View Full Version : greens keeper

10-12-2004, 11:47 PM
i was wondering how much a greens keeper(head of grounds) gets paid for a golf course i know it depends but what is the starting pay because I'm interested also how much schooling and what schooling is needed?

10-13-2004, 01:12 AM
This is for a city of Phoenix employee http://www.ci.phoenix.az.us/JOBSPECS/40060.html A private course will pay more.

11-28-2007, 09:05 PM
Looks like this old thread gets bumped. Found this tonight searching for "greenskeeper forums" on Google.

Odds are, this week I'm starting a horticulture forum, and would like to include greenskeeping as a forum category. Been searching greenskeeping all afternoon, and calling a few country club superintendents.

Anyhow, about the wage, I'm not positive, but I'm fairly sure that it's available in several states to break 6 figures, for $100,000 or above.

But ain't nobody getting there directly without a lesser wage.

I'm not sure if Oregon pays that high anywhere. But I've heard that in southern states, its available to make that much or more.

On a Google Search, a page that's been removed, still shows an archived / cached web page description...

The average salary of a certified golf course superintendent rose to $80489 in 2005, from $77023 in 2003, $70134 in 2000, and $62948 in 1998.

The URL remanant, showed it was from a GCSAA website - that should indicate "Golf Course Superintendents Association of America" abbreviated.

11-28-2007, 10:47 PM
I worked my way up to golf course superintendent throught he ranks, if you would like specifics please send me a PM. I have a salary range published by the gcsaa, mdvaden does have some of that info listed. Certified golf course superintendents make way more than the average superintendent and they take an extensive amount of continuing education on top of their college degrees (those with no degree must take even more classes to become certified).

11-28-2007, 10:56 PM
Well for schooling you need at least 2 years to break into the field. This will get you a 2nd Assistant Position, and a salary of somewhere around 30,000. From here you will move up to an Assistant position with a salary somewhere around 35,000-50,000. With only 2 years of education it will be tough to get a good head superintendent job, and you may end up staying an assistant or becoming the superintendent of a smaller, lower end course. Your salary here can be anywhere from $30-50 thousand. With a 4 year degree, you will move up the ranks similar to the way you would with the 2 year degree, but will be able to go for the higher paying superintendent jobs. An 18 hole private club will usually pay at least 70,000, and give you a truck and sometimes a house on the course. The larger, more prestigious courses will pay an average of 120,000 i would say, with all the perks I mentioned before. It is possible to make way above the 120,000 if you are at a championship course, and especially if your course hosts any major tournaments. For an idea of pay in your area, check out the jobs on turfnet.com

11-28-2007, 11:03 PM
Lugnut your range seems a little amitious and high for the general average of the US, maybe in New York but not the midwest. It isnt far off but it all comes down to how hard you work and how quickly you can ascend the ladder. I went from a 4 year degree in turf management to a irrigation technician position, then 2 years until i became an Assistant Superintendent, then one year after that I got my first Superintendent position at a low end public golf course. My salary as a Super there was the same minus a $3000 bonus I had at the Assistants job, and I worked way more hours and had way more headaches. I spent 3 1/2 years in that job, then lost my job, so I went into business with my wife and formed the landscaping business. The best thing about the landscape track is you can own your own business, the golf course world you will always be working for someone (owner, city, members, or board of directors). That I should have listened to my father all along, I love being in business ofr myself and I dont miss the other demands that go with the Superintendents role!!

At least when I have to bust my butt now, I am doing it for myself, not someone who doesnt appreciate me, now dont get me wrong if you end up in the ideal situation it can work well, but with the golf industry where it is, those jobs are few and far between.

11-28-2007, 11:13 PM
I spent 14 years in golf courses. Started at 14 as a cart boy, moved to grounds at 16, by 19 I was Superintendent of a goat ranch making $18,000 a year in 1987. I left the goat ranch for Asst. Supt. at a country club for the fat cash of $23,000 a year, the Supt. made $65,000, that was in 1991. I became a certified Pesticide Applicator and a Certifed GCSAA and IGCSAA Supt. in 1993 and was offered the head job at our country club the following year but considered the $29,000 they offered me a slap in the face(compared to the guy they fired's $65-70,000) I quit the golf course that year and went to work for myself.

Golf course work sucks! It is hard, long hours..... 7 days a week starting @ daylight for $7 an hour.

BTW......The degree most Golf Course Supt. have is Agronomy, preferably from Purdue, Texas A&M, Penn State, Michigan State.....any of them schools you will come out with a 4 year degree and a guaranteed $75,000 a year gig.

