believe that a shallower payout with more players would result in the most successful players getting close to what they get now. Added cash could also be skewed to the top third to keep the payout equitable to current. This way players might be more willing to play against tougher competition.
One last disclaimer, a lot of my proposals were also mentioned in one form or another in other posts so I didn't want to seem I was trying to take all the credit for the above.
I say some of us get together, hash out some ideas and make a proposal to the board. If they won't ask us what we think we certainly have the right to tell them. As it has been said, when people say "they should do this" and "they should do that" well...WE are "they", we the members of the PDGA (full disclosure: I haven't renewed yet but have been a member since 1991) have the right to propose ideas to the rest of the membership.