What does the role of a Golf Club Manager involve?

A Golf Club Manager manages a business that predominantly seeks to attract and retain customers who wish to play golf on an occasional, monthly or weekly basis, paying anything from a one off, daily rate all the way through to an annual membership fee.

As well as using the golf course (for recreational/competitive purposes), those customers will, to a greater or lesser extent, take advantage of any activities/services provided through the golf shop, range or practice area, restaurant & bar, and other closely related areas (e.g. gym, spa, crèche, etc.).

Those activities/services will be provided by individuals (primarily Head Greenkeeper, Professional, Steward/Caterer/Food & Beverage Manager) with their own level of operational expertise, and the manager’s role will be to ensure that those individuals work together as a cohesive team with common objectives towards the overall financial objectives of the golf club, delivering an appropriate customer experience along the way.

Why has the Diploma in Golf Club Management been created?

Most occupations of the magnitude of a Golf Club manager have qualifications that are reflective of the job role and context in which the role is undertaken. These qualifications are usually underpinned by National Occupational Standards and related to an Educational Framework.

National Occupational Standards provide benchmarks of good practice for tasks and responsibilities of the job role (in a wide range of occupations), and Educational Framework’s help ensure that the knowledge and understanding, skills and competencies that are assessed are appropriate to the level of responsibility faced by the individual in the workplace.

To date golf club management has not put that type of qualification in place in the same way as other industries have, particularly the leadership and management sector. The GCMA recognised the need to professionalise the management role as the industry, and golf clubs themselves, evolve. This view was supported by other governing bodies within golf including the R&A, home unions and associated golf organisations such as PGA and BIGGA. Indeed, within golf greenkeepers, golf professionals and golf coaches all have qualifications based on this premise. As such, in developing this set of qualifications, the Golf Club Management Partnership are following a tried and tested methodology, recognised across a broad section of workplaces in industries across GB&I.

The second reason the Golf Club Management Partnership chose to develop the qualification in this manner, is that we identified a need to recognise that learners are coming into management from a variety of backgrounds, with a variety of experiences, qualifications and levels of work based learning. As such we have built a qualification that is flexible to the needs of the learner allowing a wide range of suitable candidates, whether in post or aspiring to be so, to study the role and demonstrate their aptitude, knowledge and skill.

What is the Diploma in Golf Club Management?

Created and delivered by the three partner organisations of the Golf Club Management Partnership – GCMA, BIGGA and PGA – the Diploma in Golf Club Management is a nationally recognised and accredited golf management qualification.

With an emphasis on flexible learning, the Diploma covers all the core skills required to manage a golf club, and notably is an externally Quality Assured qualification, regulated by Ofqual (Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) whose role is to maintain standards and confidence in qualifications.

The Diploma, the ONLY industry focused qualification of its type, is available to Members of all three organisations and is predominantly delivered online, with optional supplementary face to face workshops. Study is aided by workbooks and case studies written by industry experts and serving golf club managers.

Representing a fundamental shift to the approach to professionalism and education in golf club management, the three bodies that represent those who run and manage golf courses and clubs have combined forces to create a golf specific qualification. Suitable for various levels of skills and experience, the Diploma is aimed at existing managers, and those looking to move into the profession, perhaps from related roles in the golf management industry.

The units of the Diploma qualification are:

  • Leading and Managing People in a Golf Club
  • Developing and Managing a Socially Responsible Golf Club
  • Managing Change in a Golf Club
  • Managing Innovation and Growth in a Golf Club
  • Managing the Finances of a Golf Club
  • Marketing of a Golf Club
  • Keeping up to date with Legislation of a Golf Club
  • Managing the Operations of a Golf Club
  • Understanding Personal and Enterprising Behaviours and Skills

Do I have to do the entire Diploma or can I just do part of it?

For anyone looking to specialise in a particular area of the industry, or to supplement existing experience, there is an option to complete pre-defined, individual ASQ Level 5 Certificates:

  • Golf Operations and Management of People
  • Finance, Legislation and Marketing in Golf
  • Enterprise, Innovation and Management of Change in Golf

Each Certificate has an 18-month registration period. If all three Certificates are successfully completed, you will be awarded the Diploma in Golf Club Management.

In addition, the 1-day workshops are open to GCMA, PGA and BIGGA members for CPD (if there is space), even if they are not enrolled on the qualifications.

How does it differ from the CMAE CCM route?

This is a different learning experience as it is remote learning, supported by workshops which are discretionary but recommended. Students can study at their own pace, at any time. The MDP programme is made up of several residential weeklong courses, which does create an element of ‘community’ of the students but adds to the cost of the MDP route. Currently anyone entering the MDP programme must start at MDP1 – regardless of any prior learning or professional qualifications. The Diploma enables students to go straight to the unit assessments, bypassing the learning programme, if they wish and feel they have sufficient knowledge and experience to complete them.

The Diploma is formally accredited and awarded by ASQ and is the only vocational golf club management qualification on the ‘Regulated Qualifications Framework’ (RQF). The qualification is a regulated qualification in England, Ireland and Wales. It is a business qualification but focused on the golf industry – as is the MDP programme.

