Teeing up success: A guide to recruiting the perfect golf club employee

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick March 7, 2024 10:44

Having worked with golf clubs for many years now, I know firsthand how important the recruitment process is.

Get the right employee, and your life will be easier, your club will be stronger and all will be rosy.

Get it wrong, and it’s the exact opposite.

Too often we’re having to help clubs deal with employees they really shouldn’t have hired in the first place, which is why today, I’m walking you through our recruitment process, all with the aim of helping you get a team member that’ll add value, not take it away.

1. Know your needs

Before you begin your search, identify the specific roles you need to fill. Whether it’s a hospitality expert for the clubhouse, or a skilled greenkeeper, understanding your requirements will guide your recruitment process. Don’t just approach it from the angle ‘we are all really busy, so let’s hire a new person’.

Since Covid, any employees, let alone good ones, are in short supply, which means that you might not be able to find anyone at all to fill the role.

Therefore the first step, before starting the recruitment process, is to see if you can tweak what your current employees are doing – remove tasks that are no longer relevant, find more efficient ways to handle the tasks that remain, make sure you are not having two employees in at the same time when one employee can deal with the work by themselves (such as the chef in the kitchen).

Once you have done that, and still have a gap in your team, then move on to the next step.

2. Craft a compelling job advert

Your job advert is your first impression – make it stand out!

The last few years have changed things drastically, and you’re now competing with a lot of other employers for limited staff; it really is an employee’s market at the moment.

You need to highlight the unique aspects of your golf club: the training, benefits (salary, free meals) and so on.

Candidates (especially the right ones!) will be interested in growth and promotion opportunities. Only after you’ve made your job attractive, should you start defining the qualities and qualifications you’re looking for in an ideal candidate. Be specific and upfront about responsibilities at this stage – if they have to work evenings / weekends, state it in the job advert.

You are not allowed to state in a job advert that the successful candidate will need to be young, enthusiastic (synonym for young), strong, male, tall, big-breasted (for clubhouse staff), straight or anything else that could be classed discriminatory. If you’re found to be discriminating against any of the protected characteristics (age, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, disability, race, religion) you can be taken to tribunal even for something at the advert stage.

3. Get the job out there!

Utilise online job platforms: Tap into the power of online job platforms to reach a wider audience. Websites like Indeed, LinkedIn and specialised golf industry job boards (GCMA, BiGGA, Colt Mackenzie McNair and so on) can help you connect with potential candidates. Ensure your job listing is eye-catching and easily searchable.

4. Conduct thorough interviews

Once you’ve got your pool of candidates, conduct thorough interviews to assess their skills, experience and cultural fit with your club.

Don’t just ask them if they know how to do things, get them to show you. If the general manager needs to be able to read a profit and loss sheet, give him a mock sheet to read and interpret. If finance has to use Excel or Xero, get them to show you how to do a task using the software. If clubhouse staff have to be able to build instant rapport, get them to do a role play with a new person as part of the interview.

If they need to know about licensing laws, follow advice from STRI about the course or understand governance of a private members’ club, make sure that you ask them open questions to gauge their knowledge level.

And remember, the candidate should be doing more talking than the people interviewing them.

6. Ask for references and DBS checks

DON’T skip the reference check! Contact previous employers to confirm that they actually worked in the roles they said they did. You might be able to get more information on them than this, but even just the confirmation that their CV is correct is worth something. Also bear in mind that candidates will only suggest you speak to people who will say nice things about them. We came across an extreme example once – a judge testifying to the candidate’s honesty; we then found out that the candidate had been convicted of fraud!

If the candidate will be in contact with children (under 16) then you must get them to do an enhanced DBS check (England Golf can organise this for you). If they have anything to do with cash / money, we strongly recommend getting a standard DBS check done, just in case.

7. Consider cultural fit

Your golf club likely has a unique culture and atmosphere. Consider whether the candidate aligns with your club’s values, vision and member expectations. A good cultural fit ensures a harmonious workplace and enhances the overall experience for members. However, don’t just recruit a ‘mini me’ of the membership – you want the best person for the job, not the one who looks most like the members.

8. Familiarise yourself with UK employment laws

Understanding UK employment laws is crucial to a successful hiring process. Make sure you comply with regulations related to equal opportunities, discrimination and fair treatment. Do not ask questions such as ‘Do you have a disability?’ These questions could lead to you being sued. If you need some help on crafting the correct way to ask questions, please give us a call!

9. Provide clear contracts

Once you’ve found the ideal candidate, provide a clear and comprehensive employment contract. All employees need to have a written contract by the end of the first day of working for you. The contract protects you, the employer, not them.


Recruiting the ideal employee for your golf club in the UK is a process that requires thought, effort and consideration, from crafting a compelling job advert to understanding and adhering to employment laws. By doing it properly, you’ll be well on your way to building a team that enhances the experience for members and contributes to the success of your golf club. So, grab your (metaphorical) golf clubs, tee up success and watch your team drive your club to new heights.

For advice on any staff or member issue affecting your golf club, please contact Carolyne Wahlen, Golf HR, on cw@golfhr.co.uk or 01491 598 700


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick March 7, 2024 10:44
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