The Optimal Staffing Requirements for Running a Successful Golf Course

Golf courses are a beloved destination for avid golfers and nature enthusiasts alike. However, running a golf course is no easy feat. From maintaining the greens to ensuring player safety, a golf course requires a dedicated team of professionals to keep it running smoothly. But just how many people does it take to run a golf course? In this article, we will explore the optimal staffing requirements for running a successful golf course. From groundskeepers to pro shop attendants, we will dive into the various roles that make up the golf course team and the skills required to excel in each position. Whether you’re a seasoned golf course manager or just curious about the inner workings of a golf course, this article is sure to provide valuable insights into the world of golf course operations.

Determining the Necessary Staff Positions

Golf Course Manager

The Golf Course Manager (GCM) is a crucial figure in the smooth operation of a golf course. They oversee all aspects of the facility, ensuring that the course is well-maintained, and the staff is performing optimally.


The GCM is responsible for the following tasks:

  • Financial Management: The GCM manages the budget, including payroll, equipment purchases, and maintenance expenses. They also ensure that the golf course generates enough revenue to cover its expenses and maintain profitability.
  • Staff Management: The GCM is responsible for hiring, training, and managing the staff, including supervisors, golf course superintendents, and support staff. They set performance goals, evaluate employee performance, and handle employee conflicts.
  • Maintenance and Repairs: The GCM oversees the maintenance and repair of the golf course infrastructure, including irrigation systems, greens, fairways, and bunkers. They work closely with the golf course superintendent to ensure that the course is always in top condition.
  • Customer Service: The GCM is responsible for maintaining positive relationships with golf course members, guests, and other stakeholders. They address customer complaints, handle special requests, and work to improve the overall customer experience.


To be a successful GCM, one should possess the following qualifications:

  • Golf Course Management Degree: A degree in golf course management or a related field is preferred, although not always required.
  • Golf Course Experience: Previous experience working in a golf course or a related field is essential. The GCM should have a deep understanding of golf course maintenance, equipment, and operations.
  • Leadership Skills: The GCM must be an effective leader who can motivate and manage staff, communicate with stakeholders, and make difficult decisions.
  • Business Acumen: The GCM should have a strong understanding of finance, budgeting, and business operations. They should be able to analyze financial data, make informed decisions, and develop strategies to improve profitability.
  • Customer Service Skills: The GCM should be an excellent communicator and have a customer-focused mindset. They should be able to anticipate and address customer needs and concerns, ensuring that the golf course is providing an exceptional experience for all visitors.

Course Superintendent


As the head of the maintenance team, the course superintendent is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the golf course. This includes managing the staff, developing and implementing maintenance schedules, and ensuring that the course is in top condition for play. The superintendent is also responsible for maintaining equipment, ordering supplies, and managing the budget for the maintenance department.


To be considered for a position as a course superintendent, candidates typically need a degree in turf management, horticulture, or a related field. It is also important for candidates to have several years of experience working in the golf industry, with a strong understanding of turf maintenance, irrigation systems, and pest management. Strong leadership and communication skills are also essential, as the superintendent will be responsible for managing a team of staff members.

Golf Course Architect

A golf course architect is responsible for designing and planning the layout of the golf course. This includes determining the placement of holes, deciding on the length and difficulty of each hole, and considering factors such as terrain, water hazards, and vegetation. The architect must also ensure that the course meets any necessary regulations and safety standards.

To become a golf course architect, one typically needs a degree in landscape architecture, architecture, or a related field. Some architects may also have experience working as a golf course superintendent or in the golf industry. In addition, a strong understanding of golf strategy and player psychology is essential, as well as the ability to work collaboratively with other professionals such as engineers, surveyors, and construction managers.

