Welcome To The Circus – Getting Into The Golf Business

It’s hiring time at our shop… time to find a few new people to help us get through the summer. It’s really tough to find good people these days because there are just so many jobs out there that pay way more than the golf business can offer. If you want to be good at selling golf equipment, you have to know your stuff. Customers know more than they ever have… thanks to the Golf Channel and the internet. They’ll ask you questions that they already know the answers to. You get them right and they’ll consider buying from you. Get them wrong and you can kiss the sale goodbye. It’s an ongoing learning experience… companies change stuff so fast and you are always having to learn about something new. So you want to try this whole golf business thing? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Make no mistake about it… the golf is a “cool” business to be in. What did you do today? Well… I worked in the shop for a while, then I taught a lesson, then I played a few holes with some members, then I fixed a few golf clubs. After lunch I met with a few of my reps and hit some of the latest and greatest clubs. After work I played 18 holes… for free. Not bad. We get equipment for free, we play golf for free and we get to hang out around golf stuff all day. Working at a golf course is a dream summer job for someone going to school… I should know… I did it for years! You meet great people, make great contacts and learn a few things along the way. I liked golf courses for the food too. I have eaten more hotdogs, BLT’s and leftover steak dinners than most people will eat in their entire lives… all for free. Wow… why isn’t everyone in this business?

Well… there are a few downsides too. The golf business doesn’t pay very well. Most of the jobs are seasonal and don’t include things like benefits or pensions. Most golf jobs are not unionized and the employee is at a real disadvantage when looking for more money or better working conditions. And the hours are long… really long! Golf jobs aren’t your typical jobs.

We do what we do because we love the game and we love being around the game. If you want to get into the golf business to make lots and lots of money, you’re wasting your time. I have lots of friends in the business that are raising families and don’t know where they will work from season to season. That’s a tough way to live! I also know lots of people that got into the business only to leave after a few years because they could make 3 and 4 times as much doing something else. My advice to people that want to get into the golf business and make a go of it…

– Do it because you love it. Look elsewhere if you are after the big bucks.
– Be prepared to work. The hours are long and you are always around people. It’s not hard labor but customers can drain you real fast!
– Find a mentor. The golf business is full of “old boys”… guys (and girls) that have been around forever. Learn as much as you can from them and you’ll be set. I have had lots of mentors over the years and they have taught me so much about business.
– Go to school. Schooling is a good way to move up the golf business ladder. You don’t have to get into a golf specific program… a business degree is probably a better bet. It may take a while to get paid like a grad though… sounds like someone I know… oh wait… that’s me! Haha.
– Make contacts. You will meet lots and lots of people. Get to know them and what they do. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door!

In need of a new job? Give golf a try. You don’t have to be good at the game to be a good employee. Have fun, meet people, learn a lot and try to play a bit of golf too!

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