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January 2022

Labor Shortage Driving Cultural Divide

By: Steve Eubanks

If gas and food were counted in the numbers, inflation would be at its highest level since 1979. Coupled with a labor shortage that is its tightest since the 1950s, the price of hiring has skyrocketed. In addition to putting pressure on budgets, these rising costs are having a cultural impact on golf staffs everywhere.

“Think about the longest-tenured employees at your club,” said Tim Dunlap, a partner at Regent Golf Management. “They are there because they understand the relationship between the club and its members. They’re also in it for all sorts of reasons, but very few of them are the money. They love the hours; they love the environment; they love the people; they love the low-stress conditions; whatever it is, almost no one goes to work at the local golf club because they want to become financially independent.

“Now, think about the new people coming into the club. What are you having to pay them to fill a position? And how does that compare to the pay scale of your employees who have been there for a decade or longer? How long did it take the person who has been there a dozen years to reach the level of pay you’ve just offered to a new hire?

“That creates a rift within your staff. Suddenly, the people who have been there for years are wondering why they aren’t getting significant pay bumps. People start feeling unappreciated. Pretty soon, you have an internal divide that is hard to bridge.”  

Added payroll costs are an economic problem. But this is bigger and far more problematic. The cost of new labor is creating cultural problems. And those don’t fix themselves when the economy improves. 



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January 2022 Issue


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