Golf Instructor

A golf instructor plays a vital role in the day-to-day operations of a golf course. They are responsible for providing expert guidance and instruction to golfers of all skill levels, from beginners to advanced players. Their primary responsibilities include:

  • Conducting group and individual golf lessons
  • Evaluating and assessing golfers’ swings and techniques
  • Providing personalized advice and feedback to improve golf skills
  • Maintaining a safe and enjoyable environment for golfers
  • Ensuring that golfers adhere to the rules and etiquette of the game

To be a successful golf instructor, one must possess a deep understanding of the game, excellent communication skills, and the ability to teach effectively. A typical golf instructor should have the following qualifications:

  • Excellent knowledge of golf rules, techniques, and strategies
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to evaluate and assess golfers’ swings and techniques
  • Experience in teaching golf to players of all skill levels
  • Certification or accreditation from a recognized golf association or organization
  • First aid and CPR certification
  • Familiarity with golf course maintenance and safety procedures

In addition to these qualifications, a golf instructor should also possess excellent physical stamina, as they may be required to spend long hours on their feet, demonstrating swings and techniques to students. They should also be able to work well under pressure and be adaptable to changing schedules and conditions.

Greens Keeper

A greens keeper is a critical position on a golf course as they are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the putting greens. Their duties include:

  • Mowing and trimming the grass on the greens to ensure a consistent putting surface
  • Aerating and fertilizing the greens to promote healthy growth
  • Repairing any damage to the greens, such as ball marks and divots
  • Monitoring the moisture levels of the greens and taking appropriate action to maintain proper playing conditions
  • Using equipment such as mowers, aerators, and sanders to perform their duties

To be successful in this role, a greens keeper should have:

  • Knowledge of turf management and grass varieties
  • Experience with golf course maintenance equipment
  • Strong attention to detail and ability to spot issues on the greens
  • Physical stamina to perform manual labor for extended periods of time
  • Ability to work well in a team environment and follow instructions from supervisors

In summary, the greens keeper is a vital position on a golf course as they are responsible for maintaining the quality and playability of the putting greens. They require a combination of technical knowledge, physical ability, and strong teamwork skills to excel in this role.

Pro Shop Manager

As the face of the golf course’s retail operations, the Pro Shop Manager is responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the golf shop, ensuring a positive customer experience, and managing inventory and merchandising. Some of the key responsibilities of a Pro Shop Manager include:

  • Managing and training staff members
  • Maintaining and updating inventory records
  • Ordering and receiving merchandise
  • Setting up and maintaining attractive and well-organized displays
  • Providing exceptional customer service
  • Managing and executing promotions and sales
  • Maintaining the overall appearance and cleanliness of the golf shop

To be considered for a Pro Shop Manager position, candidates should possess a combination of education, experience, and skills. A typical Pro Shop Manager candidate will have:

  • A degree in business, marketing, or a related field
  • Minimum of 3-5 years of experience in retail management, preferably in the golf industry
  • Strong knowledge of golf equipment and apparel
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Experience managing and training staff members
  • Ability to multi-task and prioritize tasks
  • Strong organizational and analytical skills
  • Experience with inventory management and point-of-sale systems
  • A valid driver’s license and the ability to lift up to 50 pounds

Overall, the Pro Shop Manager plays a crucial role in the success of a golf course’s retail operations. They are responsible for ensuring that the golf shop is well-stocked, well-staffed, and providing an exceptional customer experience. A qualified Pro Shop Manager will have a combination of education, experience, and skills that make them well-suited to manage the day-to-day operations of the golf shop.

Food and Beverage Manager

The Food and Beverage Manager (FBM) is a critical position within a golf course, responsible for overseeing all aspects of food and beverage service. The FBM is responsible for ensuring that the food and beverage operations are running smoothly, efficiently, and profitably. This includes managing staff, ordering supplies, creating menus, and implementing marketing strategies to increase sales. The FBM is also responsible for maintaining the quality of the food and beverage offerings, ensuring that they meet the expectations of the golf course’s customers.

To be a successful Food and Beverage Manager, an individual must possess a range of skills and qualifications. A degree in hospitality, culinary arts, or a related field is typically required, as well as several years of experience in the food and beverage industry. The FBM should have excellent communication and leadership skills, as well as the ability to manage multiple tasks and priorities simultaneously. Knowledge of inventory management, budgeting, and financial reporting is also essential. Additionally, the FBM should have a strong understanding of customer service and be able to create a positive and welcoming atmosphere for guests.

