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Online golf management courses popular

computer for online coursesThere are many advantages to online courses, and these pluses are now being realized by golf managers both in and outside of Canada. Over the past year, more than 50 managers enrolled in online learning with the Golf Club Operations Online Certificate Program (GCOOL) offered by Selkirk College. The perceived value after course completions is clear from testimonials provided (see end of article).  

The move to high-impact online education makes sense for four reasons. Online courses:

  1. let managers quickly upgrade their own knowledge and skills as career responsibilities evolve.
  2. benefit club managers who want staff to get new knowledge and skills but who don’t want them absent from the workplace during the golf season.
  3. offer new opportunities to club employees who have reached credentials plateaus that make promotions difficult.
  4. open doors for people who need academic certification to enter the golf industry. Online learning means people can earn as they learn. 

Online courses are suitable for working professionals in that they also offer more freedom and flexibility because course registrants work according to their own schedules.  Kate Tognotti, instructional dean, School of Hospitality and Tourism at Selkirk College says online courses are rapidly gaining popularity. “Harvard University researchers report about a million computer-based learners in 2007, a 22-fold increase over 2000, but that’s still only one per cent of education courses. Online, distance education, is the fastest growing segment of education, but we haven’t seen anything yet. By 2019 researchers believe about 50% of courses will be delivered online.”

Canada’s tourism and recreation industries have never offered more or better opportunities, Tognotti adds. “Not only are new properties opening at a rapid rate, but there will be a huge sucking sound from the management vacuum created by Canada’s retiring baby boomers. Millions of new, high paying jobs will be created in the coming decades,” says Tognotti, “but the successful candidates will be those who planned and prepared by getting post secondary credentials to capitalize on these rewarding careers.”

It is of course important to realize that online learning is certainly not for everyone. The most successful students of online learning are self-motivated as courses rarely enforce strict deadlines or class schedules, and work completion is done mostly at your own discretion. Those individuals that prefer face-to-face communication and group work should weigh these factors into their decision as well, deciding whether the online replacements for such elements are satisfactory. It is essential that prospective students are realistic about their own self-discipline and learning style before signing up.

The next flight of eight courses offered by GCOOL begin in November 2009:

  1. Overview of Golf Operations
  2. Food & Beverage Controls
  3. Golf Shop Operations
  4. Golf Club Marketing
  5. Turf Grass Management
  6. Human Resources for Golf Clubs
  7. Leadership for Golf Clubs
  8. Tournament & Special Event Planning

(NOTE: Financial Controls for Golf Clubs and Financial Tools for Golf Managers will not be offered in November, but will join the above courses for the February 2010 roster.)

For more information about course content, costs, etc. visit

If you have additional questions, email Steve Bareham:


GCOOL 103: Food & Beverage Cost Controls: "It was indeed a pleasure undertaking this course. Having previous experience with online programs through the Cornell Hospitality School and Ryerson University, I looked forward to tackling the Selkirk College program. Once actively involved, I was never disappointed with the curriculum that was supported by an excellent up-to-date textbook containing relevant real world examples and a reliable Study Guide. In addition, the professional assistance was beyond my expectations with expedient responses and sound advice on any queries I had during the course. The information I learned was immediately applied to current situations within the private club environment and further helped to substantiate my knowledge in cost controls. I look forward to completing further courses in this very convenient format but nonetheless challenging method of learning."

Brian Pope, General Manager, Royal Canadian Yacht Club

GCOOL 106: Marketing Golf : "I have just completed the golf course marketing online course through Selkirk College. I had never taken an online course before and it has been some 22 years since my formal schooling ended. The course is very easy to use, both reading, powerpoint and videos. The instructor was fast to respond to questions and grade papers. We own a relatively young golf course and we needed "new" ideas and ways to market the business.The content has opened my eyes to opportunities for our golf course. I definitely recommend this course for people that are in the golf industry and have the responsibility of trying to market their business through the every changing and challenging economy."  

Heather Aylott, Quarry Lakes Golf & Recreation Centre Inc.

GCOOL 102 Overiew of Golf Operations and 104 Financial Tools for Golf Managers: "In recently completing these coures, I am confident in saying that the program is well thought out and employs high quality instruction. The material covered was very thorough, utilizing PowerPoint software, video clips and text reading. The Moodle software platform is easy to navigate, user friendly, and operated flawlessly for me. In particular, I was impressed that I could check my grades at any time, and communicate with classmates and instructors through the forums. I would recommend this program to anyone wishing to gain knowledge in the golf management industry."

Adam Bedell. Manager, Fairmont Southampton, Bermuda

GCOOL 108: Human Resources for Golf Clubs: " I've just completed GCOOL108 Human Resources, wow.. what an awesome course!  I had the most amazing teacher who motivated me to learn again, thanks Steve. I have started implementing things at work that I learned from the course and am already seeing results. I really appreciated the advice and quick responses from the teacher, the fast and efficient grading of assignments and the positive comments along the way! I would recommend this class to anyone in the golf industry in a management or supervisory position; you won't regret taking it!"

Caitlin MacGregor, Beach Grove Golf Club, Tsawwassen, B.C.

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