Golf Course Maintenance Jobs: Options and Requirements

Sep 26, 2019

If you've got a green thumb and a head for machinery, you might be well-suited to a job in golf course maintenance. Training is hands-on with no degree required, although you may need to pass a licensing exam in order to work with pesticides. Advancement to superintendent does require further education as well as experience.

Essential Information

Golf course maintenance workers are often referred to as groundskeepers or greenskeepers. Individuals are trained on-the-job and have no specific education requirements. Workers should possess mechanical skills and be willing to work in various weather conditions.

Required Education On-the-job training
Certification/Licensure Many states require certification or licensure if applying pesticides
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 9% for landscaping and groundskeeping workers*
Median Salary (2018) $29,000 annually for landscaping and groundskeeping workers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Golf Course Maintenance Job Options

Individuals wishing to pursue a career in golf course maintenance are expected to keep the turf manicured, watered and seeded as well as free from leaves and other debris. They are also responsible for caring for sand traps, roughs and fairways, ensuring that they are in keeping with the standards of the institution.

Maintenance workers need to be familiar with the tools and equipment necessary to do the job correctly. They should have the mechanical ability to perform basic repair on the turf management equipment. Golf course maintenance jobs are often part-time due to the seasonal nature of the sport.

Advancement Opportunities

Golf course maintenance workers may have the opportunity to advance to the role of golf course superintendent. A superintendent oversees the maintenance of the grounds, deals with annual budgets and manages the costs of the department. Golf course superintendents schedule and supervise the workers in their department.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) places golf course maintenance workers within the larger category of landscaping and groundskeeping workers. The BLS expected all landscaping and groundskeeping workers to see an increase as fast as the average in employment between 2018 and 2028. In May 2018, the BLS reported that workers in the 90th percentile or higher earned $44,670 or more per year, whereas the bottom 10th percentile earned $20,760 or less per year.

Golf Course Maintenance Job Requirements


Individuals wishing to pursue a career in golf course maintenance generally do not need to meet any education requirements. However, an employer may require a high school diploma or GED certificate or the completion of a special training course prior to employment. These courses often include topics in horticulture, arboriculture, landscape design and pesticide use and safety procedures.

Superintendents are expected to have a 2-year or 4-year degree in a related field. They may also be required to have a certain number of years of experience on a golf course or in the field of turf grass.

Certification or Licensure

Many states require groundkeepers to obtain certification or licensure if they will be applying pesticides. Acquiring the certificate usually requires candidates to pass a test that proves they understand the proper procedure for using and disposing of fungicides, herbicides and insecticides. The more education an individual has, the more likely they will be eligible for a promotion.

As a golf course maintenance worker, you'll be responsible for keeping the course looking neat and tidy, as well as fixing minor mechanical equipment problems. Your employer will train you and may require you to get a license to work with pesticides. If you have or can obtain a degree, you could earn a promotion to superintendent after you've gained some experience on the job.

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