Golf Jobs That You Never Thought About Until Now
Even if you’d never played a round of golf in your life, you’d likely be able to describe the jobs of caddies and professional golfers thanks to popular movies like Caddyshack and The Legend of Bagger Vance. But what about all the other work that goes into maintaining a golf course? Courses generally employ anywhere from about 30 people for smaller and highly seasonal courses to hundreds at the most prestigious courses like Augusta. These are 10 of the golf jobs that many people are not aware of, yet are vital to the daily function of any course.
Groundskeeper and Grounds CrewImage Source: workinsports.com
While Bill Murray made it look like the golf groundskeeper is a simpleton who fights a never-ending war on gophers, in reality the position requires a good deal of specialized training and management ability. Each course usually has one primary supervising groundskeeper, who oversees a crew of landscapers who perform the more mundane daily tasks like trimming the grass and cleaning out bunker sand. Groundskeepers are often responsible for cleaning and maintaining the buildings as well as the course itself. Working as a landscaper at a golf course usually requires no more than a high school education, and lead groundskeepers work up to their positions through on-the-job experience or an internship. Those hoping to blow up gophers may be disappointed to learn that plastic explosives are generally not used to maintain courses, however!Image Source: gowithgarretts.com
Golf Cart Service and Repair
Every golf course needs a fleet of golf carts on hand for its patrons. Since these are mechanical devices that are frequently exposed to the elements, they need regular maintenance and repair. Job names can differ from course to course, but generally the golf course “attendant” is the person who manages the day-to-day non-mechanical care of the golf carts, doing things like cleaning and parking them as well as operating them for clients. Attendants are also often asked to clean the clubhouse when there are no golf cart duties at hand. Actual mechanical repair and preventive maintenance is the job of the golf cart “technician,” and this is a job you’ll likely only find at larger courses — smaller courses are more likely to contract with a local automotive technician of some sort to come in when necessary.
Pro Shop StaffImage Source: chronicle.augusta.com
The job of a salesperson at the golf club’s pro shop isn’t too different from that of a standard retail job, but they are expected to have a good working knowledge of the game and how their products are used. After all, they’ll be fielding questions all day from both rookie golfers and experienced competitors. The “pro shop” gets its name from the original structure, in which a golf professional who primarily gave lessons could make money on the side by opening their own small shop at the course. Shops at courses now generally have a dedicated sales staff who do not give lessons, but there are still some courses out there that mix the roles of golf teacher and equipment salesman. The larger pro shops also need the other elements of retail sales, such as a store manager and a purchaser. Some shops may also staff a dedicated technician who repairs, adjusts and customizes equipment for golfers as well as making sure that rental equipment is kept in good condition.
Golf Event CoordinatorImage Source: latitudeswi.com
An event planner at a course can handle everything from small charity events to major tournaments. Private parties are probably the most common duty a golf event coordinator will find themselves undertaking, however. Some people even get married at golf courses! This type of event planning actually isn’t too different from other types of events, mostly revolving around ordering and preparing food, drink and supplies for the event. For major tournaments, however, the event planner may also be asked to coordinate the hotel accommodations of the participants and their transportation to and from the course as well as arranging the rules and format of the competition. So the event coordinator at a course doesn’t have to be an absolute expert on golf, but they do need a decent working knowledge of the game.
Golf Course Maintenance StaffImage Source: clubandresortbusiness.com
Course cleaning and Coursemaintenance duties overlap somewhat with some of the other golf jobs listed here, such as course attendants and grounds crew. However, most courses will have at least some amount of dedicated maintenance and cleaning staff. Most courses have a superintendent who oversees all aspects of maintenance of the golf course, from the grass to any other recreational facilities that are present. The superintendent manages the custodial and maintenance staff, who do everything from janitorial work to soil maintenance. The superintendent may also oversee the food service operations if restaurants or snack stands are present on the course
Club Promoter / Brand Ambassador
Private golf clubs will often have at least one club promoter or brand ambassador on staff. Promoters proactively go out and seek new members, usually doing this both in-person and online. They may double as the marketing agents for the club as well, designing promotional materials like mailers or e-mail newsletters. Needless to say, a club promoter needs an outgoing personality and a penchant for sales work. It’s more than just a simple sales job, however, as the promoter is also often given a limited budget that they have to manage wisely and account for. Promoters may also be called upon to perform the duties of an event planner at some courses. Some sort of a four-year college degree related to communications is usually needed to get into one of these jobs, and state or local licenses may also be necessary to perform the job.
Starters and Rangers
The starter is basically the course schedule keeper, keeping track of everyone’s tee times for the day and making sure they get underway in a timely manner. The ranger is basically the schedule enforcer. Starters and rangers keep all the different groups that are moving through the course organized, and they also ensure that everyone has paid for their rounds. When lone golfers are looking to join a group, starters help to find a place for them. The starter or ranger obviously needs to have excellent communication and people skills, since they will often have to gently move people along so that others don’t miss their tee times. The starter generally handles the bookkeeping aspect of the scheduling and works out of an office, while the ranger is the person that actually travels around the golf course on a motorized cart while keeping play flowing smoothly. Rangers are sometimes required to have medical first responder training as they are usually the first person to get to the scene of an emergency on the course.
We all know what caddies do, of course, but the caddy master is the supervisory force that trains them and keeps them organized. The caddy master oversees all operations in this area, from training new caddies to managing their schedules. Becoming a caddy master generally just requires a certain amount of experience as a caddy combined with the ability to use basic office software applications. Caddy masters may also be asked to adopt a sales role in promoting the caddy program to members and guests.
Social Media Manager
While this isn’t a job you’ll see available at all golf courses, the larger ones in the nation are a brand of their own and social media is part of their ongoing marketing strategy. So they need a media professional to manage their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and other accounts. These professionals spend most of their days carefully crafting new posts and tweets that fit the brand image of the company, while also responding to the communications of their fans and followers. You’ll find the biggest names like Augusta and Pacific Dunes on social media, of course, but many smaller local resorts also maintain a social media arm to promote their services.
Course MapperImage Source: dronelife.com
Out of all the possible golf jobs at a course, this one is the newest and most cutting-edge. Through the use of low-flying unmanned drones, course mappers get a high-resolution detailed map of the course that is much better than anything a satellite or helicopter image can provide. The photos that drones continually snap as they fly are meshed together to make maps for things like yardage books and smartphone apps. Course mappers also film amazing video that’s used in advertisements and promotional materials for the course.
So as you can see, there’s much more to the daily operation of a golf course than just caddying and cutting the grass! Not only is there a wide range of jobs, but many of them don’t require formal education and can be learned through training on the job. Regardless of your level of education or work experience, there’s a way to translate your passion for golf into a career.