It is amazing to me how many people want to work in the golf industry. Given the passion behind the sport, it is not too surprising, but each year I attend the PGA Merchandise Show down in Orlando, Florida, and am shocked at how many golf companies (or maybe a better term, “golf concepts”) exist. Ranging from equipment, apparel, media, training aids, and everything in-between, there's a lot of different organizations and opportunities for everyone.
Only being in the golf industry for a few years and never having worked at any of these companies, I do not know the real companies stories and culture, but I hope my opinion of the top 3 companies to work for in golf help provide some perspective from an “insider’s, outside view.”
The Golf Channel just celebrated its 20th anniversary this year at the PGA Show. As a media network, most people only understand the Golf Channel as “what they see on TV.” Being an insider in the Golf Industry, television is just a small part of the Golf Channel business. Just take a look at the business solutions website and you can see the variety of products and services Golf Channel offers from GolfNowReservations, GolfNowOne, GolfNowConnect and the Golf Channel Amateur Tour.
Watching the Golf Channel grow, and control much of the golf media landscape, I would not be concerned for job security working for the Golf Channel, variety of jobs, and opportunity to grow professionally. If you are interested in an insider’s opinion, I would check out the Golf Channel profile on Glassdoor. Golf Channel has golf jobs all across the country, but the majority of their employees work in Orlando, FL which is a nice warm spot to work, especially if you are a golfer.
Many people confuse the PGA Tour and the PGA of America since they used to be the same entity. To confirm, the PGA Tour is the non-profit entity chartered with operating the professional golf tournaments across the country. The PGA Tour is based in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL although they run events all across the country making the opportunity to work in different areas of the US a reality. The tour offers a variety of positions from entry level all the way to senior leadership for media, tournament operations, ticket sales, sponsorship, social media, and programming.
It is pretty impressive to see the Tour continue to make efforts catering to the next generation including investments in technology, a slick new website, and even investments in the next generation of golfers through organizations like the First Tee.
A fun fact from We Are Golf, the industry coalition helping support the image of the game, states “The PGA Tour donates more money annually than the NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB combined.” Smart, exciting, charitable, and opportunities for growth make me confident that the PGA Tour is one of the top companies to work for in golf.
Kemper Sports is a golf management company based in Chicago, IL that owns, operates and manages golf courses around the country. Nextgengolf has run a number of college golf tournaments at Kemper managed courses and we have been very pleased with the events run a Kemper. Being a process-oriented guy, I can clearly see the diligence, process, and quality which Kemper runs their operations.
Chicago is a great city and ranked one of the top cities to work in as a young professional. I think it would be pretty fun to work for Kemper at the home office or at a host site given they manage some of the best courses in the country including Bandon Dunes and Streamsong. I do not know the accuracy of this statement, but I would assume employees get free or heavily discounted golf at the Kemper facilities which would be a pretty solid perk of the golf job.
I hope the above information helps provide some context on the top companies to work for in golf. I am hopeful in a few years I will be able to put Nextgen on this list. If you are looking to get a golf job, the Nextgen job board lists positions from across the industry in golf and could be a helpful resource for you as well.
**Kris Hart is the CEO of Nextgengolf and is passionate about helping 18-34 year old golfers succeed.