Golf Course Management Degrees by Degree Program Level

Golf course management degree programs at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels cover much of the same coursework, including ground safety, turf care and marketing. Some programs may allow for practical experience gained through internships.

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Essential Information

A golf course management associate degree program teaches students about management concepts and care of golf course turf. A bachelor's degree program related to golf course management enables students to learn about turfgrass, management techniques and the inner workings of the golf industry. Both program levels require a high school diploma for admissions consideration. Graduates might work in golf course management or in golf sales or turf maintenance.

Associate of Applied Science in Golf Course Management

Students in the associate program learn how to keep a golf course in top shape for playing while also learning skills for managing employees and handling the business aspects of a golf course management job. Students may also learn about soil science, water management and maintenance equipment. Courses in this program generally cover aspects of general management, turf maintenance, and business. Students also generally complete some general education courses in areas like psychology, algebra, compositions, or economics. Business-related core courses may include topics such as accounting and marketing. Core courses in golf-related topics may cover:

  • Horticulture
  • Golf shop operations
  • Club repair
  • Cart management
  • Pest management
  • Turf diseases

Bachelor's Degree in Golf Course Management

Students at the bachelor's level are taught how to maintain golf course turf, manage employees and facilities, keep a course fit for playing, and ensure customer satisfaction. Graduates are prepared to handle turfgrass problems, keep pests under control, maintain quality customer service, and manage the business of a golf course. Individuals in this program also learn about the game of golf and may gain the ability to teach players how to play.

The curriculum of a golf course management program covers management, marketing, turf maintenance, professionalism, and golf techniques. Programs may also include an internship that allows students to work on a golf course to further develop the skills learned in the classroom. Courses cover topics in all these areas, as well as topics in:

  • Entomology
  • Botany
  • Golf swing techniques
  • Landscape irrigation
  • Facility safety
  • Golf club repair

Popular Career Options

Graduates of a golf course management program may work for golf courses, athletic clubs, parks, or municipalities. Programs provide students with the foundation to work toward advanced positions as golf course superintendents. Students may find entry-level jobs as a:

  • Turf technician
  • Assistant turf manager
  • Equipment salesperson
  • Grounds supervisor

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

O*Net Online categorizes golf course superintendents within the category of first-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeping workers. In January 2016, reported that most general managers in golf course jobs earned a median $57,872 annually.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Although a graduate degree is not required for a career in golf course management, relevant master's degree programs are available. For instance, a master's degree in turfgrass management program includes classes in advance turfgrass technology and prepares students for Certified Golf Course Superintendent certification. This certification is available from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and requires applicants to submit a portfolio of their work and pass an exam.

Both associate's and bachelor's degrees in golf course management provide students with the training needed to enter the industry as turf technicians and managers, grounds supervisors and superintendents. Graduates can go on to receive their master's degree or work towards voluntary certifications to increase their knowledge and improve their career outlook.

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