Starter in Golf: Essential Skills, Training, and Career Advancement Tips

Colin McCarthy

scratch golfer

Starting a career as a golf course starter offers a unique blend of customer service, management, and a deep understanding of golf.

These professionals ensure the smooth operation of the course, from managing tee times to assisting players with rules and etiquette.

While a high school diploma is often sufficient, some positions may require an associate or bachelor’s degree, particularly in fields like business, management, or communication.

A golf course starter must develop strong relationships within the community and excel in customer service.

They handle tasks ranging from answering phones to managing the tee sheet and ranger responsibilities.

This role demands a blend of interpersonal skills and a passion for the game, making it ideal for those who thrive in dynamic, people-oriented environments.

The Role of a Golf Starter

The role of a golf starter is crucial in ensuring the smooth operation of a golf course and the enjoyment of the game for all players. Here are the key responsibilities and duties of a golf starter:

Responsibilities and Duties

A golf starter’s primary role is to manage start times, ensuring a smooth flow on the course by greeting players, checking them in, and providing essential information about the day’s conditions.

They enforce course rules, explain layouts and local instructions, and coordinate with marshals to maintain the pace of play.

Additionally, starters handle customer service tasks, including managing the tee sheet, answering phones, and assisting players, often collaborating with caddies and golf shop employees to enhance the guest experience.

Skills and Qualifications Needed

A high school diploma is typically enough for a golf starter role, though some positions may favor candidates with an associate or bachelor’s degree in business, communication, or management to develop essential skills.

Key abilities for a golf starter include strong customer service, relationship management with local businesses and the community, and organizational skills for managing tee times.

Knowledge of golf rules, problem-solving abilities, and excellent communication and interpersonal skills are also crucial, allowing starters to assist players, enforce policies, and provide clear instructions, thereby enhancing the player’s experience and promoting the golf course’s reputation.

Getting Started in Golf

Getting started in golf can be a rewarding experience. Whether you’re looking to enjoy the sport casually or aim to become a competitive player, here are the essential steps to help you begin:

Essential Equipment for Beginners

Every beginner needs essential equipment to start playing golf. Basic items include golf clubs, balls, tees, and a golf bag.

A beginner’s set typically contains a driver, fairway wood, hybrid, irons (5-9), and a putter. Wearing comfortable golf shoes with good grip can improve stability.

Protective gear, like gloves and headcovers, shields hands from blisters and clubs from damage. For instance, using a golf glove can help maintain a firm grip.

Beginners also benefit from acquiring a basic rangefinder for measuring distances on the course. Purchasing used or entry-level equipment can be cost-effective for those just starting out.

Basic Rules of Golf

Understanding basic rules simplifies the game for newcomers. Golf rules cover how to play holes, scoring methods, and course etiquette.

Players must start each hole by teeing off from designated tee boxes. The goal is to hit the ball into the hole with the fewest strokes possible.

Each course may have unique local rules, but general etiquette includes repairing divots and avoiding slow play. Caddies can assist beginners with rule clarifications if asked.

Following dress codes and respecting noise levels ensure a pleasant experience for all. An introductory lesson or guidebook can further educate novices on specific golf regulations.

Training and Preparation

Training and preparation are essential for anyone looking to improve their golf game, whether you’re a beginner or aiming to become a scratch golfer. Here’s a comprehensive guide to effective training and preparation:

Courses and Certification

Understanding courses and certification is crucial for those looking to become a golf starter. Many golf courses offer training sessions to equip starters with the necessary skills, including conflict resolution and customer service.

Certification from organizations like the PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association) can enhance a starter’s credibility and employability.

These certifications typically cover essential knowledge areas like golf rules, etiquette, and course management.

Practice Tips for Beginners

Beginners should focus on practical tips to excel in the role of a golf starter. Observing experienced starters can provide valuable insights into effective time management and communication techniques.

Regular practice of key tasks, such as greeting players and managing tee times, helps build confidence and proficiency.

Additionally, familiarizing oneself with common questions and challenges faced by players ensures better preparedness.

Career Paths for Golf Starters

Golf starters, often the first point of contact for golfers at a course, play a vital role in ensuring smooth operations and a positive experience for players.

