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Golf Course Management: Diploma Program Summary

Oct 08, 2019

Golf course management diploma programs provide training in turfgrass maintenance, golf course construction and soil and plant science to prepare students for maintenance or management careers with golf courses and pro shops.

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Essential Information

Some golf course management diploma programs focus entirely on turf management, while others offer training in management of golf operations and golf outlet operations, such as pro shops or retail stores. Other common areas of discussion include professional selling and employee relations. Many managers go on to earn an undergraduate degree or gain certifications to stand out.

Prerequisites for these one-year programs include a high school diploma or equivalent, and SAT or ACT scores may be required. Students might also need to complete basic courses in English, math and personal relationships before beginning their golf course management studies.


Diploma in Golf Course Management

Courses include all aspects of turf installation and maintenance. Some diploma programs include subjects necessary for working in a golf shop or as a golf professional. Courses may include:

  • Pest and weed control
  • Irrigation techniques
  • Course design and construction
  • Spanish for the horticulture industry
  • Golf cart maintenance
  • Marketing and sales techniques

Popular Career Options

A diploma in golf course management equips graduates for a variety of careers, including hands-on maintenance of the course as well as club management or selling equipment in a retail store. Potential careers include:

  • Golf course superintendent
  • Golf cart fleet maintenance
  • Turf products sales
  • Recreational facility manager
  • Pro shop manager

Continuing Education and Professional Certification

Golf course managers who want to increase their earnings may return to school for an associate's or bachelor's degree. A chart prepared by the Professional Golf Turf Management School at Rutgers University for 2019 shows superintendents who held a 1-year diploma or certificate had an average annual salary of $78,018, while those with an associate's degree averaged $88,815; superintendents with bachelor's degrees earned an average salary of $97,449.

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) offers certification to golf course superintendents who meet the requirements. To earn the Certified Golf Course Superintendent designation, superintendents must meet experience requirements and pass a multiple-choice examination. As a final step in the process, the golf course managed by the candidate must pass an assessment by two certified golf course superintendents.

Graduates who complete golf course management diploma programs are prepared to enter the industry as pro shop managers, course superintendents and facility managers. These one-year programs can be supplemented with further training at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels to increase job prospects and earning potential.

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