11-28-2007, 11:29 PM
You old time supers, like me, remember the crappy wages too.
When I walked out of Penn State in the early nineties, I went to work for the largest golf course construction company in the world (at the time), Wadsworth.
My starting pay, minusall the different bonuses, was over $60K.
Factor in the travel, differential, vehicle allowance and year end bonus, I was right at $90K.
Nine months later - BOOM!
Company downsized, course construction went into the toliet, and I went to Asia.
What can I say about Asia? At least the beer was cheap.
When I ran courses in the NE following Asia, I was making in the mid fifties and I never worked over sixty hours per week. When I was interviewed I negotiated everything from salary, benefits, expected hours, course performance and bonus.
Would have still been there if is wasn't for my ex-wife and all the crap she created.
But then again I wouldn't be in Texas, wouldn't own my own business, and work over seventy hours/week. Sigh.
I have a few nibbles about my company being for sale though - looks like I am going to sell, take a year or so off and go back to being a cop - now that I will have a great start towards a retirement - finish both my Masters (Business Mgmt and Agronomy) then start terrorizing under grad students.
Pay isn't bad, especially when I am only working seven and a half months for about $75K, tenure guaranteed.

11-28-2007, 11:37 PM
Maybe I am a little high for some parts of the country, all my experience has been in NY

11-29-2007, 12:53 PM
Keep in mind this is one of those "Good Ol Boys Club" type job. It doesn't matter what kind of fancy degree you have, you still have to know somebody on the inside to land a good job and that's usually an assistants position. The assistant does all the work and the Super gets all the credit or blame in some cases. It's a great job for the few that make it, though. Great pay, company vehicle, kickbacks and payola from equipment/sand/fert. companies just to name a few of the perks. At least this is what I witnessed in the ten years I was a GC mechanic. In those years I only had a couple of supers that I respected. The others I grew to hate because of their laziness and corruption. Sorry, had to get that off my chest. Still a sore subject for me even after almost ten years.

11-29-2007, 02:06 PM
I worked my way up to golf course superintendent throught he ranks, if you would like specifics please send me a PM. I have a salary range published by the gcsaa, mdvaden does have some of that info listed. Certified golf course superintendents make way more than the average superintendent and they take an extensive amount of continuing education on top of their college degrees (those with no degree must take even more classes to become certified).

If you know any greenskeepers who are not into the internet scene (much), my son did get the horticulture forum up and running for me last night. I added a greenskeeping category and would be grateful to see greenskeepers eventually become involved and expand it.

I know there are good golf course publications, but when searching online yesterday, it was amazing how little involvement there is from greenskeepers.

My goal is not to produce an arborist site or a lawn site. I was looking at the UBC forums, which you may have seen, which are awesome in one way, but almost more like what a botanist would thrive in. It would be nice to have an informal version of what the UBC is like, but still horticulturally accurate and rich.

It's been years since I worked at country clubs, but I'm highly fond of that trade - can't really get it out of my system, even though I don't like playing golf. I just loved the detail, and golf course superintendents were about the most innovative bunch of professionals I ever encountered in the green industry.

Talked to a few superintendents up near Portland, by phone, yesterday. Suggested offering the site to the state level person of the association. I'm going to wait until the Greenskeeping section is "bulked-up" a bit with topics and idea first, though. Heck, I've got to swap the header image yet !!

If you see any greenskeepers - my signature is the key.

11-29-2007, 06:15 PM
There is also superintendentsite.com, but that never really seemed to take off. There are still discussions on the front page from the spring, hopefully this will do better

03-06-2008, 01:18 PM
The difference between golf course superintendents and lco's or landscape business owners is that the gcs only spends money and doesn't have to make it. Grant it, gcs still have to do a good job otherwise they lose their job. Superintendents in general are very detail oriented. My experience in the golf industry has helped mold my success as a business owner.

I used to be a superintendent, but left that profession to relocate for family reasons. I left on good terms and was making 100k with good benefits, but I had a really hard time relocating to where I wanted to live. I went through a 4 year turf program, the assistant in training and everything and found it is extremely hard to relocate. Some of the jobs I applied for had 200 to 300 applicants. At this point it is a very over saturated market. I was a supt. at a top 100 golf course doing well with very positive member feedback, and I still couldn't get a supt. job elsewhere.

I moved to where I wanted to live, started a business, and haven't looked back. I also only work weekends when I absolutely have to. In the golf business I worked weekends all of the time.