But I feel guilty about spending so much time and money on a leisure activity. Because I’m spending so much time on it, I’d like it to make a little money from it.
Can you actually make extra money in the golf industry? When I ask that question to you, what comes to mind? The PGA Tour?
One might assume that’s the only way you can make money in this industry, but they’re overlooking a lot of smaller ways you can get paid. Some you could do full-time. Most you can do part-time to make a little extra cash.
Here’s a deeper look into how you can make money in the golf world:
Table of Contents
1. Build, Franchise, or Invest in a “New Golf” Business
Golf is in the beginning phases of a massive disruption. The game is getting younger, faster, and more accessible to the general public. It started with businesses like Top Golf. And now we’re seeing reiventions of mini golf, driving ranges, indoor facilities, and instruction.
Check out these businesses for inspiration or to start as a franchisee:
- Puttery (indoor mini golf)
- Dryvebox (mobile instruction)
- Popstroke (Tiger Woods’ mini golf franchise)
- Driveshack (like Top Golf)
- 3’s (lighted par 3 course)
You see the trend here. If you can make golf more accessible and less about the 18-hole country club scene then you can probably find a place in the market and cash-in.
2. Invest in Golf Stocks
There are several golf companies that are publicly traded, including Callaway Golf Company, Golf Galaxy, Inc., and Dick’s Sporting Goods, Inc. These companies are listed on major stock exchanges and their stocks can be purchased by individual investors through a brokerage account.
Other publicly traded companies in the golf industry include Acushnet Holdings Corp., TaylorMade Golf Company, and Mizuno USA, Inc. It is important to note that the list of publicly traded golf companies may change over time, and it is always a good idea to research and carefully consider any investment before making a decision.
— Vinh Tram (@v1nvest) May 26, 2022
Did you know there are also golf-related NFT (Crypto) projects that have potential for appreciation? Here’s the story of how I invested in one: How to Buy an NFT [Exactly What I Bought and How]
3. Work as a Golf Pro
Here’s the obvious one. Working part-time as a golf pro has got to be one of the most fun ways to earn extra money.
You get to do what you love, be around what you love, and teach others as well. Golf pros are naturally going to be good with people, as they have a lot to coordinate and do.
Most clubs require you to have a minimum of a high school diploma, though some want some college or even a degree, so it’s best to check with the places you see yourself working first.
Other good certifications are First Aid and CPR, which you can complete at one of these online training sites.
Both test your knowledge of golf, understanding of the sport, and ability.
Once you have your certifications, you can expect to have a wide variety of choices when it comes to how you fill your days.
Your coveted role might be teaching other players how to improve and perfect their game, both physically and mentally.
But you may also be interested in the business side of golf, managing employees, overseeing the maintenance of the club, and buying merchandise.
Either way, you’ll probably be doing things like running daily sales and play reports and overseeing tournaments and events.
You’ll be able to have your hands in all kinds of pots both in the club and on the course.
If you like being busy, focused, and working in a fast-paced environment, consider being a golf pro.
Once you have enough experience, all kinds of new opportunities might arise. For instance, golf pros often work as a consultant for golf equipment manufacturers – giving input to the design of clubs, balls, and clothing.
Who knows, one day your work might lead to consulting with clubs and resorts on designing the course itself, or ways it can be improved.
4. Play in Cash Tournaments
This is the pinnacle of ways to make money in the golf industry. Play the game and get paid!
Luckily there’s more than just the PGA tour out there, so if you think you have what it takes, this could be a fun way to make extra money in golf.
Minor League Golf
The Minor League Golf Tour was founded as a way for anyone with the dream of playing professional golf to have a shot.
Their fee structure and payout formula, even their event schedule, is set in such a way that you can continue working while playing on their tour.
It’s a great way to make a little money while you play, keep your day job, and actively work towards your dream of playing professionally. They pay out deep, not top-heavy, so you can expect to make a little while playing.
You need to have a Handicap of 6 or less.
Here’s a video of Micah Morris playing in the Minor League Golf Tour:
Korn Ferry Tour (formerly Web.com Tour)
The Korn Ferry Tour is the developmental tour for the bigger PGA tour and features golfers that don’t have quite enough points to qualify for the PGA tour or those who haven’t kept up enough points to stay in the PGA tour.
This is one of the top tours golfers target and the oldest in the U.S. It’s also the third-largest tour behind the PGA Tour and the Korn Ferry Tour. The SwingThought Tour is on haitus after the unfortunate passing of the founder.
The Gateway Tour runs tournaments in Arizona, California, and Florida, and features college players trying to develop their talents while still making a good living. At the time of this article it wasn’t clear whether this tour was still active.
The Challenge Tour
A second-tier tour that’s played in Europe, the Challenge Tour is operated by the PGA European tour. Players who are successful on the Challenge Tour are offered a spot on the European tour the next year.
The FairWay Golf Tour is based in Texas and Oklahoma and offers a solid opportunity to make money in golf, even for players with a handicap like mine (~12). They have over $8 Million in career earnings paid out to professional golfers. I tried a tournament on this tour once and quickly discovered I wasn’t cut out for it.