For those looking to pursue a career path starting from this role, several opportunities and advancements are available in the golf industry. Here are some potential career paths:

Opportunities and Growth

Golf starters can advance their careers in the golf industry by gaining experience at local public courses, moving to prestigious private clubs, and networking for advanced roles like course manager or director of golf operations.

Specialized skills in tournament coordination or customer relationship management enhance career prospects, and additional courses or certifications from the PGA provide a competitive edge.

Strong leadership abilities can lead to administrative or managerial positions within golf clubs or resorts.

Average Salary Insights

The average salary for golf starters varies based on experience, location, and the type of golf course. Entry-level positions at public courses might offer hourly wages ranging from $10 to $15. Starters at private clubs or prestigious courses typically earn higher wages, sometimes between $15 and $20 per hour.

Geographic location plays a significant role in salary variations. Starters in major metropolitan areas or in locations renowned for their golf courses, such as California or Florida, often earn more than those in less prominent regions.

Additionally, golf starters may receive tips from satisfied golfers, further supplementing their income.

| Parameter                             | Details          |
| Starting Hourly Wage (Public Course)  | $10 to $15       |
| Hourly Wage (Private/Premium Courses) | $15 to $20       |
| High Earning Regions                  | California, Florida|
Maintaining excellent customer service and expanding professional networks can significantly improve a starter's earnings and career trajectory within the golf industry.

How Long Does It Takes to Become a Golf Course Starter

To become a golf course starter, the timeframe varies based on individual circumstances and training opportunities. Typically, new starters undergo several weeks of on-the-job training, depending on the complexity of the course and the individual’s prior experience.

Training and Certification

  • Initial Training: Most courses require new starters to complete initial training within 1-4 weeks. This period includes learning about course layout, tee time management, and customer interaction.
  • Ongoing Education: Many courses offer ongoing training programs to help starters stay updated with new technologies and best practices. These programs often run periodically throughout the year.

Experience and Skill Development

  • Entry-Level Positions: Individuals with no prior experience in golf or customer service might require more extended training, ranging from 4-8 weeks, to become proficient in the starter role.
  • Experienced Candidates: Those with prior experience in similar roles or customer service may find it quicker to adapt, often completing their training in under 2 weeks.

Advancement Opportunities

Career Progression: After gaining experience as a starter, individuals may advance to roles like head starter, join prestigious clubs, or specialize in tournament coordination, typically within 1-3 years based on performance and opportunities.

Building professional networks and joining industry associations can accelerate career growth.

Optional Certifications: Some golf courses encourage starters to pursue certifications from recognized golf associations, enhancing credibility and performance.

Becoming a starter usually requires 1-8 weeks of initial training, depending on prior experience and learning speed, with ongoing education and networking aiding further advancement.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a golf course starter do?

A golf course starter manages tee times, enforces rules, and provides customer service to ensure smooth operations on the course.

How long does it take to become a golf course starter?

Training to become a golf course starter can take between 1-8 weeks, depending on prior experience and individual learning pace.

Are certifications required to be a golf course starter?

Certifications are optional but can enhance a starter’s credibility and performance.

What skills are essential for a golf course starter?

Essential skills include time management, knowledge of golf rules, and strong customer service abilities.


Becoming a golf course starter requires a blend of skills, training, and dedication. With the right approach, anyone can excel in this role and potentially advance to higher positions within the golf industry.

Embracing ongoing education and networking will undoubtedly enhance one’s career prospects. Whether aiming to become a head starter or specializing in tournament coordination, the journey begins with a solid foundation and continuous improvement.

Building relationships with players and understanding the key elements of course management are fundamental. Additionally, staying updated with the latest golfing regulations and trends will keep you competitive.

Photo of author

Colin McCarthy

Golf is about mastering your misses and learning from them. I seek answers on the how and why of the golf swing, gaining experience even when answers elude me. With over 11,000 hours of teaching and a hunger for learning, I welcome any questions. My goal is to introduce golf to as many as possible, simplifying the game for all to enjoy. Passionate, eager, and ambitious, I'm here to teach, listen, and learn. LinkedIn

Leave a Comment