Become a Golf Course Manager: Education and Career Roadmap

Should I Become a Golf Course Manager?

Working as a golf course manager, you'll be responsible for the business operations, administration, staffing and maintenance of golf courses. Another part of your job will include overseeing golf programs and helping to organize golf events. You may also serve as a sales manager involved in marketing and merchandising your facility. This job requires a keen understanding of the sport of golf. Some outdoors work may be required to oversee maintenance and turfgrass management activities.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Varies; employers may require an associate's or a bachelor's degree
Degree Field Varies; related field such as turf or business management
Certification Certification is optional
Experience Varies; related experience in golf course maintenance, hospitality management or other business-related activities preferred
Key Skills Strong skills in time management, customer service and communication; ability to lead and train employees; understanding of equipment and various products related to golf course operations
Salary (2015) $40,659 (median for golf club managers)

Sources: Job postings from 2012-2015,

Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor's Degree

Individuals may want to pursue a professional bachelor's degree in golf course management to improve their opportunities for employment and advancement. This unique degree program is sanctioned by the Professional Golfers' Association of America and offered at only a few colleges. The program focuses on business operations and golf management. Courses include golf course and turf management, golf course architecture, recreation leadership and supervision and sports law. Admission requirements include students having a U.S. Golfing Association handicap of eight or lower.

Other degree options for aspiring golf course managers include a bachelor's degree in professional golf management or golf and turf management. These programs prepare individuals for management at golf facilities and businesses. Coursework focuses on strategic management, business operations, human resource management, quality control and organizational communications. Students may also pursue studies in horticulture and plant science. Associate's degree programs in golf complex operations and management are also available.

Success Tip:

  • Seek an internship. Students interested in golf course management may want to seek internships at golf courses, parks and recreation areas or with golf-related suppliers. This type of training provides experience with golf operations and turf management, and helps students build a network of industry contacts.

Step 2: Get Work Experience in Golf Course Operations

Individuals may want to seek entry-level employment in the golf industry to gain experience in golf course operations. The types of jobs available include grounds maintenance workers, technicians and mechanics. Employers expect candidates applying for management and operations positions to have experience in golf course operations or hospitality management, so this experience will boost an applicant's resume and assist in securing future golf course management positions.

Step 3: Seek Management Positions

Experienced golf course workers can advance to positions in golf course management and operations. In addition to the technical skills in turf management and business operations gained through education and entry-level jobs, managers must possess strong customer service and interpersonal skills, including the ability to communicate effectively with guests, coworkers and representatives from other agencies. Some positions require candidates to be able to teach golfing techniques, while other positions, including sales manager positions, do not have this requirement.

Success Tip:

  • Gain professional certification. Current golf course managers may want to pursue a professional certification to demonstrate their knowledge and skills and to seek opportunities for continuing education. The U.S. Golf Managers Association offers a Certified Golf Club Manager credential through a home study program. The Club Managers Association of America offers two certifications for managers of membership clubs, including golf facilities.
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