Summer job at golf course!!???
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I used to caddy, but it depends on where you live as not a lot of courses have them these days. A friend of mine used to pick up the driving range which gave him the chance to hit all the balls he wanted.
I would expect you to improve a lot if you practiced regularly, particularly if you had good instruction and/or were working on the right things.
Act like you are ambitious enough to work and don't mind doing anything.
I'm pretty sure if a kid had walked up where I work in the last week or two and really wanted to work we would have handed them a shovel, showed them where a broken irrigation line was, and told them to start digging.
If the owner didn't want to pay for it I might have paid for it myself.
I know several young men who have done this. They are in college now and still work at the local course. Go ahead and ask. Make sure you get your parents permission. Some states require this below 16. Courses are always looking for new employees to replace the ones that have graduated to their careers.
Get a job helping out on the greens crew at a local club or course. It's hard work, but it would teach you a lot about the golf course and nature side of the sport. And, you might be able to come up with biology class project about growing turf, maintaining trees, etc.
Working greens crew would help you as a player, too. Learn about different turf grasses, how greens are mowed, how sand bunkers are all about.
And, as @peiserma said, downplay the fact you want to play golf. Make sure they know you're willing to work hard. You should ask other employees about whether they get to play any golf. Rules on employees playing golf would vary from course to course.
As for playing golf, a lot of greenskeeping work takes place early in the morning. So, you would have time for golf later in the afternoon.
To the OP...... If you can find a course with a caddy program, I highly recommend it. I spent 3 years at your age as a caddy and it was one of the best experiences of my life. You will bust your butt, but you'll have a lot of fun, will develop a good work ethic, earn good money, learn a lot about the game (and human nature), and may make contacts with adults that will benefit you moving forward.
One thing to note is that most courses require you to be at least 18 to work in the pro shop, just for the purpose of serving alcohol should the person at the bar be in the bathroom or something. I also know that most city-owned courses require you to be 16 years old and have a valid driver's license since you're then considered an employee of the city.
However, private courses are fair game for anybody to get a job. Just make sure you come in, both to apply and to interview if they call you after your application, dressed like a golfer. Slacks or nice shorts, a belt, collared t-shirt and maybe a hat. I went in to try and get a job from the superintendent of the course to rake bunkers in the morning and ended up with that and a job as starter/outside services because I looked more like a golfer than the person the pro shop head was originally going to hire.
Just an overview of the jobs that I currently do at my home course:
- Raking bunkers before play begins on the weekends. We get in at 5:30 and usually are done by 7:30 (on a course with about 50 bunkers). You use a vehicle similar to a 3-wheeled ATV that has a harrow attached to the back of it and you drag it through the bunkers to rake them smooth. My course likes them to be done in a tight circular pattern, but it varies from course to course. Very minimal manual labor unless you "curtain" the greenside bunkers by raking all along the edges by hand to even out the lip of the bunker around it's circumference.
- As a starter you are responsible for ensuring that the tee times go out smoothly and on time. My course has me mark down cart numbers and receipt numbers (it helps them return things like missing headcovers that are left in the carts) as well as help introduce the golfers and explain a couple key pieces of course information to them. For example, I tell them about our policy of leaving rakes inside the bunkers, let them know of the pin position that day, and notify them of our pace of play policy (keep up with the group ahead and you're usually good). At my course the starter is also the marshal who goes out during a space in the tee times and checks that everyone is on pace. They give you a large sheet with times on it that tells you how long it should take a group to finish a specific hole depending upon the time they teed off (another great reason to keep cart numbers on the tee sheet, it helps you tell which group is which when you're checking pace of play). Generally my job is to be friendly, helpful (watching tee shots, keeping scorecards, pencils, and yardage books on hand) and help make sure that the group has fun. My course has a pretty laid back atmosphere (the website states, "We are not normal! That's not a warning, but a promise.") so I'm also encouraged to make some jokes and socialize with the golfers as long as it's appropriate. This changes from course to course though. This job has very minimal labor, as you spend most of your time either sitting or standing and talking to golfers on the first tee. You do meet many new people though, so I wouldn't recommend applying for this job if you find yourself uncomfortable with remaining in a social atmosphere (you will beat the weather and local sports teams to death five times over) for extended periods of time.
- As someone who works outside services your primary jobs are washing carts to line up for customers, keeping the range ball dispensing machine full of range balls (customers tend to get upset if they don't get range balls they paid for, not sure why), and picking the range to replenish the range ball supply. When washing carts it's usually not like how you would wash and wax a car, but more of a once-over spraying to knock off any mud or dirt that might be on the cart and wiping down the seats and windshield. Once that is done you load up a yardage book, scorecard, and pencil onto the cart. My course also has you fill out a whiteboard for the pro shop that shows what order the carts are lined up in to make it easier for them to give a cart to someone. Picking the range is easy, with the hardest part being attaching the actual contraption that picks up the balls. Just drive around the range as a nice moving target to pick up the balls and empty the little baskets (where balls are deposited by the disks that pick them up) into larger barrels on the back of the cart. You then take those barrels and empty them into the machine that dispenses said balls to be hit back onto the range. Occasionally the course might have a corporate group come out, or host a special event, that requires special preparation of one or more carts. Our course usually just has you prepare a cooler of water bottles as well as a wet and dry rolled towel in the cupholders for these groups. On Memorial Day (today) the outside services person also was responsible for making sure the flags (course, state, and US) were flying at half-staff. This job has you doing a little bit of everything outside that needs to be done to ensure good service. Whether that be fixing a leaking sprinkler head that someone ran over to setting up a buffet in the pavilion, it has a little bit of everything.
Of course, the jobs available depend on the opening at the course where you intend to submit your application, as well as the jobs that a course even has. Some courses don't have starters, but instead announce the next golfer from the PA system in the pro shop. My two biggest pieces of advice though would be to dress nicely as a golfer, and to apply early at multiple courses. I applied to three different courses in March and was fortunate enough to be hired by the one nearest my house, but there are usually a limited number of spots for summer jobs just so that each person can have a reasonable number of hours.