Careers in greenkeeping.

Parmo

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Afternoon all,
I have come to a cross roads in my life I believe, I have always wanted a rewarding job that is outdoors and I think with my newish found love for golf that greenkeeping could be it!! I work 40+ hours a week in a office doing pointless work and it seems that life is drifting by, so I opened up Google for information on courses and jobs, could I find a trainee job? No, I found the course I need to do but I need to have work experience to get on the course. So I was thinking about writing a letter to the clubs nearest me stating my intentions for a career in greenkeeping and if they had any trainee vacancies available, but first I would like your advice.

-Is the above the right course of action?
-Is this an early midlife crisis? (I am 32)
-Do you know anyone who is a greenkeeper?
-Am I mad as the pay will be bad?

Thanks in advance. :)
 

OldWindy

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If you want a more rewarding lifestyle and can live with the pay cut then, yes.

Cheaper than buying a Porsche.

I know three blokes in the village who are green keepers - they love the work but wish it would pay more.

Don't think you're mad. If the pay was a little better I'd do it but the other thought to bear in mind is that you might climb the ladder...
 

cm_qs

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If I were you I would make myself fully aware of the realities of life as a greenkeeper before pursuing it as a career choice.

Why not take a couple of weeks holiday from your existing job, approach your local course and explain that you're looking to get a bit of experience before committing. volunteer for two weeks and see if it suits you. If it does, then all well and good and you've got some time under your belt. If the reality is different than you imagined and you change your mind - go back to the day job.

Another possibility to consider is that you might be sick of the sight of golf courses after working all day on one and give the game up. I know a couple of guys who are greenkeepers. They like the job but hate golfers and don't play. It's hard, hard work and relatively poorly paid.
 

Wildrover

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Parmo

I'm leaving the forces next year and I'm looking at going into Greenkeeping. I'm currently working one day a week at a local very well known club to gain experience and work towards an NVQ. Yes the pay is poor but I will have my forces pension to offset that. So far I've loved every minute and learned a lot. I recommend that you look at

www.bigga.org.uk

and

www.the-gtc.co.uk

These will give you a bit of info on training, jobs and pay etc.
 

Parmo

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Ta Wildrover, I was looking at the BIGGA site at lunch. I have emailed the local 7 clubs with a CV attached and a cover note with my intentions and see what comes back, I also had a look on the council site as there are five municipals in Leeds. I do think one day a week maybe a Saturday might be an idea if the above fails to get any interest.

Thanks for the advice guys.
 

farmergoggins

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I work at my local club and from time to time help with bit green keeping. It does feel quite good once you have done a job and other people say how nice the course looks. But like others have said the hours can be from 7am till 3/4pm every day and doing the same job eg cutting rough and raking bunkers can get quite boring if you been doing it for sometime. Depending what job you are doing you have to work in all weathers. Some of the work as well can be quit back breaking i remember one time i had to roll 4 sets of new tee's with old rusty roller for 5 hours by the end of it i could not stand up i was that bad! In terms of money basic greens keeper get around 10-13k i think rising with experince and more training which goes up to about 18-22k. Where the money at is the high level head green keeper or course manger with some of the big clubs earning around 40-50k. Here is a quick list of what I like and dont like about the job

Plus points to the job

Varried amount of jobs
Working outside
Satisfaction after you have compelted a job (main one for me)
Doing some thing you enjoy

Negative points to the job

Some jobs can get very boring quickly eg cutting rough bunkers and edgeing
Back breaking work
Early starting hours (alright if you are a early bird!)
Working in rain or shine
For amount effort put in little finacal gain compared to other jobs
 

Parmo

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Thanks I will PM him, I checked the BIGGA website and starting off I should expect between 11.5 - 14.5k a year and once I complete the NVQ I can apply to become a greenkeeper or an assistant one.
 

greensman

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Hi Primo
I am Greenkeeper (although I have changed my name, long story) I will try and be as honest as I can.
A career in greenkeeping is certainly a rewarding one, I been a greenkeeper for 25 years, Course Manager for 15. It can be stressful , it is very hard work, and often frustrating. However I have loved every year. But it’s not for everyone, you need a thick skin, you need to be a diplomat, you need excellent communication skills and you need to work hard physically and educationally. It’s not just a job but a vocation.
The industry pay is not fantastic, especially as you will be training. But as you progress the pay improves. But I word of warning, it takes many years to become a competent greenkeeper. NVQ is only the tip of the iceberg. Greenkeepers will stay in the same position for many years, so progression can be slow. However you have maturity on your side, as well as a sound knowledge and love for golf.

