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Do modern day golf clubs still need a captain?

Times change and so do traditions. It used to be unthinkable years ago for a golf club to question whether it should have a captain or not. It was a foregone conclusion that it was an absolute must.

Besides the fact that nobody wants to be captain lately, there are clubs that have eschewed the typical trappings of the captain and in some cases have considered doing away with the role.

Now, we ask: Is the captain still a necessity at golf clubs in this day and age? There are pros and cons to it, of course so the answer is not so obvious. There are already club managers that take care of the daily operations of the club from golf lessons to scheduling of events.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons you may want, or not, to have a club captain.

Has the role become irrelevant?

For better or for worse, we have less formal conventions in our society than in the past. Because of this, some people bristle at the thought of needing to bow down to one of their peers that suddenly has found themselves in the captain’s spot.

The role itself has become something more of a figurehead of the club that doesn’t actually require any authority or real work for that matter. Even in the past, the role was often just somebody to greet visitors and present the prizes during tournaments.

Some feel that this is still necessary as it can add a burden to the club manager or director of golf if they would have to take on those responsibilities. Instead, it can be a good way to reward a member for years of dedication to the club.

Perks include a parking spot and some playing privileges. Is this worth it for most people? Some would say no and others a firm yes.

The captain can be a liaison

As much as club management or ownership would like to think the culture depends on their efforts, the reality is that a club is built upon the members. Often, the culture is developed after years of new members being taken under the wings of the older generation.

To maintain the culture of the club, sometimes a captain is necessary to bridge some of the gaps that can be left when a professional or manager moves on to greener pastures.

This person can be the one to give up some of their time to fill the role of the carrier of the torch, so to speak.

This can mean various things according to the culture of each club. Some that are rooted in tradition may still give the captain all the pomp and circumstance that comes with it. More modern and casual clubs see fit to do away with the pageantry and simply give some recognition to the person willing to make the sacrifice for the good of the club.


It seems the captain role is still important, but it has evolved. In fact the role can be done by many members and not just one. It all depends on the culture of the club, but it is still necessary to have one.


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