Golf Course Maintenance Jobs

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in golf course maintenance. Read on to learn more about career options along with job duties, salary and training information. Schools offering Landscape Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Golf Course Maintenance Worker?

Golf course maintenance workers maintain the condition of golf courses, including the greens and the surrounding landscaping. It is possible to get a job as an entry-level worker or a golf course maintenance superintendent. Entry-level workers perform basic functions, like mowing and fertilizing the grass. They may also maintain the quality of water features and sand traps. These workers typically report to the superintendent, who is responsible for ensuring that all aspects of the course are sufficiently maintained and ready for players on a daily basis.

The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Golf Course Maintenance Worker Golf Course Maintenance Superintendent
Education Required Certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree helpful Associate's degree or bachelor's degree helpful
Education Field of Study Horticulture; turf science Agronomy
Key Responsibilities Prune and shape plants within golf course; fertilize and irrigate fairways, greens Schedule workers; prepare reports; oversee employees
Licensure and/or Certification Pesticide application license required by some states Certified Golf Course Superintendent credential offered
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6%* (all ground maintenance workers) 5-8%* (first line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service and groundskeeping workers)
Average Salary (2015) $27,460* $85,204**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Golf Course Superintendents Association of America

What Are Golf-Course Maintenance Job Duties?

As a golf-course maintenance worker, you shape the grass, plants and trees that are part of a golf course. You make sure that all greens are trimmed and free of leaves. You are responsible for keeping fringes, flags, cups, fairways, rough, yardage markers, tee boxes, sand traps, sprinkler systems and golf carts in good condition. You irrigate and aerate your course, spray and mix chemicals and deal with golfer complaints.

Depending on the maintenance position, you may work with and repair equipment used at your golf course. Upper-level posts may involve completing paperwork, directing subordinates and maintaining your course's overall look, feel and prestige.

What Are the Requirements?

Golf-course maintenance jobs often have no educational requirement, although a degree in horticulture, turf science or landscape design may be helpful. You could gain experience in horticulture by becoming a golf-course maintenance intern while enrolled in a degree program. If you want to work year-round, you need a valid driver's license and some experience. Additionally, some states mandate a license to apply pesticides and may require another license to irrigate.

What Skills Will I Need?

As a golf-course maintenance worker, you need to be able to work both alone and under supervision. You also need to be good with your hands and pay attention to details. Proficient levels of oral and written understanding are necessary as well. Advanced golf-course maintenance positions require leadership, business and organizational skills for creating reports, making schedules and efficiently assigning tasks. Comfort with quick mathematical calculations, knowledge of safety practices and interpersonal skills are often demanded of the top golf-course maintenance workers.

How Do I Advance?

Experience is often the best way to advance as a golf-course maintenance worker. Having seniority may help you get promoted to assistant superintendent of the course. To become a course superintendent, it helps to have an associate's or bachelor's degree in agronomy or a related field. Once you are a superintendent, becoming a Certified Golf Course Superintendent (CGCS) may be a valuable credential. If you choose to become a CGCS, you must have your golf course attested and have at least 3-7 years of superintendent experience, depending upon your educational background.

What Salary Expectations Could I Have?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most landscaping and grounds-keeping workers, which include entry-level golf-course maintenance workers, made between $18,460 and $39,520 annually in 2015, with the average salary falling around $27,460 (www.bls.gov). Additionally, according to the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, golf course superintendents made $85,204 on average in 2015, with those holding a CGCS certificate earning an average of $103,993 (www.gcsaa.org).

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Instead of a job as a golf course maintenance worker, you could consider becoming a grounds maintenance worker in a different setting. For instance, you could work on a university campus, where you might maintain plants and trees on a quad, keep sidewalks clear of leaves and/or mow athletic fields. No educational credential is required for this position. Alternatively, if you are passionate about golf, you could consider becoming a golf instructor. In this job, you would teach group classes or offer personal training for clients who want to improve their golf game. The minimum educational requirement for most fitness instructors is a high school diploma, but it can be helpful to have professional certifications.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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