5. Work at Golf Equipment Supply Stores
Maybe you just want to immerse yourself in the sport, and you aren’t picky about making your money out on the course or getting extra credentials.
Working at golf supply stores can have you talking golf with customers, learning about all the equipment, and even giving you discounts on buying the latest and greatest.
Make extra money by working part-time at your local golf store or at any of these major stores:
6. Be a Mystery Shopper for Golf Courses
Did you know you could be a mystery shopper for your local golf courses? You play 18 holes and use the services and amenities, and then submit your feedback.
The only prerequisite is that you need to own your own clubs, and have played at least 3 times in the last year. You’ll be evaluating things like the driving range, pro-shop, beverage cart, and food.
Some mystery shoppers are asked to check on the greens and fairways, making sure they’re nice and don’t have divots. You’ll also analyze the staff for friendliness, and the other amenities in the club, like dining or spa services.
Typically payment for mystery shopping is around $50, and you’ll be reimbursed for range and green fees, as well as cart fees.
Some companies will also give you a stipend for a drink, lunch, and something from the pro-shop, depending on what they want you to analyze later.
Of course, it’s not a steady income, but it is a way to make a little money while spending a free day on the course.
Check out 59club for mystery golfing opportunities.
7. Become a Golf Influencer
You can become a golf influencer in a variety of ways. It doesn’t matter if you’re a pro, an instructor, or you just look good while you’re out there. Anyone can grow a social media following in their chosen interest.
The goal is to have enough followers that are engaging on your platform that companies will want to hire you to promote their products.
Sometimes these companies will pay you only for free products, and sometimes you’ll make cash plus products.
The way you set your pricing and what you’ll accept is up to you, but keep in mind that saying yes to the former when you’re small is how you grow to the latter.
Your job is to be creative and create content that people love to consume and engage with. The better your engagement, the more lucrative your influencer deals can be.
When you have a high number of quality followers, you can start to pitch companies your influencer services.
8. Work on the Course or in the Pro Shop
The golf course itself needs quite a few workers to keep it running smoothly. Oftentimes you can get a free membership if you work at the course as well, meaning you’re making extra cash while immersed in the golf world and get to play for (almost) free.
Consider working part-time in the pro-shop, helping people find things they need or want for their game.
The course also might need starters or rangers. Maybe you can do green maintenance or other jobs to keep the course looking good. I did course maintenance in college. It was a cheap way to learn the game.
Of course, you can work in the food service or beverage cart as well. These are all great ways to have a permanent side income coming from the golf industry.
9. Write for Golf Related Publications and Websites
Right now you’re reading an article about golf that someone wrote, why couldn’t it have been you? There are a plethora of websites and publications that hire writers who are experienced in the game to create content for their readers.
Not only that, there are other websites and publications that might buy golf-related content, even if it’s not immediately related. For example, maybe you can pitch a parenting website an article about being a golf dad.
Good content can pay well, anywhere from $50-$400 per article, and more. Don’t be afraid to start at the lower end and work your way up, because this is one side hustle that pays for your passion on the subject.
Furthermore, you can write a golf-related ebook if you have some knowledge to share, or a particular way to share it.
This can fit really well if you’re also an influencer since you have a built-in market to buy your book. Ebooks are also great to draw people into an online course, which is my next point.
10. Create an Online Educational Course
If you have a secret, a skill, or a great method of teaching, consider creating an online course. It doesn’t have to be as straightforward as “this is how you swing a club”. Think outside the box. What do people need that you can teach them? How can you add value to someone’s game? How can you help them level up?
People are happy to pay for expertise, so if you’ve got something to share that would thrive in an online or video format, an online course is a great way to make extra money in the golf industry. It has the added bonus of doing the majority of the work upfront and continuing to pay you down the road.
Good example: Luke Kwon’s Golf Course Management Program
More Ideas: 5 Golf Side Hustles
- Club fitting: Offer custom golf club fitting services to help golfers choose the right clubs for their game.
- Golf course photography: Take high-quality photos of golf courses and sell them to golf course owners, magazines, websites, or other publications.
- Tournament planning: Plan and organize golf tournaments for corporate clients or other groups.
- Equipment repair: Offer repair services for golf clubs, golf balls, and other golf equipment.
- Travel planning: Help golfers plan their golf vacations, including booking tee times, lodging, and transportation.
- Flipping golf clubs and balls: Find golf clubs or balls on the cheap (at garage sales or thrift shops) and resell them online.
Final Thoughts on Making Money in Golf
Now that you understand there are a bunch of different ways to make money within the golf world, your next step would be to figure out which ones you’re good at, and which work with the time you have available.
For some people, working on the course is it, you’re out there, with the people, talking shop. For others, they don’t want to give up potential playing days to work, so maybe some of the online options would be better for them.
Maybe you’re not the best teacher but you can easily show people which product works best for them. Playing around with what fits your strengths can narrow down which of these works for you, and gets you one step closer to your golf side hustle.
What ideas do you have for making money in golf? Share them below.