Grounds Maintenance Staff

Grounds maintenance staff are responsible for ensuring that the golf course is well-maintained and presents a visually appealing appearance to golfers. They perform a variety of tasks such as mowing, trimming, and edging the fairways, greens, and roughs. In addition, they are responsible for maintaining the health and appearance of the golf course’s vegetation, including trees, shrubs, and flowers.

To be qualified for this position, candidates should have a good understanding of turf management and possess knowledge of various turfgrass species. They should also have experience in using grounds maintenance equipment such as mowers, trimmers, and tractors. Moreover, it is essential for candidates to have strong communication and teamwork skills, as they will be working closely with other staff members.

It is crucial to note that the size of the grounds maintenance staff will depend on the size of the golf course. A larger golf course will require more staff members to maintain the course’s appearance and playability. Therefore, golf course owners and managers must assess the size of their golf course and determine the appropriate number of grounds maintenance staff required to keep the course in top condition.

Factors to Consider When Hiring Staff

Key takeaway: The successful operation of a golf course requires a well-rounded team with a combination of technical and interpersonal skills. It is important to consider factors beyond just experience and qualifications, such as training and development opportunities, personality traits, and the ability to work well in a team environment. A diverse and inclusive workplace can lead to increased employee satisfaction, improved customer service, and a stronger bottom line. To maintain a positive work environment, it is essential to address unconscious bias, provide opportunities for professional growth, offer flexible scheduling, and establish clear performance metrics and evaluation criteria. Implementing effective conflict resolution strategies, such as open communication channels and a zero-tolerance policy for harassment and discrimination, can also contribute to a positive work environment. Finally, ensuring work-life balance and adhering to safety protocols, such as OSHA regulations and implementation of safety procedures specific to the golf course environment, can further enhance employee satisfaction and create a safe and healthy work environment.


When hiring staff for a golf course, it is important to consider their experience in the industry. Golf industry experience is highly valued as it shows that the individual has a good understanding of the game and the business. They are familiar with the standards of the golf course and can provide a high level of service to the customers.

Related field experience is also important as it shows that the individual has experience in a related field such as hospitality or customer service. This type of experience can be beneficial as it can bring a new perspective to the golf course and help to improve the overall customer experience.

It is important to note that experience alone does not guarantee success. Other factors such as attitude, work ethic, and communication skills should also be considered when hiring staff for a golf course. A well-rounded team with a combination of experience and other valuable skills is likely to lead to a successful golf course operation.


When it comes to hiring staff for a golf course, there are several key skills that are essential for running a successful operation. These skills include both technical skills and interpersonal skills.

Technical Skills

Technical skills refer to the specific knowledge and abilities required to perform a particular job. In the case of a golf course, technical skills may include:

  • Golf course maintenance: This includes knowledge of turf management, irrigation systems, and pest control.
  • Golf course design: Understanding the layout of the course and how to maintain it to ensure optimal playability.
  • Equipment operation: Ability to operate and maintain golf course equipment such as mowers, tractors, and other machinery.

Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills refer to the ability to interact effectively with others. In the context of a golf course, interpersonal skills may include:

  • Customer service: Ability to provide excellent customer service to golfers, including answering questions, addressing concerns, and resolving conflicts.
  • Communication: Strong communication skills are essential for coordinating with other staff members, managing conflicts, and ensuring that everyone is working together effectively.
  • Leadership: The ability to lead and motivate a team is essential for ensuring that everyone is working together effectively to achieve the goals of the golf course.

Overall, having a staff with a combination of technical and interpersonal skills is essential for running a successful golf course. Technical skills ensure that the course is well-maintained and plays optimally, while interpersonal skills ensure that customers are satisfied and that the staff works effectively together as a team.

Personality Traits

When hiring staff for a golf course, it is important to consider their personality traits as they play a crucial role in ensuring the smooth operation of the course. The following are some of the personality traits that should be evaluated during the hiring process:

Work Ethic

A strong work ethic is essential for any employee working in the golf industry. Staff members should be willing to work long hours, especially during peak seasons, and be able to handle physically demanding tasks. They should also be committed to providing excellent customer service and maintaining the high standards of the golf course. A good way to evaluate work ethic is to ask for references and contact former employers to inquire about the candidate’s work habits and attitude.

