For many young golfers, dreams of becoming a professional golfer don’t come true. In fact, the harsh reality is that the majority don’t make it to the tour.
But don’t fret. Being a tour professional isn’t the only golf career you can pursue. Although it’s possibly the most prestigious career choice in the industry, it’s by no means the only one that can provide a successful career in golf.
So, let’s look at some of the golf career opportunities within the industry that you can aim for.
Top Careers in Golf 🏌
1. Golf Tour Professional
The ultimate golf career, a tour professional, is often considered to be playing on one of the major tours (USPGA, Asian, or European). However, not everyone makes the cut. Luckily, there are other options for those that don’t necessarily have the financial backing to play in the high-profile tournaments.
Satellite tours are a great way of building up earnings to head out on the major tours. In the United States, you have the Web.com tour, in Europe, there are The Alps, Challenge, and EuroPro Tours, and in South Africa runs the Sunshine Tour. These are all learning experiences to test your credentials.
2. Golf Rules Official
If you’re interested in the rules of golf, then this is the position for you. As a rules official, you’ll be highly regarded as an important member of the tour. You’ll provide advice to the professionals when needed, and you’ll also be involved with the setup of the golf course for tournament play.
Rules officials are generally well-paid, but the salary is dependent on a few aspects, including experience, and the tour and tournament in which you’re officiating.
There are some negatives to being a rules official, however. There’s lots of travel, meaning there’ll be time away from friends and family, and the cost of traveling is not always subsidized. Bear the travel in mind when considering becoming a rules official.
3. Golf General Manager / Director
As a general manager and/or director, you’ll typically be required to hold either some type of degree in business management or a similar field and a single figure handicap or be a PGA Professional.
A general manager’s duties essentially entail operating and running a golf club, such as generating new income streams to overseeing the maintenance of the course. Having a good knowledge of all aspects of the sport from a business standpoint is a must for this career in golf.
The salary and bonus packages for general managers and directors are competitive, but working hours can be long and unsociable due to the nature of the position.
4. Golf Head Teaching Professional
The head teaching professional oversees the club’s golf lessons and often the pro shop. Generally supported by retail assistants and managing the development and training of PGA apprentices, this job is a representation of progression and experience with a variety of responsibilities. It’s an important role on the club’s team. As a head professional or an assistant, you’ll have limited playing time, with most of your time spent on the range teaching club members and junior players.
Many golf clubs will look to hire a PGA-trained professional, but the USGTF is becoming a big player in the coaching world. The salary is often good for this lifelong golf career, with some clubs offering both a basic salary and a commission on lesson and shop sales.
5. Golf Retail Staff
As a member of the retail team, you’ll most likely be working in a pro shop or retail store. A knowledge of club fitting and a good understanding of apparel and equipment is a must. Starting out as a retail assistant is the first rung on the ladder, but there are often opportunities to climb the golf career ladder if you’re willing to put in the extra work either in the shop or away from it.
The salary leaves something to be desired, but with many employers now offering a commission-based salary, there’s an opportunity to earn more based on your level of sales.
6. Golf Sales Representative
As a sales representative, you’ll be the face of the brand that you’re representing. It’s your job to travel the areas to which you’re assigned, as well as meet with club professionals and general managers to pitch your companies’ latest products and innovations.
The opportunity to represent many brands and companies is a bonus if you choose to become a sales representative. Salaries vary across the market, with a basic starting salary of around $40,000 depending on the company or number of entities you represent.
7. Golf Marketing Director
As the marketplace becomes more and more competitive, marketing personnel are becoming more in demand for golf clubs (as in country clubs), not to mention for apparel and equipment brands.
A marketing role offers a career in golf with a variety of responsibilities. Marketing directors and managers are tasked with raising awareness of the club’s brand in the local, national, and even international marketplace with the aim of increasing sales.
You’ll quickly become an integral part of the team, with a salary to match your importance. Candidates must be personable, organized, and able to work on their own initiative to create new leads and manage databases.
8. Golf Club Fitter and Club Repair Specialist
Historically the golf club fitting role was handled by the head professional, but with the dramatic change in how golf clubs are evolving, this has now become a more skilled, specific golf career.
A club fitter/builder will work with the components to create clubs specifically for the client. They’ll have an in-depth knowledge of golf shafts, club heads, and how to analyze golf swings. Broad knowledge of golf components and the desire to keep up with an ever-changing industry is essential.
A club fitter could be working for a company, traveling the country to present demos and fitting days, with a basic salary and commission rate on sales earned. Alternatively, you could work from your workshop and include club repairs in your repertoire of services.
9. Golf Consultant
Golf consulting is a relatively new position in the golf world. Being a consultant will require a lot of traveling from course to course, across the country (and even internationally) to offer advice on every aspect of operating and running a golf club.
A consultant’s knowledge must be broad, with an understanding of retail, marketing, maintenance, accounting, teaching, and catering. If you can consistently find work and build a sound reputation for yourself, the pay can be quite rewarding. Like most careers that require generating your own leads, consulting is a high risk, high reward career in golf.
Other Golf Career Opportunities
If you haven’t started your career in golf and want to gain some experience before going after your dream job, here are some opportunities that can help.
- Player Management
Ready to Swing for Success?