The Pellucid Perspective - February 2013 - (Page 8)

GOLF COURSE OPERATIONS Volunteers may not be free By Jim Dunlap A recent California case involving the use of volunteers for course marshal, starter or other duties by Rancho Mirage Country Club is one of the latest instances of the issues that course operators face when they employ that type of off-the-books labor. As initially reported by the Palm Springs Desert Sun newspaper, the California Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Labor Standards has been investigating claims that the club’s use of volunteers to perform such tasks without pay is a violation of the state’s labor code. The issue, which can be difficult to interpret in many situations and states, can be a thorny - and expensive - dilemma for operators. In Rancho Mirage’s case, although the club has cooperated with the investigation, which came as a result of a complaint, the club could be required to pay their volunteer staff back wages dating back several years. According to the Desert Sun article, The Golf Club at Fleming Island in Orange Park, Fla., had to pay over $73,000 in back wages to 19 volunteers in November 2011. The tradition of using volunteers in course marshal, starter or other capacities is well entrenched at many courses around the country. In lieu of salary, volunteers generally receive free golf, use of the range, or other in-kind compensation. While that would appear to be ”free” labor, golf courses may indulge in it at their own risk. “It really is a complex situation with very few, if any, useful precedents,” said Ed Smilow, a Southern California golf course attorney. “It essentially is an offshoot of the old child labor laws, where the employer benefitted from having employees’ families or other juveniles do work without pay, and is designed to protect the volunteer, even though many of those people are retired and prefer not to be paid a salary or, as I believe is the case at Rancho Mirage, some of their volunteers are Canadian, WHERE DO OVER 250 INDUSTRY-LEADING COMPANIES GET UNBIASED, FACT-BASED INFORMATION & INSIGHT? l Annual State-of-the-Industry review l Golf Local Market Analyzer software and ad hoc reports l Weather Impact Analysis l Facility Performance Scorecard & Customer Franchise Analysis l Voice-of-the-Local Golfer surveys and Customer Satisfaction tracking l Sharper Edge outsourced marketing services l Outside The Ropes industry issues & solutions newsletter Visit our website and register for more information and free sample reports at Or, contact Jim Koppenhaver to discuss your uniqueneeds at or 847.808.7651 8 The Pellucid PersPecTive February 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - February 2013

The Pellucid Perspective - February 2013
Part-time golf courses: A concept worth trying?
Bankruptcy courts protect course revenues from lenders
Show notes from 35,000 feet
Volunteers may not be free
January golf weather impact: Down...but not unexpected
Golfers not goin’ to Kansas City
Movie time: License required
Concert Golf Partners buys CC at Woodmore in D.C. Area
Bishop’s tenure as PGA President promises deep breaths of fresh air

The Pellucid Perspective - February 2013