How to Start a Golf Instruction Business
Well over 20 million people golf, and many people who enjoy the sport would like to improve their game. A golf instruction business offers golfers individual and group lessons. Business owners may offer lessons at public or private courses, driving ranges or students’ homes.
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Learn how to start your own Golf Instruction Business and whether it is the right fit for you.
Start a golf instruction business by following these 10 steps:
- Plan your Golf Instruction Business
- Form your Golf Instruction Business into a Legal Entity
- Register your Golf Instruction Business for Taxes
- Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
- Set up Accounting for your Golf Instruction Business
- Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your Golf Instruction Business
- Get Golf Instruction Business Insurance
- Define your Golf Instruction Business Brand
- Create your Golf Instruction Business Website
- Set up your Business Phone System
There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your golf instruction business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
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STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a golf instruction business?
The startup costs of a golf instruction business are relatively minimal. Although the application and testing fee for certification are fairly standardized, the cost of certification can vary. Some business owners may need to attend specialized clinics in order to perfect certain skills, take an exam several times if they don’t pass or travel to testing sites. The PGA has an online fee calculator, but business owners should budget a couple thousand dollars more than the calculator notes for other expenses associated with becoming certified.
Other startup expenses include the cost of clubs and video analysis equipment, which can be high. For example, Waffle spent $4,500 on a video analysis system. Business owners who are on a tight budget, though, can use clubs they already have and a basic video recorder. Business owners will also need to pay access fees to a club or driving range, but these should be covered by the cost of each lesson.
What are the ongoing expenses for a golf instruction business?
The primary expenses of a golf instruction business include:
- PGA association fees, which vary by region but typically total a few hundred dollars (and include insurance)
- the cost of replacing lost golf balls
- course and driving range fees, which should be built into lesson pricing or directly paid for by students
For most businesses, these costs are minimal.
Who is the target market?
A golf instruction business’ ideal customer is either an aspiring golfer who hopes to play professionally or a wealthy retired individual who enjoys the sport. An aspiring golfer will need regular lessons to continue advancing their skills, while a retired individual has the time and money needed for multiple lessons.
How does a golf instruction business make money?
A golf instruction business makes money by charging students for golf lessons. Students may be charged on a per-lesson basis, or they may pay for a set number of lessons in advance.
How much can you charge customers?
CostHelper reports that golf instruction businesses typically charge between $50 and $60 for private lessons that last 30 to 45 minutes. Group lessons are much less expensive, with golfers often paying just $25 per lesson for group lessons with five golfers. These lessons can be more lucrative for a business, though, as more students are paying. When pricing lessons, business owners should first survey the going rates for golf instruction in their area. If it’s different from these averages, owners ought to adjust their prices accordingly. Golf is a discretionary expense, and people will consider the cost of lessons during an economic downturn.
How much profit can a golf instruction business make?
A golf instruction business’ profit potential depends a lot on where the business is located. Businesses in the Northern United States typically only make a portion of those in the Southern U.S., because most people stop golfing when the weather gets cold.
If teaching 40 private lessons per week, a business owner could bring in between $2,000 and $2,400 each week, according to the above figures. Most of this would be profit, as the ongoing expenses are minimal.
How can you make your business more profitable?
A golf instruction business can increase profits by focusing on group lessons and offering weekend clinics that attract lots of golfers. Business owners might also be able to create a series of online instruction videos, which they could make available for a subscription fee.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Golf Instruction Business Name Generator
If you operate a sole proprietorship, you might want to operate under a business name other than your own name. Visit our DBA guide to learn more.
When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:
- Your state's business records
- Federal and state trademark records
- Social media platforms
- Web domain availability.
It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation.
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your golf instruction business is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
You can form an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
Learn how to get an EIN in our What is an EIN guide or find your existing EIN using our EIN lookup guide.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
- LLC Taxes
- Sole Proprietorship vs LLC
- LLC vs Corporation
- LLC vs S Corp
- How to Start an S Corp
- S Corp vs C Corp
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
Open a business bank account
Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:
- Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- Makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank or credit union.
