Do Golf Course Workers Make Enough Money to Survive?

Discussion in 'Superintendent Forums' started by LarryAylward, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. LawnsharkMB

    LawnsharkMB LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 592

    No but I believe it.

    The lawn care side is probably at the bottom as well as far as prices go. Every time you turn around you see a truck pulling a landscaping trailer. If you won't cut someone's yard for $25 they know the next man probably will.

    One thing the golf courses do have going for them is there are a lot of retired guys in Myrtle Beach that just want something to do and free golf, they don't care how much you pay them. 80% of our maintenance crew is over 65.
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  2. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,075

    I wasn't say that you were asking the gov’t to set a price for cutting grns. Maybe it was simply coincidence that you picked the $9/hr figure and Obama has been talking about making $9/hr the min wage for a few yrs now. If you used that figure in respone to LawnShark’s post that used the same figure, then presumably you’re talking about the min wage, which is gov’t mandated.

    But, the chances of a golf course hiring someone who happens to be addicted to drugs is probably no different than the chances of an LCO hiring someone who happens to be addicted to drugs to treat or cut lawns.

    I agree that paying your staff well can incentivize high quality work. But, if you operate a business you know the balancing act that comes with wages, prices, and quality. That being said, the 2011 GCSAA Compensation and Benefits Report lists the avg wages for typical greens mowing positions (titled groundskeeper, equipment operator, or something similar) at $10.06 to $11.39. PLANET has a similar report, but keeps theirs behind a paywall.

    BTW, South Carolina’s avg pay to the ‘groundskeeper’ position (this is a common title for an entry level laborer) was $9/hr. There were 14 states that paid less than that.
     
  3. landplan

    landplan LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 24

    That's insane, $14 after 20 years? Not the green industry, but I was making almost $14 back in the mid 80's stacking boxes in a warehouse. I have never started someone off at minimum wage and often wondered, based on the hours worked, if my employees weren't making more than me. Seems insulting to pay someone the absolute minimum allowed by law.
     
  4. LarryAylward

    LarryAylward LawnSite Member
    Posts: 69


    Lawnshark, I'm interested in interviewing some of these low-paid employees for a story.
     
  5. LawnsharkMB

    LawnsharkMB LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 592

    They're pretty content with what they're making. If you break down an assisstant's salary to an hourly rate even they aren't making but around $15 hour in this area. Some less considering the hours they put in.

    Plus you you have to consider that Irrigation Tech has no education, started out as a laborer making probably $5 an hour in 1990 an worked his way up. Pretty much the same with the spray tech.

    I've found that most golf course employees are either retired or people that are simply just comfortable living off $9 an hour. Most all of them still remember the glory days 10-15 years ago when courses were packed all the time and the golf course was a great place to work.

    Now nobody gives raises, courses are dropping their insurance, some are even talking about shutting down.
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  6. I was worked at my local golf club as a labor, but was basically a second assistant made 9.50. I really liked my boss and the assistant, pleasure to work for, but 2 summers ago when we had 45 days of 90 degree heat or high I worked 4 weeks straight no days off 12 hours a day. At the time I wanted to be a super. Well that november I made up my mind and decided this wasnt for me. I wanted a normal schedule. Now I work 9-530 during the week and took all the stuff I learned from the course I now do landscaping on the weekends.
     
  7. MichiganJim

    MichiganJim LawnSite Member
    Posts: 9

    Like a lot of other responses, there is a large majority of crew that is simply retired guys looking for something to do - the "I don't really need the money" guys who just want to mow rough in exchange for free golf. And unless you're in a market where you have a 12-month golf season, golf course work is a seasonal job anyway, so you really shouldn't be depending on this kind of income to support yourself and/or your family. For the college kids it should just be gas and party money. If you HAVE to by the $600 iPhone with the $100/month unlimited data plan and drive a new Dodge Ram 1500 - maybe you should be doing something else besides taking a job on my crew at $9/hour and bugging me for a raise every day.

    On the other hand, the Assistant Superintendent who may have a young family and is trying to make a career out of it - they can be labeled 'working poor' if they are only paid a salary in the low $20's and are expected to 'pay their dues' by working 60 hrs a week with no overtime and no time to get a 2nd job to help make ends meet. If there is a 'working poor' problem in the industry, i think this is it.
     
  8. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,310

    That second paragraph made me smile because it's so true. Assistant's are the mule's of golf maintenance. On most course's those guy's are responsible for - the crew schedule, irrigation repair, spraying, scouting and more. They do all this with one or two day's off a month, maybe. If it wasn't for the enthusiasm of being on a golf course this would a be a lot harder position to fill. Assistant's salary's have gone up in part's of the country in the last 10 - 15 year's, at some course's. Club manager's are finding out that they can't get away with paying those low wage's anymore.
     
  9. It gave me alot of respect for supers and assistants. My boss has two young kids and basically would only see them when he got home to put them to bed. He always made references to how much his wife hates his job and dont be a super. I've thought about going back and working Sunday mornings but getting up at 430 to work 4 hours@ 9.50 doesnt really do a whole lot for me.
     

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