Communication Skills

Effective communication is crucial in the golf industry as it involves dealing with customers, colleagues, and suppliers. Staff members should have excellent verbal and written communication skills and be able to convey information clearly and concisely. They should also be good listeners and able to understand the needs of customers and respond appropriately. It is important to evaluate communication skills during the interview process by asking candidates to give examples of how they have communicated effectively in previous roles.

Training and Development

  • On-the-job training
    • Job shadowing
    • Cross-training
    • Mentoring
  • Industry certifications
    • PGA certification
    • Turfgrass management certification
    • Food and beverage certification

When it comes to hiring staff for a golf course, it is important to consider factors beyond just experience and qualifications. Training and development opportunities can play a crucial role in ensuring that employees are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to provide a high level of service to customers.

On-the-job training is a crucial aspect of employee development. This type of training involves providing employees with hands-on experience and guidance as they perform their job duties. Job shadowing, where a new employee follows and observes a more experienced employee, is a common method of on-the-job training. Cross-training, where employees learn to perform a variety of job duties, can also be an effective way to ensure that employees are prepared to handle any situation that may arise.

In addition to on-the-job training, mentoring can be a valuable tool for employee development. Mentoring involves pairing new employees with more experienced employees who can provide guidance and support as they navigate their new role. This type of training can help new employees feel more confident and supported as they learn the ropes.

Industry certifications can also be an important aspect of employee training and development. Certifications such as the PGA certification, turfgrass management certification, and food and beverage certification can demonstrate to customers that employees have a high level of expertise in their field. In addition, these certifications can help employees advance in their careers and increase their earning potential.

Overall, training and development opportunities are crucial for ensuring that employees are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to provide a high level of service to customers. By investing in employee training and development, golf courses can attract and retain top talent, improve customer satisfaction, and ultimately increase profitability.

Ensuring a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace

Recruitment Strategies

Recruiting a diverse workforce is essential for any golf course that wants to cater to a diverse range of customers. Here are some effective recruitment strategies that can help in attracting a diverse pool of candidates:

  • Outreach to diverse communities: Golf courses can reach out to diverse communities through partnerships with local organizations, schools, and community centers. This can help in creating awareness about job opportunities and encouraging people from diverse backgrounds to apply.
  • Job fairs and recruitment events: Participating in job fairs and recruitment events can be an effective way to attract a diverse pool of candidates. Golf courses can showcase their culture and values, and provide information about job opportunities and career growth.
  • Online job postings: Posting job openings on diverse job boards and websites can help in reaching a wider audience. Golf courses can also use social media platforms to promote job opportunities and engage with potential candidates.
  • Employee referrals: Encouraging current employees to refer their friends and family members can be an effective way to attract diverse candidates. Golf courses can offer incentives for successful referrals and create a referral program to encourage employee participation.
  • Diversity-focused recruitment agencies: Golf courses can work with recruitment agencies that specialize in diversity and inclusion. These agencies can help in identifying and attracting diverse candidates who may not have considered a career in the golf industry otherwise.

By implementing these recruitment strategies, golf courses can attract a diverse pool of candidates and build a workforce that reflects the diversity of their customer base. This can help in creating a positive work environment and enhancing the overall customer experience.

Retention Strategies

In order to retain top talent, golf course management must implement effective retention strategies. These strategies are designed to not only keep employees satisfied, but also to promote a positive work environment that encourages growth and development. Some of the most effective retention strategies include:

  • Employee recognition programs: A well-designed employee recognition program can go a long way in retaining employees. These programs can include anything from employee of the month awards to more formal recognition ceremonies. By recognizing employees for their hard work and dedication, management can show them that their efforts are appreciated and valued.
  • Flexible scheduling: Many employees value the ability to have a flexible work schedule. This can include options such as working from home, flexible start and end times, or the ability to work part-time. By offering flexible scheduling options, management can show employees that they are committed to meeting their needs and helping them achieve a work-life balance.

