Need a summer job? Try your local golf course.

How I made $3,150 in free golf while working in the summer sun

Finding work for the summer

Having just finished my freshman year of college, I was hurting for cash. Like a bizarre twist on the Bermuda Triangle, the restaurants and delis surrounding my Bronx college were devouring my funds. I would have jumped at the opportunity to intern in the city, like my older brother did, but let’s be honest: Few places are looking to hire a 19-year-old with one year of college under his belt. Thus, the summer job awaited.

For many teenagers, “summer job” might as well coincide with “dull”, “mind-numbing” and “tedious.” The majority of young adults work at fast food restaurants, at convenience stores or in manual labor. There’s nothing wrong with learning the value of a hard day’s work and also earning some spending money, but these jobs can make summer drag to a halt.

When my best friend told me about how his grandfather got him a job at our local golf course, I was more than curious. I enjoy golf and would rather work outside than in some hot kitchen. Over spring break, I started the process of applying to the Department of Parks and Recreation (this is a county-owned course). After two months of “maybes,” frustration, and standing in line for hours to get paperwork signed, I was in.

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Did you just say “free golf”?

Being hired to work at a golf course is like achieving VIP status at the club — or at least that’s what it felt like to me. Not only would I be working with my friend, but because we were now county employees, the perks started rolling in. For every 20 hours we worked, we were allotted a free round of golf at any of the five county courses.

This was on top of the three free rounds we received every week with our employee voucher card. Not to mention that our boss was cool enough to give us more vouchers. Needless to say, that summer I played more golf than I ever had (and probably ever will) play. All for free.

Here’s how the figures worked out

At a wage of $9 an hour and working 12-hour days for 15 weeks, I made $3,240. In that time I worked 360 hours, amassing 18 work vouchers on top of the three vouchers I received free each week. In total, I earned 63 free rounds of golf — equal to $3,150 if I’d paid to play without a county card. Adding this amount to my cash earnings, my total earnings actually came to $6,450. When divided by the hours I worked, my hourly raise rose almost 200% to $17.92!

My weeks consisted of working Mondays and Tuesdays and driving with my friend to any of the five county courses to play golf on the three days we didn’t work. I don’t know if you’ve ever been the first out on a course at 5:45 a.m., but playing golf to the rising sun with no one in front of you is as close as it gets to heaven on earth. And we did it multiple times.

What the job entailed

That’s not to say that I didn’t work hard. As a ranger, I worked 12-hour days in which I cleaned all 80 golf carts once every two weeks, helped maintain the course and (my personal favorite) rode around to make sure that play ran smoothly, handling quarrels whenever necessary. If you didn’t know already, golfers can get very angry — especially in the sweltering heat after they’ve just sliced their ball into the woods. You can imagine that some kid in a golf cart telling them to speed it up would only aggravate them further.

When all was said and done, I made $3,240 dollars working twice a week and earned 63 free rounds of free golf — good enough for four free rounds a week. Working as a ranger was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. With golf season trudging on until December, any high school student or college commuter should seriously consider it.

If you’re like the millions of college grads who have a mountain of student debt and need a second job that doesn’t require killing yourself, becoming a golf ranger could be the job for you as well. See if your local golf course is hiring and whether it comes with any perks. You won’t regret it!

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