Open net 30 accounts
Net 30 accounts are used to establish and build business credit as well as increase business cash flow. With a net 30 account, businesses buy goods and repay the full balance within a 30-day term.
NetMany net 30 credit vendors report to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended: Read our best net 30 vendors, guide and start building business credit.
Get a business credit card
Getting a business credit card helps you:
- Separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- Build your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money later on.
Recommended: Apply for an easy approval business credit card from Divvy and build your business credit quickly.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
Make LLC accounting easy with our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a golf instruction business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
In addition, certain local licensing or regulatory requirements may apply. For more information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
For information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
Release of Liability
To avoid liability and potential lawsuits, golf instruction businesses should have their clients sign a release of liability. Here is an example of one such form.
Recommended: Rocket Lawyer makes it easy to create a professional release of liability form for your golf instruction business when you sign up for their premium membership. For $39.95 per month, members receive access to hundreds of legal agreements and on call attorneys to get complimentary legal advice.
In business where services are provided on an extended basis, a services contract is often put in place outlining terms and conditions of service.
Golf instruction business should require clients to sign a services agreement before starting a new project. This agreement should clarify client expectations and minimize risk of legal disputes by setting out payment terms and conditions, and service level expectations.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
Recommended: Learn what business insurance for your Golf Instruction Business will cost.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
Recommended: Get a logo using Truic's free logo Generator no email or sign up required, or use a Premium Logo Maker.
If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator. Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.
How to promote & market a golf instruction business
There are many ways to promote a golf instruction business. All of the following can be effective means of advertising a business:
- posting pamphlets on public bulletin boards
- running advertisements in local publications
- purchasing short commercials on the local sports radio station
- creating advertisements for social media
How to keep customers coming back
There are three ways a golf instruction business may set itself apart from similar businesses. Business owners can:
- specialize in a particular aspect of the sport (e.g. putting)
- obtain advanced certifications from the PGA
- Use technology that other instructors don’t utilize (e.g. Aimpoint or TrackMan)
Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
Recommended: Get started today using our recommended website builder or check out our review of the Best Website Builders.
Other popular website builders are: WordPress, WIX, Weebly, Squarespace, and Shopify.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2023 to find the best phone service for your small business.
Recommended Business Phone Service: Phone.com
Phone.com is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.
Start a Golf Instruction Business in your State
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
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Is this Business Right For You?
Anyone who enjoys golf and likes interacting with people may be well-suited for owning a golf instruction business. In order to teach the game, it’s necessary to be highly accomplished at it. It’s also helpful to be a people person, as business owners are frequently interacting directly with students.
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What happens during a typical day at a golf instruction business?
Golf instruction business owners spend much of their time instructing students, which may involve:
- modeling swings for students
- analyzing and adjusting students’ swings
- videoing students
- reviewing videos with students
- recommending drills for students to practice
When not instructing students, business owners may spend time refining their own golf skills and marketing their business.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful golf instruction business?
Golf instruction business owners may have a difficult time attracting students without becoming a certified PGA golf pro. There are nine steps to becoming certified, including passing qualifying tests. Once certified, the PGA has several advanced certifications that pros can attain. Gaining the skills necessary to become certified by the PGA takes years. Most business owners start out as amateur golfers themselves, taking lessons until they have the skills required for certification.
What is the growth potential for a golf instruction business?
Most golf instruction businesses operate from one or two areas, but they may have regional or national influence. For example, Start to Finish Golf Academy has two locations, one in New York and one in Florida. Pro Justin Waffle started a golf instruction business in Hilton Head in 2009, which he hoped to grow into a regional and then national school.
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Learn from other business owners
Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a golf instruction business?
Business owners may have a hard time finding a location to instruct students where there isn’t already an instructor, for most golf clubs already have certified golf teaching pros. Owners who aren’t able to find a course to teach at can initially break into the industry by focusing on either driving or the short game (chipping and putting). Driving can be taught at driving ranges, while the short game can be taught right in students’ front or back yards.
How and when to build a team
Local golf instruction businesses are usually one-person operations and don’t have employees. Businesses that grow into regional schools may need one or two additional instructors, and those that become national programs often need three or more instructors.
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