Jobs in Golf: Turf Management

Nov 18, 2014

This is the eighth post in a series exploring careers in the golf industry.

Golf ball at the edge of the green, next to sand.

Lush fairways and greens have become synonymous with the game of golf. If you’d prefer the great outdoors to an office, love the sport and have a green thumb, a career in turf management might be for you.

Developers sink millions into designing and building golf courses. It goes without saying that they place a great emphasis on the installation and maintenance of one of their property’s biggest commodities: grass.

How to Become a Turf Manager

Athletic fields, sports facilities, golf course construction firms and individual golf courses all hire professionals with turf expertise. According to Michael Flanagan, a PGA Instructor with the Golf Academy of America in San Diego, “Education can give you the skills and advantage you need to move your career forward.” He mentioned an Associate’s Degree in Turf Science and Management and a Bachelor’s in Turf Science would be an excellent start to a career managing greens.

“An individual should also know the rules of golf as they pertain to golf course set-up,” he said. On the job practical experience, certifications and being bilingual are a plus.

Candidates should be willing to work long hours, often arriving at dawn to get the course ready for the day. They are on call at night, when the irrigation system is running.

With these qualifications, there are a wide variety of jobs available within the field of turf management. Many courses employ a golf course superintendent, an equipment manager, a horticulturist, an irrigation specialist, a mechanic and various assistants to ensure their greens stay in top condition.

Setting Professional Standards

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) has worked since 1926 to set standards for all these positions and to raise the profile of turf management professionals. The organization can be a great resource for those seeking a career in this field.

At the end of the day, turf professionals “provide members and guests a great sense of pride in their course,” said Flanagan. After all, course conditions are a major factor in shaping a golfer’s view of a particular club, driving repeat business and referrals.

For more jobs in the golf industry, read: