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Job Descriptions of Golf Course Positions

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

From Pebble Beach to Key West, public golf courses and private clubs employ a lot of workers. Golf course positions range from entry-level jobs to skilled professional roles. Although you likely won't earn a fortune as a golf course employee, you can enjoy working outdoors in one of America’s most popular sports.

Which States Have the Most Golf Course Positions?

In 2017, golf courses employed more than 300,000 people, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. BLS estimates show that more than 43 percent of people in golf course positions work in just five states, including:

  • California –

    34,656 * Texas

    22,745 * Pennsylvania

    13,975 * North Carolina

    12,496

Some public courses need only a minimal staff to make reservations, collect greens fees and tend the grounds. Country clubs typically have clubhouses with restaurants, bars and event spaces, which require much larger staffs. But most golf courses employ a few key professionals.

Golf Caddy Job Description

Golfers hire caddies to carry their golf bags and perform basic tasks. Caddies assist their golfers by handing them clubs as needed and storing them back in the bag after shots. Before each hole, a caddy must clean the golfer’s ball and clean the clubs throughout a game.

Using an automatic rangefinder, a caddy calculates the distance between a ball in play and the green. Caddies who don't carry rangefinders calculate the distance mathematically, using distance markers located along fairways. At the green, a caddy must remove and replace the flag stick as the golfers make their putts.

If a golfer lands a ball in a sand trap, the caddy must rake the sand after the shot to restore an even surface. When a golfer creates a divot in the fairway when taking a shot, the caddy must repair the green and plug the patch of grass.

Typically, employers prefer caddies who have a thorough knowledge of the game. According to the ZipRecruiter career website, golf caddies earn an average annual salary of around $35,000.

Golf Course Greenskeeper Job Description

Greenskeepers maintain greens, fairways, roughs, and sand and water traps. They install and repair course fixtures, such as tee markers and benches, and at times move holes on greens. Greenskeepers prune hedges, trim trees and tend flowerbeds. Their job includes regular mowing and watering and applying herbicides and fertilizers.

Head greenskeepers manage teams of workers. They create annual plans, manage supplies and oversee budgets. They organize or lead employee training programs and ensure their staffs comply with federal, state, and local safety and environmental regulations.

Most employers do not have educational requirements for greenskeepers, although some prefer high school graduates. Some employers favor applicants who hold landscaping certifications. Some state and local governments require licenses to apply fertilizers and herbicides.

According to BLS estimates, grounds maintenance workers earned a median wage of more than $14 per hour in 2018. The median salary represents the center of the grounds maintenance pay scale.

Golf Ball Harvester Job Description

Golf course divers descend into the murky waters of ponds to retrieve golf balls. Equipped with scuba gear, divers spend up to 10 hours per day underwater. Divers usually work in teams of three or four people, swimming across the bottom to collect balls by hand.

Some harvesters retrieve balls using a roller contraption, which rolls along the bottom, capturing balls between metal discs. Workers pull the roller using cables and winches and remove balls after each pass.

Golf ball harvesters often work independently or for a service. Golf courses wash, package and sell retrieved balls.

In 2018, commercial divers earned a median salary of around $59,000, according to the BLS. However, some golf ball harvesters forego monetary compensation and work for the balls they retrieve, which they clean and sell.

Golf Professional Job Description

Golf professionals, commonly called golf pros, are members of the Professional Golfers' Association. Most golf pros coach individuals and small groups to help them improve their technique. They oversee and implement golf workshops, summer camps for children and golf tournaments.

In many private golf clubs, golf pros manage the golfing operation. They supervise pro shop employees, manage tee time schedules and generate sales reports. In managerial roles, golf pros create staff schedules and supervise greenskeepers.

Many golf courses prefer golf pros who have earned a college degree. They may favor pros who have completed the PGA Professional Golf Management Program or hold United States Golf Teaching Federation certification.

Pros often earn the highest golf course employee salary. According to a Payscale survey, golf pros take home an average annual salary of more than $47,000.