Compensation resources

Trends in compensation

Highlights from the 2015 Compensation and Benefits Report


Every other year, GCSAA conducts a comprehensive study of the compensation, benefits and operations of its superintendent members. This helps fulfill a key expectation of an association, to maintain data about the profession being served. The report helps GCSAA learn demographic details about the profession. These can be shared with various constituencies, used to advocate on behalf of the profession and reveal trends in salaries across the country. They also identify the types of benefits superintendents are receiving or lacking.

A total of 3,565  superintendents participated in the 2015 Compensation and Benefits Survey, a response rate of 41.8%. The data presented in this report is based on trends observed through these surveys, which are conducted by third-party survey companies.

Facility types

Superintendents who completed the survey were employed in a wide variety of situations – from working at nine-hole municipal courses with annual maintenance budgets of $100,000, to managing 45-hole private resorts with annual budgets of more than $1.5 million. More than 72% of all superintendents responding to the 2015 survey worked at 18-hole facilities, with the following breakdown of facility types:

2015-Facility-Type-updated

  • Private facilities — 45%
  • Daily-fee courses — 23%
  • Semi-private facilities— 17%
  • Municipal facilities — 14%

 

 

Superintendent salaries

In 2015, the average base salary for golf course superintendents rose to $85,204, a 3.2% increase over the base salary reported in 2013. This increase represents a 72.9% gain since 1995, or an increase of $35,935 in 20 years. In 2015, half of all superintendents earned $75,000 or more annually, 25% of all superintendents earned more than $100,000, and the top 10% earned $135,000 or more annually.

2015-Superintendent-Salaries

 

Certified golf course superintendent (CGCS) salaries

In 2015, the average base salary for certified golf course superintendents rose to $103,993, a 5.9% increase over the base salary reported in 2013. This increase represents a 34.8% gain since 2003, or an increase of $26,870 in 12 years.

2015-CGCS-Salaries

 

Fringe benefits

Employers offer a variety of fringe benefits to golf course superintendents:

2015-benefits-table

More from the report

The 2015 GCSAA Compensation and Benefits Report also contains base salary data searchable by:

  • GCSAA class (A, SM, CGCS)
  • State
  • Metro area
  • Chapter
  • Facility demographics
  • Facility type
  • Annual maintenance budget

Additional data in the report includes:

  • Additional fringe benefits for superintendents
  • Assistant superintendent and equipment manager average base salaries
  • Fringe benefits for assistant superintendents and equipment managers
  • Maintenance crew position average wages

GCSAA members who did not participate in the survey may purchase online access to the results for $125, or online access and a printed version for $150. Non-members may purchase a printed copy for $525. To order, contact GCSAA at 800-472-7878.

Superintendent profiles

Superintendent

The 2015 Compensation and Benefits Report states that member superintendents, on average:

  • Are 46 years old
  • Have spent 15.9 years as a superintendent
  • Have held their current position for an average of 10.4 years
  • Manage a crew of 20
  • Feel secure in their positions -- 66% rated their job security as high, indicating they think they will be in their current position as long as they perform well and choose to remain in it
  • Plan to retire by age 64.8
  • Seasonally, work an average of 48 hours in the spring, 52 hours in the summer, 45 hours in the fall, and 39 hours in the winter

Certified golf course superintendent (CGCS)

The 2015 Compensation and Benefits Report states that certified golf course superintendents, on average:

  • Are 50 years old
  • Have spent 22.8 years as a superintendent
  • Have held their current position for an average of 13.9 years
  • Manage a crew of 24