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Jobs in Golf: Golf Facility Management

Sep 30, 2014

This is the fifth post in a series exploring professional paths in the golf industry. Fred Barr, Director of Career Services at Golf Academy of America in Phoenix, is a special guest contributor.

As a golf facility manager, one of the primary responsibilities is to keep your team of employees focused on the things that are important and help them become better than average.

Professional golf facility managers should plan to:

  • Focus on customer/co-worker satisfaction, efficiency, profitability and growth, both personally and in business.
  • Set clear expectations with co-workers about their responsibility to anticipate and resolve member/guest concerns.
  • Observe that all staff maintain and embrace a level of personal appearance that represents professionalism.

Critical skills for a good golf course manager include areas of communication, team building, business expertise, time and task management, decision-making, and the ability to motivate team members. A command of the operational and administration skills necessary to operate a golf facility is a plus.

How to Pursue a Job as a Golf Facility Manager
There are two main paths to pursuing a career in golf facility management: as a General Manager (GM) or through a management company. The GM has an all-encompassing responsibility for clubs that are municipal, equity-owned or individually operated as a daily fee . The GM will commonly work with the board of directors, department heads and golf professionals and have autonomy for decisions and directions for the club.

Working with a golf management company, on the other hand, can either provide selected services on the course or retain total management control of the golf course operations.

When total management is outsourced, the company provides full-service management, marketing and consultations with the course owners to operate a successful golf facility. In this scenario, the GM is responsible to the company and works with the company's management team in optimizing costs, attaining efficiency,, maintaining quality course conditions, employing successful marketing campaigns, proposing community outreach programs, all while recommending capital improvements to maintain the value of the course and its assets. When employed by a management company, the GM is provided with subject matter experts (Regional Directors) and company resources.

The bottom-line: As a golf facility manager, you are to uphold and enforce the policies and procedures of the club, safeguard its resources and represent the club with the highest level of professionalism and integrity.

Hiring for Other Golf Jobs
Hiring is also a major part of the facility manager's responsibilities. The key to balancing these business and life demands is hiring smart and hard to ensure you have the right person with the right skillset for your club positions. Hire easy, you will have to manage hard. Hire hard, you will be able to manage easy and enjoy your work and family. The lifestyle must be professional, free and easy with a focus on creating a club culture of "exceptional service" delivered to co-workers, members, guest and everyone within the club community.

A four-year degree in Hospitality, Business Management or Accounting will support operational and business success. A two-year degree at a golf college, such as the Golf Academy of America, will focus on golf and all golf-related skills for operations.

Professional development provides the ability to enhance one's career and inspire personal growth. Special certifications from PGA include Management, Teaching, and Tournament Operations. The Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) offers Certification in Club Management. Other affiliations include the Educational Institute of the American Hotel & Motel Association, American Management Association and National Club Association to name a few.

At the end of the day, excellent golf facility management is vital to growth of the game and the golf industry. Good facility management will communicate a passion for people, growing the game, the team, the organization. He or she will seek continuous improvement of programs and better solutions to growing the game and commit to creativity in building your business. Create activity, activity, more activity! Activity drives business, business drives revenue and revenue justifies expenses. Creative revenue and smart expenses fortify a healthy bottom line.

Learn more about starting your career as a golf facility manager at the Golf Academy of America.