The content, such as the Social Responsibility, Innovation and Personal Enterprise modules, is very much forward looking and fit for the 21st century. We envisage that this will create a clear pathway to further higher-level vocational golf management qualifications in the future.


How much does it cost and is there a payment scheme?

There is a payment structure spread over six months, and you can view the pricing structure here.

Do I have to be a member to do this?

For those who are not already a GCMA member, they must enrol as a member prior to their induction day. If you are not eligible for membership and do not currently work in a golfing facility then you can apply for “Associate” membership which will run for the duration of the Diploma. This will give you access to GCMA resources within the members-only library, which may help you complete a number of workbook activities.

When does it start?

The next induction date is 23 October 2024. At present, two Induction Days take place each year.

Do I have to be employed at a club to do this?

The qualifications are aimed at anyone wishing to work in or currently working in golf club management. All students completing the diploma, or a certificate, must have access to certain golf club information, such as HR records, strategic plans, inventory lists etc., to complete the workbook assessments, therefore, it is useful to have a Club sponsor such as a President or Club Captain to allow them to do so.

What is the professional qualification?

ASQ Accredited Level 5 Diploma or ASQ Accredited Level 5 Certificate.

Is it industry recognised?

It is. As well as being recognised by the education bodies and being aligned with the Home Unions and recruitment companies, it is envisaged that this will become a pre-requisite for future employment in the role of Golf Club Manager.

How long will it take to complete?

This depends on the previous knowledge and understanding, experience and successes that a learner brings with them to the first day of the qualification. Those with the appropriate level of knowledge and understanding of the subject areas will be better placed to complete the qualification in a shorter space of time. The period of maximum registration for the Diploma is 3 years, and for a certificate 18 months

Does this contribute towards my CPD record?

Yes. All time spent on the qualification, whether attending a workshop or engaged in independent study can contribute towards PGA Members’ learning hours on an annual basis.

On completion PGA Professionals will be provided with a certificate from ASQ so that it can be added as a structured formal learning opportunity on their CPD record.

The GCMA allocate 300 CPD credits to anyone successfully completing the diploma. BIGGA allocate 72 credits. The Certificates attract 150 credits for GCMA members and 24 credit for BIGGA members. The 1-day workshops attract 25 credits for the GCMA and 1 credit per hour for BIGGA members.

Is this a pass/fail or graded qualification?

Pass/fail only.

What if I fail this?

You can re-submit any relevant course work and have this re-assessed – but there will be a small admin charge of £60 per unit when work is re-assessed.

Will it help me get a job in golf club management?

We hope so, but obviously there are no guarantees. The goal is to have these qualifications as a minimum requirement for golf club management vacancies within the industry, therefore having completed the qualification should be a major career progression step.

How do I submit my course work?

Via The PGA’s bespoke Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) - Canvas. Use of this system will be explained in detail at the Induction day and is monitored throughout your term of the course.

Are the workshops mandatory?

They are not mandatory but highly recommended. If studying for the Diploma, you can pay for all 9 workshops upfront for £450 or just pay for the specific ones you wish to attend at £95 each. The bundle workshop price is not available for those studying one of the three certificates.

Who delivers the workshops & where do they take place?

Leigh Sear of SFEDI, who helped the partner organisations to create the Diploma and Certificates. The workshops are held at the PGA National Training Academy at The Belfry, Birmingham.

What does ASQ stand for?

Associated Sports Qualification. ASQ is a regulated awarding organisation and is independent of any other body. It meets all regulatory assessment criteria and standards which enables it to award education qualifications.

What does Level 5 mean? How does this equate to education standards?

This equates with a Foundation degree course. The formal award is either a Certificate or Diploma dependent on the number of units completed.

Can I start the Diploma or a Certificate before attending the induction day?

All students MUST attend the induction day prior to starting the Diploma or a Certificate.

It will:

  • Set expectations of the student,
  • Help them understand the systems, process, timescales, requirements and standards expected,
  • Aid with consistency between learners and learning experience, and,
  • Help develop peer groups who can offer mutual support whilst completing the workbook assessments.

How does this sit with the GCMA’s Introduction to Golf Club Management course?

The Diploma is seen as the next step in the GCMA education pathway, however, The Introduction course is not a pre-requisite to taking the Diploma.

How do I apply for the Diploma or a Certificate?

You will need to complete the form with your details. On receipt you will be sent a Pre Admission Review (PAR) form for completion which allows you to detail your experience around the nine modules of the Diploma. Assuming you meet the criteria, then you will be eligible for the course and your place will be secured on payment of the course fee.

Apply now

What is the eligibility criteria?

  • Learners must be at least 19 years old.
  • Educated normally to a standard of QCF/RQF Level 3 or equivalent. i.e. GCE AS or A-Level
  • Vocational experience is desirable, not essential.
  • A commitment to attend specified induction dates.
  • Member or Associate Member of Golf Club Managers Association.

Regarding access to the qualifications, it is the Approved Centre’s responsibility to ensure that;

  • They are made available to everyone who is capable of reaching the required standards.
  • There should be Equal opportunities for all wishing to access the qualifications.

What's next?

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