Greenkeeper Salaries Down For Second Consecutive Year - Survey Finds

The survey, conducted by Hillier Hopkins, found that Head Greenkeeper remuneration packages have fallen for the second successive year

Greenkeepers mow a fairway
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Being a greenkeeper is an extremely tough job - unpredictable weather conditions, limited running costs and sometimes lack of staff are just some of the problems they face on a regular basis.   

Moreover, in a recent survey conducted by Hillier Hopkins, it seems that their pay is also reducing, with head greenkeeper remuneration packages at 'members' clubs falling for the second successive year. The proportion earning in excess of £50,000 reduced from 29% in 2019 to 24% last year, then again to just 21% in 2021.

It's not much better at 'proprietary' clubs, with the head greenkeeper's remuneration package also lower than that of previous years. In 2019, all were in the £35-£45,000 range. In 2020, 17% were even in the £50,000+ plus range. However, this year, over half (52%) are now earning between £25-£35,000.

Greenkeepers gets the course ready

Greenkeepers prepare the Old Course before The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Currently, an average greenkeeper's salary in the UK is £20,000 per year, around £10.26 per hour, some £6,000 less than the average salary in the UK which, in 2021, stood at £25,971. It is also worth noting that entry level positions start at around £17,955 per year, whilst the most experienced workers can make up to £26,500 per year.

This is somewhat sad to see considering that, in a recent BIGGA survey, the majority of course managers express concern about a member of their team's mental health. 

The BIGGA survey of 200 members, found that - 7% constantly worry about their own mental health, 20% frequently worry, 41% admit to sometimes worrying, whilst a very high 80% said they had worried about the mental health of someone they work with, with 8% claiming that their worries were constant.

Greenstaff at The Open

A greenkeeper makes, on average, £20,000 a year

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Hillier Hopkins survey, which involved 72 'member 'clubs and 29 'proprietary' clubs, reported around an 80% increase in membership over the last year, making it a worrying time for greenkeeping staff. More traffic on the course means more work needs to be done. Is that to be expected from someone who is now earning less money?

Not only has membership increased, but overall golf participation has sky-rocketed, with a recent survey revealing that more than 5.7 million people played golf of some form in 2020, up from just over 2.3 million participants in 2019. It has also been revealed that the number of rounds of golf played in Great Britain continues to rise, increasing for the fourth consecutive year in 2021.

With an increase in earnings for roles like Secretary/Manager, with both 'members' and 'proprietary' clubs seeing a significant percentage rise, why haven't greenkeeper wages increased? How is that their pay has reduced while the club's income hasn't?

What are your thoughts? Let us know on Golf Monthly's Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages.

Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.

Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.

Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x