One in three greenkeepers want to leave

By Alistair July 31, 2022 07:32

A survey of 1,300 greenkeepers in the UK has found that more than a third are currently looking for work outside of golf.

The British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) poll of its members found more than half (56 percent) said they were happy working within the greenkeeping profession, but 35 percent admitted they were currently looking for opportunities outside the industry.

With regard to issues of recruitment, 53 percent are running with teams at less than full strength, while 83.5 percent said they struggle to recruit new staff.

Less than two percent of greenkeepers say they’re finding it easy to get staff in place if they have a vacancy, with 47 percent saying this is ‘very difficult’.

The boom in golf that followed the first coronavirus lockdown has translated to a general increase in staffing numbers, with golf clubs having on average one extra full time greenkeeper compared to the previous poll in 2019. In 2019 the average 18-hole golf course had 5.5 full-time and one seasonal greenkeeper. In 2022 that number has increased to 6.3 with 1.6 seasonal greenkeepers.

However, investment in staff welfare facilities hasn’t materialised, with, for example, only one in five facilities offering single sex changing facilities and toilets for female team members. Despite increased reliance on technology, nearly half of clubs don’t provide internet connectivity within the greenkeeping facility.

Thirty percent of clubs don’t provide an office for the greenkeeping team and 29 percent don’t provide greenkeepers with kitchen or changing facilities.

The average course manager or head greenkeeper has been in their role for nine years and six months. This is a drop from the 12 years and three months in 2019, suggesting a greater number of people changing jobs or leaving the industry entirely.

More than 70 percent of clubs do not follow the Committee for Golf Club Salaries guidelines for pay for greenkeepers.

BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton said: “The key is what the game of golf does with this information.”


By Alistair July 31, 2022 07:32

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