For many high school kids, final exams are wrapping up and the start of summer holidays are upon them.
If these kid’s parents are anything like mine – and I hope that they are – they will be getting summer jobs until school is back in.
I can think of no better summer job than working at a golf course.
I first started working at a local golf course called Douglasdale Golf Club. This small, executive style course was the perfect place for me to learn everything I could about the industry. Douglasdale doesn’t have large budgets, so your duties could range from cutting greens, to mowing fairways, to changing irrigation pipes – all in the same day.
The machinery at Douglasdale was old, and bought second hand from other golf courses. Most of my time there we did not have a permanent mechanic, so you quickly learned how to change your oil, filters, sharpen mower blades and change tires. And I did this all before YouTube videos existed (which would have greatly reduced the amount of swearing I did).
I started working at Douglasdale because some friends of mine were working there. We quickly made friends with the other workers at the course and became a tight knit group (2 of the people eventually got married).
One of my friends lived just off of the 18th fairway which made for some late night parties, where we could stumble into work early the next morning.
Which is very early.
Most golf courses in Calgary want to take advantage of the large amount of sunlight we have during the summer, so tee times can start as early as 6 AM. That means as a worker you need to be at the course well before them to get ahead on the mowing. The positive side of this, is that you’re done for the day by 2 in the afternoon.
All totaled I spent 5 summers as a student working at golf courses through High School and University.
How to become a golf course maintenance worker
In most cases you just need to apply. However, there are usually a LOT of applications for only a few positions so apply early, and be sure to highlight on your resume any relevant experience with lawn mowers, or gardening.
If you don’t have a lot of experience, that’s ok, but will likely mean you will be put on a job or crew that doesn’t require a lot of experience. For example, you could be responsible for raking all of the bunkers (I did this at Carnmoney which had at the time a total of 96 bunkers), or line trimming around trees and fence lines.
As you show your boss your amazing attitude and work ethic, you can see yourself move onto crews that mow greens, tee boxes, and fairways, or you could see yourself gardening or moving the flag position on the green every day.
How to become a golf course superintendent
I won’t spend a lot of time here, as I haven’t done this myself, however I DID look into it very seriously as a career choice. Golf course superintendents are responsible for managing the staff, handling maintenance budgets, and taking care of the golf course, including possibly your most important job of maintaining the greens.
Becoming a superintendent was possible back-in-the-day by working your way through the ranks, however, now you will not likely be able to become one without some schooling. Here in southern Alberta, Olds college offers a great program. Once you graduate however, be prepared to move as jobs in Alberta are coveted and hard to come by.
For More Information
In the end, working in the sun with friends over the summer at a golf course was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had in my life. As an avid golfer, the perks of free golf was just an added bonus. If you’re anything like me and the appeal of seeing your fresh cut lines in the grass gives you a weird thrill, than this is the summer job for you.
For more information contact any of the local courses you’d like to work at, and for more information on becoming a golf course superintendent check out the turf care program at Olds College.