The golfing industry remains active in the face of economic downturns and privatization. According to the National Golf Foundation, there are over 38,000 courses in the world, with a large majority of those courses available to the general public.
In fact, golf today is bigger than it’s ever been. Suzy Whaley, the President of the PGA, had this to say when speaking to Forbes about the economic impact of the game, “I am excited about the future of the golf industry! Golf is an $84 billion economic engine that drives nearly 2 million jobs and contributes more to charity than any other major sports industry.”
Do you want an opportunity to escape the mundane nature of a 9 to 5 office job?
Are you looking for a place to work in a serene environment with no distractions?
Whether you’re searching for a steady career or just a side gig to make some extra cash, the golf course has plenty of jobs that fit the bill. Let’s take a look at some of the exciting jobs that a golf course can offer you.
1) Golf Professional
If you’ve played professionally in the past, then this is the obvious option. Share your skills with golfers looking to learn the game, or fine-tune an experienced player’s game. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a golf pro is $41,443. Not a bad chunk of change to do something you love every day.
Golf pros often multi-task. Besides teaching clinics, they may schedule course maintenance, handle accounting duties, take count of inventory, and much more.
One of the perks of being a golf pro is the ability to schedule and plan events for charity. Charitable contributions are a huge part of the business aspect of the game. Bring your friends or local community together to raise money for a good cause, all while getting out and enjoying a round of 9 or 18.
Where there’s a golf course, there’s a golf professional need to maintain the course, when considering the 38,000-course number we mentioned earlier, this need represents a significant demand for the role.
Caddie jobs come with a wide variety of options. The primary responsibility of a caddie is to aid the game of the player they are assigned to by the caddie supervisor. A caddie at a public course is most likely just there to carry a player’s bags from hole to hole. In these cases, it’s a good job for younger adults looking to get into the golf business or teens looking to earn some extra money during the summer.
Speaking of money, golf is an expensive game that certainly is tailored to the affluent and those in society with the most disposable income. This detail works in the caddie’s favor as all golfers are expected to tip at the end of around, and if you do a good job, that tip will likely be more than what you would get working as a waiter/waitress at a chain restaurant.
Now, if you’re truly serious about being a professional caddie, there is some serious dough to be made. According to The New York Times, “In a typical PGA Tour arrangement, a caddie receives a flat rate of $1,500 for a tournament, which helps cover expenses, and a bonus worth 10 percent of the golfer’s winnings.”
In last week’s Shriner’s Hospital for Children Open, a lower-ranked tournament, the winner took home a purse of $1.26 million, which translates to a $126,000 payday for his caddie. This salary, of course, comes with more responsibility, such as recommending what club your golfer should use, tracking distance from the hole, and helping your pro plan their next shot.
3) Refreshment Cart Attendant
This job is another valuable side hustle you can find on a golf course. You are mostly one of the leading customer service operators of the golf industry. The primary duty of the beverage cart attendant is to deliver food and drinks to players in the middle of their outing. With an outdoor activity like golf, players need to remain hydrated, especially in the summer months.
Primary responsibilities would be cash handling, keeping refreshments fresh, and managing time efficiently. Due to the nature of the position, you will need to be at least 18 years old to serve alcohol. It’s also vital to have a good sense of the game. For example, you can’t drive up to someone in the middle of their backswing unless you enjoy being scolded.
So, if you like the idea of spending your day outdoors zooming around in a golf cart, this position may be a good fit for you.
4) Golf Course Architect
For those with a passion for architecture and design, then the role of the Landscape Architect may pique your interest. Course Architects design and renovate golf courses with input from the course owner. Many factors come into play when designing a course, such as what kind of land the course lays on, the geological configuration, and environmental concerns. Therefore, nearly all landscape architects have a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Check your state’s requirements for licensing as it varies state to state.
It is also essential to have a fundamental understanding of budgeting a construction project so that you do not spend more money than has been allotted, especially when considering the amount of time and resources needed to fulfill a project of this size.
Now more than ever, environmental preservation is at the forefront of any golf owner’s mind, so architects with a sensibility for sustainability are in high demand.
5) Golf Course Manager
As you can assume from the job title, Golf Course Managers manage the day-to-day operations of a golf course. The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America demands that a manager “have a bachelor’s degree in Golf Course Management, Business Management, or a related field.”
The manager must stay on top of their course’s needs and employ workers to any department that needs help. Other managerial duties include setting budgets, providing excellent customer service, the use of effective marketing techniques, and much more.
They also need a thorough understanding of every department under the golf course umbrella, because they will oversee training for new hires. And in private clubs, they carry a lot more responsibility since they set the membership fees, which are the lifeline of any country club.
No sport commands a more high-quality surface than golf. When you think of a golf course, what is the image you have in your head? Smooth greens, sandy bunkers, and manicured fringes and fairways. None of that would be possible without the work of a Greenskeeper or Maintenance Worker.
If you’re looking to take your landscaping skills to the next level, taking care of a course is as high as it gets. It is crucial to be on top of everything daily. Nobody wants to play a course that has divots on the fairway from weeks ago or try to chip a ball on a fringe that more resembles weeds. Course maintenance is arguably the most critical factor in attracting customers and keeping a golf course in business.
Greenskeepers manage the greens, which entails maintaining a smooth playing surface, not interfering with the curves of the green, and cutting cups. Maintenance workers are in charge of mowing fairways, managing the irrigation system, raking bunkers, fixing golf cart malfunctions, and much more related to the overall well being of the physical course.
7) Events Coordinator
If you’re an avid golf fan but are looking to flex your sales muscles, then look no further than a career as an Events Coordinator. Along with the course manager, this is the position that requires the most business savvy.
Event coordinators focus on selling events and sponsorships. The goal is to build up a clientele of companies willing to hold their corporate events at your golf course. Also, the events coordinator oversees the planning and execution of said events, ensuring the client has everything they need for the occasion.
To become an Events Coordinator/Manager, it’s highly recommended that you obtain a bachelor’s degree in Event Management or Hospitality from an accredited four-year university. Since this is a sales position, that means it comes with a commission (typically in the 15-20 percent range, according to EventPlanning.com). So, the more accounts you obtain, the more money you make.
When job hunting, young professionals often overlook the setting of a position. Instead, they focus on the pay, the company, and the hours. However, in many instances, when they start this new chapter, they realize they dislike their office setting. There are few more beautiful and peaceful places to work than a golf course.
There are millions of people who work their whole life to be able to retire and spend more time on the golf course. So why not start early and spend every week there while you’re in your best years?
Whether you’re in high school trying to gain your first work experience or a dedicated professional trying to find a steady career for yourself, being employed at a golf course is a step in the right direction.
As the legendary golf coach Harvey Penick once said, “Your next shot is a new experience. It might be the best shot you ever hit in your life.”