Under the Elements: Importance of an Outside Services Position

by Brian Dobak
February 22, 2010

For some, working under the elements in an outside services position may not be a lot of fun or gratifying, but believe it or not, there may not be a more important job in a golf operation. We all have heard many times that the outside services staff is the first line of contact that members and guests have during their experience at your club. Often times, this is very true. As the "front line", it is the point of a member or guests first impression and it can often make or break their experience throughout the day. Teams always want to get off to a good start and surf on that momentum. Starting off poorly plants a bad seed in an experience, it will likely put you behind the eight-ball and you may not be able to recover.

With that said, an outside position is not all about "pushing carts" and "scrubbing clubs". Look deeper to see the true importance of it. Its about delegation, organization, multitasking, communication, and customer service. If you hold a Director of Outside Services position, you may be responsible for a handful of areas: Valet, bag storage, driving range management, golf cart maintenance, staff scheduling, and tournament preparation. And if we were to break these individual areas down into smaller parts, you would surely begin to see just how vital the outside services operation is. They are extremely important pieces of the golf operations puzzle, and everything that an outside services role has to offer should be embraced by those considering a position or those who currently are in such a position.

These days, many clubs are hiring assistant golf professionals to fill Director of Outside Services positions. However, many aspiring golf professionals shy away from such positions because of the stigma that comes with working "outside". Apprentices want to work inside because they feel that working inside is a more significant job, more glamorous, or that they feel more important as an "inside" golf professional. You must get passed these smoke-screens and see the outside services role for what it really is.

Earlier in his career, a friend of mine gave up a Director of Outside Services position at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York for a golf shop position at Galloway National Golf Club in New Jersey. At the time, he didn't think the outside position at Winged Foot was a step forward in his career because it was an outside position. He now realizes that had he accepted it and had he been successful in that position, his career path would have taken a different direction, likely for the better.

If you can be successful in a position such as Director of Outside Services, it will open up many doors for you in the immediate and distant future as a golf professional. Hiring committees, HP's, and DOG's emphasize and put great value on a candidate having a solid and successful foundation of experience in an outside services role. There are just as many vital components to manage as there are when you walk in those doors and step into the golf shop. Speaking with many First Assistant Professionals and Head Professionals about this subject, they actually miss working outside and that working outside beats being stuck inside with the daily duties as an "office golf professional".

If you're a young apprentice or even a relatively seasoned assistant golf professional, don't shy away from working outside or taking a Director of Outside Services position if you haven't already had one. Spending a year or two in such a role will pay dividends for you in the future.