The game of golf brings with it many beauties: sprawling greens, precise mechanics, a deep rooted history and dramatic finales. In a country where team sports like baseball, basketball and football dominate fans’ mindshare, golf is one of few solo games with an avid fan base and lucrative corporate sponsorships. In sports, popularity begets money, two of the top ten highest paid athletes in 2013, Tiger Woods (#1) and Phil Mickelson (#2), are professional golfers. People play golf as a hobby because, unlike team sports that require a gathering of people and a decent fitness level, it can be played alone and by those of all shapes-and-sizes. The attraction to watch golf on TV comes naturally after picking up the clubs and playing the game. Because of the corporate dollars and popularity, golf jobs of all sorts need to be filled, within the league itself and in the supporting industries. Skilled professionals in marketing, landscape maintenance, and course management and services only touch the fringe of open opportunities that exist across the sport. The intricacies of golf draw a nice parallel to the unique positions that support a growing game being played all around the world.
Without a smart Marketing Sales Manager, professional leagues like the PGA could be relegated to poorly rated cable networks and make little-to-no merchandising and sponsorship revenue. The PGA needs forward-thinking marketers to craft unique messaging across television, radio, magazines and online, maintaining its current fan base while finding inroads with new audiences. People and corporations use social media channels like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to influence others in the community. Marketers adept at leveraging these cutting edge tools to pull in new fans are valuable in the sports workforce. Prior sports business experience is preferred but not required when applying. People in the consumer products or services industry have the skill set and knowledge to make an impact in golf. High energy sales representatives are equally important in the sport as it makes a bulk of its revenue on television advertising and corporate sponsorship. With the amount of corporate churn in the game, chasing new leads as well as maintaining existing relationships are both frequent sales activities. The PGA is a well established league but it still requires talented sales and marketing professionals to prop up its business model and lure fans away from its competition.
Every course across the country needs a talented Groundskeeper to maintain the highest standards and draw the best crowds. Quality golf course maintenance goes far beyond keeping grasses trim and ponds glistening. Assisting in course construction projects and using a variety of golfing equipment ensure improvements can be made in an efficient and low key manner. Also, being knowledgeable on landscape design allows the groundskeeper to contribute to the bigger vision, making recommendations and raising risks to the course superintendent. Score yourself a groundskeeper position at a local course to gain the right experiences that will eventually lead you to a head groundskeeper position at a higher profile club.
As the title implies, the General Manager runs the course property from end-to-end. Complete golf course facility management covers a wide swath of responsibilities. Managing to a budget, overseeing the course’s various products and services, hiring and training employees and maximizing guest happiness are the tip of the iceberg. The position requires solid golf course management experience in a variety of areas. Learning the business side – finances, marketing, operations – on top of golf-specific intricacies – course management, services, merchandise – makes a valuable GM candidate. Also, consider becoming a PGA member to enhance your credibility as you ready yourself for the position.
Though it sounds generic, a Golf Professional has a certain skill set and carries with it great responsibility. The pro is in a leadership position at the course that employs him and is responsible for being the on-course golf expert. Whether it’s leading new golfer training classes, assisting members with club fitting and selection or teaching swing technique at the driving range, a golf professional does it all. Being a skilled golfer and certified PGA member are both important to prove to guests that you’re worth listening too. A course with a well respected golf pro attracts more members and sells fringe services like one-on-one coaching at a higher rate. Golf professionals are also hired by major sporting goods companies to manage a store’s golf department and advise management on the latest trends. Having a certified golf professional in the store brings with it a certain credibility, allowing customers to ask detailed questions and get the proper equipment and apparel to enhance their game and experience on the course.
A talented Golf Production Associate helps create high quality golf-related shows for television. Golf is a visually stunning game with its sweeping camera pans of the fairway to the ocean or lake backgrounds that surround its many courses. The hands-on work that produces those in-game visuals along with golf preview, analysis and highlight shows are handled by production associates. Logging video and highlights, writing show scripts and doing research for on-air talent are primary responsibilities. Making recommendations on show direction, collaborating with others to create graphics and keeping the team on deadline are secondary but still important tasks. As with most positions in television, it’s a time sensitive job that requires a person with the ability to work under pressure. Maintaining a high level of quality, especially for live shows, isn’t easy but it’s necessary. Knowing the game of golf – especially analysis and statistics – is a prerequisite and prior television production experience; sports related or otherwise, is preferred. The demands are great but the chance to produce high quality content that reaches millions of golf fans is rewarding and exciting.
In the business of golf, a Product Manager can be hired by golf courses and retail stores alike. Unlike the sport of basketball that needs a hoop and a ball, golf is a game of stuff. Golf clubs are only the start – balls, gloves, tees, shirts, shoes, bags and more make manufacturers and retailers a lot of money. A product manager typically owns the process of taking one or more of these products from inception to production. They’ll work with designers, coordinate with merchants and manage vendors to get the product to market. Being a skilled negotiator is important to secure margins that bring greater revenue to the company. And driving success and efficiency through operational management is a must. As a product hits the manufacturing line there is coordination with retail stores to ensure marketing material and product displays are accurate and ready when delivery is complete. If you’re into design, love the art of negotiation and are well organized and thorough, becoming a product manager is a fulfilling career. Get educated and gain experience working with a variety of golf products to build up your resume and make you more marketable.