Why Get a Golf Management Degree?

Created by Henry Steele

By Henry Steele - June 20, 2018
Reading Time: 5 minutes
Reading Time: 5 minutes

A golf management degree is often a good choice for the person who is passionate about golf and wants to work in the golf business for their career. Golf management is actually a type of the larger field of hospitality management. In golf management just as in hospitality management, the goal is to take care of customers who are enjoying a leisure activity. Golf management is focused upon keeping the customer at the golf course happy by serving his or her needs, maintaining the quality of the golf course, and overseeing the business and financial operations of the golf business.

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What Is Golf Management?

If you love the game of golf but are not interested in being a professional golfer or lack the skills to do so, the field of golf management provides an opportunity to earn a living in something that is your passion. The Professional Golfer’s Association of America or PGA accredits 20 or so golf management degree programs in the US. In this four or five year program, you will learn about such subjects as turf grass management, marketing and merchandising in golf, food and beverage management, player development, and golf tournament operations.

Other aspects of golf management typically include mantaining sports equipment, teaching golfing classes, and monitoring all activities on the golfing property.

Golf Management Degree Opportunity

The United States economy is continuing to get stronger, as there is lower unemployment, stronger economic growth and a good housing market. More businesses are expanding and being created. As the economy is getting better, more Americans are enjoying more leisure activities again and are likely to be spending more money on activities such as golf, travel and tourism.

There are few statistics available for the growth of golf management positions, but a related field to golf management is the hospitality management field. For example, the job of lodging manager is expected to see a 4% increase in job growth in the next several years. This is about average when compared to other occupations.

Also, the general job outlook for coaches and scouts is quite strong, with employment projected to increase by 13% by 2026. It is expected that expanded participation in both high school and college sports will increase demand for all types of coaches and scouts, including in the golf industry.

Golf Management Degree Career Paths

Lodging managers held approximately 47,800 jobs in 2016 in the following areas:

  • Traveler accommodation: 66%
  • Self employed: 24%
  • RV parks and recreational camps: 3%

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states there are 276,000 coach and scout jobs in the US as of 2016. They are in the following areas:

  • Elementary and secondary schools: 21%
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation: 21%
  • Colleges and universities: 19%
  • Self employed: 10%

Golf Management Degree Salaries

One of the common positions for professionals with a golf management degree is that of turf manager. According to Rutgers University, an intern or entry level groundscrew at a golf course can earn up to $20 per hour. However, a professional with a golf management degree can someday become a golf course superintendent or manager, and can make a salary up to $89,000 per year. The typical base salary for an assistant superintendent is $43,300. Equipment managers were reported to earn $47,200 per year.

Also, golf course superintendants can earn different salaries depending upon the state. The mean salary in New Jersey in this field is $112,000 per year, while the average salary in Pennsylvania is $93,200.

The median salary for coaches and scouts generally, which encompasses coaches in the golfing industry, is $32,300 with the top 10% earning up to $75,000. Lodging managers earn a median salary of $51,800 per year.

Golf Management Bachelor’s Degree

One of the options to get into the golf management business is to earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in professional golf management. One of the universities offering this program is the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio TX.

The purpose of the professional golf management program is to prepare you with the skills and knowledge you need to work in teh professional golf management industry. It is vital for business professionals in this industry to have a complete understanding of turf grass management, golf course equipment management, food and beverage operations, customer relations and overall business planning.

Another option is to apply for the PGA Golf Management University Program. This is a bachelor’s degree program that is offered by 18 universities accredited by the PGA. Major features of this program are:

  • A four to five year program for aspiring PGA professionals who want to learn the business side of golf
  • Accredited by the PGA of America
  • Prepares students with skills and knowledge to succeed in the golf business
  • Students can also earn a degree in marketing, business administration, hospitality administration, recreation and park management

Some of the universities that offer this PGA-accredited bachelor’s degree program in golf management are:

  • Clemson University
  • Penn State University
  • Florida Gulf Coast Universiity
  • Methodist University
  • University of Central Oklahoma
  • University of Idaho
  • North Carolina State University
  • Coastal Carolina University

Golf Management Degree Admission Requirements

Each university has its own entry requirements; enrollment is limited to 400 total students in each university program at any one time, with a limit of 100 students for each incoming class.

Some of the requirements for admission may include:

  • 0 or higher GPA from high school or previous college work
  • Updated resume
  • Transcripts from high school and college
  • Recommendations
  • Writing samples
  • Golf business experience – 1 or 2 years is typical

Golf Management Degree Curriculum

The PGA golf management program at Penn State University has the following course requirements:

  • Financial and managerial accounting
  • Legal environment of business
  • Finance
  • Hospitality managerial accounting
  • Supply chains
  • Turf grass management
  • Club management and operations
  • HR management
  • Marketing
  • Business planning and golf operations management
  • Management and organization

Golf Management Degree Financial Assistance

If you want to earn a bachelor’s degree in business and golf management, you will probably want to try to get scholarships and grants to help you pay for the program.

One of the most important and coveted scholarships in this area is the PGA Golf Management University Program scholarships that are offered through PGA WORKS. The purpose of PGA WORKS is to evolve the demographic composition of the workforce in the golf industry and the membership of PGA of America. These are $8000 scholarships that are made to improve the recruitment and retention of talented golf and business professionals from diverse backgrounds who are earning PGA membership through one of the 18 accredited PGA Golf Management University Programs.

Applicants for this program will be selected based upon:

  • Academic record
  • Leadership experience
  • Honors and work experience
  • Statements of goals and aspirations
  • Unusual personal and family circumstances
  • Active participation in the golf game

Golf Management Degree Associations

If you are interested in the golf business and earning your living in it, you may want to consider exploring these associations:

  • American Society of Golf Course Architects
  • Club Managers Association of American
  • Executive Women’s Golf Association
  • Golf Coaches Association of Ameria
  • Golf Course Superintendents Association of America
  • Golf Course Builders Association of America

Earning a golf management degree is a smart choice for the person who is passionate about the game of golf and wants to spend his or her career working in the golf business in a variety of business, marketing, sales and operations positions.


Henry Steele
Managing Editor
Henry is Managing Editor of BusinessStudent.com. He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.

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