kahn golf

Planning a Career in Golf?

IT'S 2013. by Mike Kahn

The Industry Needs you ... but do you need it?

This article may sound like I'm trying to discourage you from a golf management career. Well, I am if you are not 100% prepared for this kind of life - it is a life.

I think I wrote this more than 10-years ago, so the part about salaries has gone up some. In fact, I'm seeing assistant managers at $40,000 and full GMs from $75,000 to over $125,000. What I don't go into detail about is how you handle your bosses - yes, you need to know how to handle your bosses, whether it's a board of directors, a corporation or individuals.

I say 'handle' your bosses, because they will make some of the dumbest decisions imaginable. Decisions you have to implement - sometimes knowing they will fail! Worse yet, the failures show up on your resume.

Please feel free to call me: 941-739-3990. It won't cost you anything and you'll find me very friendly and supportive.


If I can be of any help starting you in the right direction, write me at: mike@golfmak.com.

Most people like the thought of working at the golf club, because they love the game of golf. The problem is -- once they're in the business, they get to play less than they did when they were in their old profession. I used to tell my young managers to store their golf clubs in the attic and throw away their watches. "You won't need your golf clubs, and there's only two times you need to remember - light and dark! You work when its light. You sleep when its dark!"

I recommend giving serious thought to changing careers to get into golf course management (employment) -- especially if you have a good position now. Sure, running a golf course involves implementing the simplest business practices imaginable, but it's an extremely tedious and time-consuming job. Remember too, that a golf course operator must be an all-in-one person: marketer, merchandiser, food service person, superintendent, personnel manager, administrator -- plus have all that knowledge of the game of golf. Heck, a doctor just has to pay attention to the human body. A Golf Club Manager has to be a farmer, arbitrator, restaurateur, store clerk, purchasing agent, golf equipment expert, teacher, and personnel manager, plus it helps to be able to break 80 once-in-a-while!

A golf career can be tough on family life, because you often work odd hours -- especially weekends. Life at home gets 'testy' when you announce that you have to miss your child's concert to mind a golf event at the club.

I can tell you this, "Golf Course managers get fired as often as coaches." If you measured security on a scale of one-to-ten, give the club manager a 'one' only! That's because golf club managers have the impossible task of pleasing all the people all the time. The pay is not all that great either. Some managers make lass than $30 Gs, very few can make over $100. The problem in the early stages of a club manager's career is the poverty during the learning process -- often less than $20,000 annually (plus the free golf).

However, if you still think you want to be in golf, this business desperately needs competent management people (though many won't admit it). To start your own diligence, the first thing you should do is interview golf course managers around your town. See how they like their jobs. Find out how they obtained their position, and how long they've been there. Find out how many times they have changed clubs.

So, to summarize: If you've got thick skin, can live with no fixed address, can live for a while (like on welfare), and don't mind working Sundays, I believe the golf business needs you. And, by the way, if you want the respect of the members of your club, like I said, "You better be able to break 80!" Wait! I take that back. Some of the best GMs I know can't break 90! Know the game, yes. A good GM needs to know how to run the place. Scratch golf is not important for the survival of a golf course.

If you still want to give it a try, you can get information about many career areas in golf by contacting the National Golf Foundation.

National Golf Foundation (NGF), 1150 South US Hwy. 1, Jupiter, FL 33477, (800) 733-6006, (561) 744-6006, Fax: (561) 744-6107, www.ngf.org, Email: ngf@ngf.org.

If I can be of any help starting you in the right direction, write me at: mike@golfmak.com.