How Much Does a Golf Course Superintendent Make?

Are you fond of golf? Do you like taking care of grass while enjoying the fun and thrill of watching amateur and professional golfers? Then, becoming a golf course superintendent might be the right job for you. But, how much does a golf course superintendent make?

Golf course superintendents, also known as greenkeepers, can start by earning $20 per hour. An entry-level assistant will make about $46,270 annually, while an average superintendent makes around $93,176 per year. The salaries differ from one state to another. Having better education and experience will positively impact your pay.

Whether you want to become one or wonder what a superintendent does, it’s important to understand the job responsibilities and the challenges. In this article, we’ll talk more about the monetary aspect of the job and what is exactly expected to be done.

How Much Does a Golf Course Superintendent Make?

The greenkeeper or superintendent has a fun yet challenging job that involves taking care of the turf, upkeeping the course, and addressing the needs of golfers. Men and women who choose to become golf course superintendents need to be concerned with the environmental health of the golf course, as well as achieving financial profit for the country club or golf course they work for.

The golf course superintendent makes between $71,326 and $98,575, with an average of $93,176 annually. Several factors affect these numbers.

  • The state where you become a golf course superintendent will have a huge impact on your salary. For example, in New Jersey, you can make an average of $114,828 per year, whereas in South Dakota, you can make about $63,057 per year.
  • Within the same state, the location and nature of the golf course will affect your pay. For example, you’ll get paid higher if you work at an exclusive private country club. On the other hand, your salary will be less if you work for a public golf course.
  • Your level of education plays a huge role while determining your annual pay. For example, if you have a high school certificate, you can expect to make as much as $71,326 per year, while your salary increases to $74,562 after attending college. With a 2-year certificate, you can expect to make $98,575.
  • Your level of experience determines how much you’ll get paid. The more experience you have, the bigger the salary you receive. You’ll also receive better job opportunities, so you can, for example, leave a public golf course and work for a fancy country club, which typically pays more.

What Does a Golf Course Superintendent Do?

The main job of the golf course superintendent is to take care of the golf course. So there are a lot of responsibilities that you need to manage if you choose to become a greenkeeper.

  • Your main job is to monitor the golf course and its condition at all times to ensure it’s always in top shape. This includes addressing any current problems and preparing for upcoming ones.
  • Depending on the size of the course, you’ll have to manage several workers and technicians. Your job is to assign work to landscapers, equipment managers, and irrigation technicians to make sure that they’re doing their job properly. You’ll assign tasks, follow up on their work, and give remarks to improve the quality of the golf course.
  • You need to manage the environmental side of the golf course. You should think about making it more sustainable by reducing the number of chemicals used and deciding on the most efficient ways of irrigation to avoid waste.
  • You’ll have to manage the turf and decide on the right technique to apply fertilizers and herbicides without affecting the biodiversity on the golf course.
  • You’ll have to supervise the construction of new structures and monitor progress.
  • You might have to hire and fire maintenance staff based on the needs of the course and their performance.
  • You’ll have to address any problems faced by the golfers on the field. Your job is to ensure they’re having a safe and fun experience while playing golf.

How Did the First Golf Course Superintendents Get Hired?

When the game of golf was first played along the coastal dunes of Scotland, there was no need for greenkeepers. Instead, these areas were covered by sand and grass, and animals would rub themselves in the sandy soil to escape the cold, creating natural bunkers.

In the mid-19th century, golf became more popular, and several private country clubs were constructed. Noblemen and women hired greenkeepers to take care of their golf courses and maintain their condition to allow the game to be played at any time.

At this time, golf course superintendents also helped design and build courses, and in some cases, they even gave golf lessons. They would make balls and clubs and invent equipment to make the game more accessible.

Who Can Become a Golf Course Superintendent?

You don’t have to be a college student to be eligible for the job. A lot of golf course superintendents started their career paths as irrigation technicians or landscapers and then worked their way up the ladder. However, a college certificate is desirable, and in many cases, you can get hired if you have a degree in business or any other related field.

You can start with a workshop to tell you more about the job, so you can decide if it’s the right one for you. Finishing a 2-year certificate by the GCSAA is a great way to improve your chances if you’re looking for a job as a golf course superintendent.

This is a full-time job, even during the snowy and winter season. During the off-season, there will be more work and maintenance to prepare the course for the upcoming season.

Wrap Up

The salary of a golf course superintendent is around an average of $93,176 per year. However, there are several factors that affect your pay, including where you’re located, the nature of the course, your education, and your level of experience.

You can become a golf course superintendent by working your way up the career ladder, even if you don’t have a degree. However, getting a 2-year certificate is favorable if you want to become a certified golf course superintendent, especially if you want to work at an established private club.


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