I hope this helps. If you require any more information or even a chat PM me

Kindest Regards
 

Parmo

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Thank you greensman for the advice, I shall wait and see what the local couses come back with and take it from there, failing that I shall offer my services free on Sarurdays and bide my time until something comes up.
 

big_russ

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You need to think of the worst case scenario of greenkeeping and not just the good things that you would be doing.
Digging/clearing drainage ditches/channels in the depths of winter may be may not be everyones cup of tea. It wont be shorts and teashirts cutting grass in the blazing sunshine (dream on) all the time.
It is something i have thaught about doing before but as many other posters have said its low pay and lots of training and would be something i could not justify to the family. If i was single i would be there tomorrow.
 

HomerJSimpson

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I have to say it is a side of golf that doesn't interest me one bit. Don't get me wrong I am hugely envious of their knowledge and their skills and appreciate all the work evey greenkeeper and their staff does on every course across the land often without thanks from us members.

If I had a choice, I'd actually like to get a job in a nice pro shop somewhere. I enjoy meeting people, like the admin side of things (invoices etc) and think I offer good customer service. I actually use to relish as a youngster getting up at 5.30to walk the 4 miles to the club and be open by 7.30 and then work until the pro arrived at 9.00. The morning was mine to play or practice and then I was in the shop after lunch until close. In winter I was done and dusted normally by 3.30 and in the summer would close at 7.30 and get back out onthe course. That and the pleasant surroundings of Wimbledon Common and the regular passers by made it such a great place to work.
 

Cernunnos

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If I didn't have another 8 years to pay on the morgage I might be tempted to try greenkeeping myself, as the interest is there. But you know what I really fancy & that's caddying. So far I've tentetively sent out some feelers & started looking into the idea. Again I'd like to be already on a more stable financial footing than I am. There again I might drop lucky.
 

medwayjon

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Always the way isnt it, do you chase the £ or do what you really want to do?

I am really lucky in the fact that I love what I do, the pay could be better (my job in a main dealership would pay £100k + bonusses + car etc etc) but then I would be constrained and I value the freedom and flexibility I have more than how much cash is in my pocket.

As long as I earn enough to pay the bills, keep the mrs and bubba comfortable and have a bit of spare cash for family fun etc and the "jons jolly's" fund I am happy.

maybee something to get into in the future once you are retired/mortgage-free/win the lottery (I wish) and job satisfaction can be a priority.
 

shanker

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Parmo
Another thing to remember about being a greenkeeper is that you may have 600 or 700 bosses, many of whom know f*** all about your job and talk through their a***s. I'm sure Greensman would agree.
 

greensman

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It feels that way at times. Your comment did make me chuckle.
Only today, I had loads of the complements, alas I met the usual moaner. However this guy was in a totally different league.... What he didn’t know about greenkeeping is not worth knowing, and the reason he knew so much was........ He has an allotment. Oh how we laugh! You have to otherwise you will go nuts.

Anyway I was in the pro shop later that day helping and the same gent walked in and started to educate the assistant pro, (who had just shot a 67, 5 under par). He informs him to work on his long irons. Why because the young lad had boogied the 220yds par 3. What this gent didn’t know about golf... well you know the rest.

I will say though, most complaints are not done through malice, but more through ignorance. Most people who complain do care about the course albeit have little understanding, but they do have the courses best interest at hart.
But I will say that 90% are great, and I have made many friends, but as every greenkeeper will tell you, some just complain. If it’s not me, it’s the juniors, the visitors, new members, etc etc. It’s all part of the job.
 

Wildrover

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Greensman

Having been doing just the one day a week now for a while, I no longer moan about our course (not where I have been working). What's more not many of my usual crowd at the club do now as I have been telling them why things are done the way, and when, they are.
I can only aplogise for my moaning in the past (although I never pulled the Greenkeeper to one side to give the benefit of my experience of mowing my lawn).

I do have a question for you though. How accurate to the real world is the recommended salaries document on the BIGGA website?
 
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