Additionally, offering opportunities for professional development and career advancement can also be effective retention strategies. By investing in the growth and development of their employees, management can demonstrate their commitment to their long-term success and satisfaction.

Addressing Unconscious Bias

Addressing unconscious bias is an essential aspect of creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. Unconscious bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that we hold unconsciously, which can influence our perceptions, decisions, and actions. These biases can affect the hiring process, promotions, and other aspects of the workplace, leading to a lack of diversity and inclusion.

To address unconscious bias, it is crucial to provide training on diversity and inclusion to all employees. This training should educate employees on the various types of biases, including those based on race, gender, age, and other factors. It should also teach employees how to recognize and overcome these biases in the workplace.

In addition to training, implementing blind hiring practices can also help address unconscious bias. Blind hiring involves removing identifying information from job applications, such as names, addresses, and contact information, to prevent hiring managers from making decisions based on unconscious biases. This practice can help ensure that job candidates are evaluated based on their qualifications and skills rather than their personal characteristics.

Other strategies to address unconscious bias include:

  • Creating a diverse hiring panel to reduce the impact of individual biases
  • Providing guidelines for interview questions to avoid questions that may be biased
  • Establishing clear performance metrics and evaluation criteria to ensure fairness in promotions and other decisions

By addressing unconscious bias, golf courses can create a more diverse and inclusive workplace, which can lead to increased employee satisfaction, improved customer service, and a stronger bottom line.

Maintaining a Positive Work Environment

Employee Satisfaction

Importance of Employee Satisfaction

Employee satisfaction is crucial for the success of a golf course. When employees are satisfied with their jobs, they are more likely to be committed to their work, have a positive attitude, and provide high-quality service to customers. This, in turn, can lead to increased customer satisfaction, repeat business, and positive word-of-mouth recommendations.

Factors Contributing to Employee Satisfaction

There are several factors that contribute to employee satisfaction, including:

  • Competitive compensation and benefits: Golf course employees should be compensated fairly for their work, and their benefits should be competitive with other similar employers in the area. This includes not only base pay but also tips, bonuses, health insurance, retirement plans, and other perks.
  • Opportunities for professional growth: Employees should have opportunities to learn new skills, take on new responsibilities, and advance in their careers. This can include training programs, mentoring, and leadership development opportunities.
  • Positive work environment: Employees should work in a positive, supportive, and respectful environment. This includes a culture of open communication, constructive feedback, and recognition for a job well done.
  • Flexible scheduling: Employees should be able to work reasonable hours and have some control over their schedules. This can help them balance work and personal responsibilities and reduce stress.
  • Respect and recognition: Employees should be treated with respect and recognition for their contributions to the organization. This includes being listened to, valued for their ideas, and appreciated for their hard work.

By addressing these factors, golf course managers can improve employee satisfaction and create a positive work environment that supports the success of the organization.

Conflict Resolution

When it comes to running a successful golf course, it is important to create a positive work environment for employees. This includes implementing effective conflict resolution strategies to prevent disagreements from escalating and negatively impacting the course’s operations.

Open Communication Channels

One key aspect of conflict resolution is ensuring that employees have open communication channels. This means creating an environment where employees feel comfortable discussing issues and concerns with management. This can be achieved through regular meetings, employee feedback surveys, and an open-door policy. By encouraging open communication, management can address potential conflicts before they escalate and find solutions that work for everyone involved.

Establishing a Zero-Tolerance Policy for Harassment and Discrimination

Another important aspect of conflict resolution is establishing a zero-tolerance policy for harassment and discrimination. This includes creating a safe and respectful work environment where all employees feel valued and respected. Management should make it clear that any form of harassment or discrimination will not be tolerated and take immediate action to address any incidents that occur. This can include providing training for employees on how to recognize and report harassment and discrimination, as well as implementing a system for reporting and investigating incidents.

By implementing effective conflict resolution strategies, golf course management can create a positive work environment that fosters productivity, teamwork, and job satisfaction. This not only benefits employees, but also contributes to the overall success of the golf course.

Work-Life Balance

  • Flexible scheduling:
    • Offering part-time or flexible shifts can help employees balance their work and personal responsibilities, leading to increased job satisfaction and reduced turnover.
    • Consider allowing employees to swap shifts or work additional hours as needed, provided it does not negatively impact the course’s operations.
  • Employee wellness programs:
    • Implementing wellness initiatives can improve employee morale and productivity, as well as reduce absenteeism and overall healthcare costs.
    • Consider offering access to gym memberships, healthy snacks, or on-site fitness classes to promote a healthy work-life balance.
    • Encourage regular breaks and discourage extended periods of sitting or standing, as this can contribute to employee fatigue and burnout.
    • Provide opportunities for mental health support, such as employee assistance programs or access to counseling services, to help employees manage stress and maintain a positive work-life balance.

Safety Protocols

Adherence to OSHA Regulations

Golf courses must comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations to ensure a safe working environment for employees. These regulations cover a wide range of safety and health issues, including hazard communication, personal protective equipment, and training requirements.

For example, OSHA requires that employers provide employees with training on the safe use of chemical products, such as pesticides and fertilizers, that are commonly used on golf courses. Employers must also provide personal protective equipment, such as gloves and respirators, to protect employees from exposure to hazardous chemicals.

Implementation of Safety Procedures Specific to the Golf Course Environment

In addition to complying with OSHA regulations, golf courses must implement safety procedures specific to the golf course environment. These procedures may include:

  • Proper storage and handling of chemicals to prevent accidental exposure or release
  • Safe operation of equipment, such as mowers and tractors, to prevent accidents and injuries
  • Training on emergency procedures, such as evacuation and first aid, in case of an accident or emergency
  • Regular inspection and maintenance of equipment to ensure it is in safe working condition
  • Use of warning signs and barriers to protect employees and visitors from hazards, such as holes or rough terrain
  • Implementation of procedures for reporting and investigating accidents and incidents to prevent recurrence.

By implementing these safety protocols, golf courses can minimize the risk of accidents and injuries, and create a safe and healthy work environment for employees.


1. How many people does it take to run a golf course?

Running a golf course requires a diverse team of individuals with different skill sets to ensure its smooth operation. The number of people needed to run a golf course can vary depending on factors such as the size of the course, the number of holes, the season, and the level of service offered. Generally, a golf course can require anywhere from 20 to over 100 employees, including golf course managers, superintendents, greenskeepers, golf professionals, food and beverage staff, maintenance staff, and administrative personnel.

2. What are the different roles involved in running a golf course?

A golf course typically requires a diverse team of employees to manage various aspects of its operation. Some of the key roles involved in running a golf course include:
* Golf Course Manager: responsible for overseeing the overall operation of the golf course, including managing staff, budgets, and schedules.
* Superintendent: responsible for maintaining the golf course’s turf, irrigation systems, and other infrastructure.
* Greenskeepers: responsible for maintaining the condition of the golf course’s greens, fairways, and roughs.
* Golf Professionals: responsible for providing instruction and advice to golfers, as well as managing the golf shop and related services.
* Food and Beverage Staff: responsible for managing the golf course’s restaurant, bar, and other food and beverage services.
* Maintenance Staff: responsible for maintaining the golf course’s equipment, buildings, and other infrastructure.
* Administrative Personnel: responsible for managing the golf course’s finances, human resources, and other administrative tasks.

3. What are the challenges in staffing a golf course?

Staffing a golf course can be challenging due to various factors, including seasonality, fluctuating workloads, and the need for specialized skills. Golf courses may also face challenges in attracting and retaining qualified staff, particularly during peak seasons when demand for labor is high. Additionally, golf courses must balance the need for cost-effective staffing with the need for high-quality service, which can be a delicate balancing act.

4. How can golf courses optimize their staffing levels?

Golf courses can optimize their staffing levels by carefully analyzing their needs and adjusting their staffing levels accordingly. This may involve conducting regular audits of their operations to identify areas where they can streamline processes and reduce costs, as well as investing in technology and equipment that can help automate certain tasks. Golf courses can also benefit from leveraging the expertise of industry associations and consultants who can provide valuable insights into best practices for staffing and operations.

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