As a lot of you already know I bartended at a Country Club for 5+ years. It was a great job but definitely different from your traditional bartending job. I thought I’d write a post about it because I’ve been getting asked a lot lately and the summer is coming so there should be a lot of jobs available. There was also a boom in the golf and country club industry over the past 20 years so I’m guessing there is one close by to your home.
Country Clubs, like I stated earlier are busiest during the summer. You can take advantage of the Country Club busy seasons by applying at the right time. They often rely on younger college students returning home from school. They will do a lot of hiring in April and May and again in October.
These are not the only times to apply, just the ones that will give you the greatest advantages. And don’t worry if you aren’t a college student either. They rely on students applying because of the time of year. They will still hire older people. Use your age to your advantage. No matter what age if you get hired for summer employment, knock there
socks off and you’ll soon be working there permanently. One of the best ways to get an application noticed is to create a
cover letter and resume. A lot of people don’t think that these are necessary for a bartending job but they absolutely are. Especially Country Clubs
Here are some ways to get a job at a country club:
Starting the Process:
Get the names and e-mail addresses of the Food and Beverage Director at 5 Country Clubs you’d like to work at. If you cant find 5 get as many as possible. If you can’t find the e-mail address on their websites, call and ask for them. I know this sounds very forward and direct but it will work. Most times you call a country club you get a receptionist and they’ll gladly give you their name and email. Explain that you want to send a resume and cover letter.
What to Include:
Write a cover letter with a customer service story. Conflict resolution and stories about going “above and beyond” are great for country clubs because service is King. Stress in the cover letter that you know what it is like to have repeat business and you know how to give impeccable customer service. People spend a lot of money (hundreds of thousands of dollars sometimes) to be members at country clubs and these details are important. E-mail your cover letter and resume to the F&B Director as attachments. People get nervous about emails that include too much info that aren’t attachments.
It makes them feel secure that it’s not spam and it doesn’t have a virus. Also, it’s just generally more professional. In the e-mail body explain that you would love to have the opportunity to work there. Sound excited and anxious but not desperate. If your email is good hope the Food & Beverage Director will look over your resume. Be sure to include your phone contact information in the email as well. They may like your email and never open the attachments so you want at least a phone number and email address in the actually email.
The Next Day or Two:
If you have heard back that’s great, you are on your way. If you haven’t heard back call the F&B Director the next day.
DO NOT call during a busy time. Country Clubs are usually slowest between 2:00 and 4:00. Dinner hasn’t started yet and most of the golfers have already been in or are on the course. If you get in touch with the Food and Beverage Manager explain that you sent a resume and you are following up for an interview. If you don’t get in touch be persistent. Call the following day and resend the email a few days later.
I know this sounds forward but trust me it works. I have good friends who are F&B Managers and This is Their Advice.
Want to know a little fun fact too. If you are worried about doing all this even if there wasn’t an ad or job posting.
80% of All Jobs are not Posted
That’s right 80% of businesses and companies out there don’t post jobs. They hire through getting solicited and from referrals.
Ace the interview. Easier said than done right. Treat it like any other interview. Arrive a few minutes early, prepared with a pen and folder/binder with your resume and paper to write on.
And you must dress to impress. Most people know if they are going to hire someone in the first 30 seconds they meet them. If you have No Experience stress your customer service skills. Remember this is a country club. A lot of clubs might like your lack of experience because they want to train you according to their customer service standards. Use anything you can to your advantage. Although I wrote about it in my “cons” down below you can turn the A.M. shifts into an advantage. Break into the business by volunteering to work morning shifts. Another great tool to come armed with is knowing some classic cocktails.
Country Clubs tend to have an older clientele that will drink manhattans, old fashioned, gimlets, tom collins and others. Stress that you know your drinks.
I don’t think that “pros and cons” is a good way to describe it, so I’m going to call them Advantages & Potential Downside. I say Potential because like I said earlier, something like the A.M. shift could be great for some people.
-Great Place to get Started. Not incredibly busy so it’s a great place to learn.
-Will learn both multiple aspects of bartending i.e. restaurant, lounge, banquets, weddings
-Training can be phenomenal. The club I worked out brought in people from the Ritz Carlton to train us on customer service and other things. This is something I write on resumes to this day and it has been mentioned by potential employers in interviews.
Making Contacts: This is awesome no matter who you are but especially great for college students. You will meet very influential people in your community who have a lot of influence and pull. I was offered multiple jobs while I was bartending at a country club.
Golf: I never played golf before I got a job but I started when I worked there because it was free. I was playing a PGA tour course for free. And we took
advantage too. We were out there just about every Monday on employee day. I still play to this day and absolutely love golfing now even though I don’t work there anymore.
Do Not Ask About This In the Interview I would bet that 9 out of 10 clubs allow their employees some sort of golf privilege. They might even mention it in the interview.
Good Money: Like most jobs this is extremely important. I made a great hourly wage and also pulled in extra money in tips. When we had a lot of weddings I was living the high life.
Prestige: A lot of other businesses, restaurants and bars especially, look at country clubs at having high prestige. I would go into the bars I hung out in and people would offer me jobs all the time. NO Kidding!!!! “When are you gonna quit that country club and come here”- I heard it all the time but why would I quit? I made great money, played free golf on a sick course, we were closed the month of January, and the view outside the bar window was the Sierra Nevada Mountains with Lake Tahoe a 20 min drive away.
Tips may be pooled. What this means is that there is a gratuity added onto every check, usually 18%, and you get paid a higher hourly wage. I got paid $16/hour. I loved it. Now, most members didn’t tip because they were getting charged 18% but a lot did. I would work 6-8 hour shifts and maybe walk with 40 or 50 bucks. Some bartenders don’t like this but it has upsides. One is that a lot of “traditional” bartenders aren’t applying at these places so it’s easier to get hired with no experience. I also loved it because I had a little cash at the end but not a couple hundred dollars. Ask
any bartender and they’ll all have stories of making $200 and going out after their shift. They wake up the next day and they got $20 left. The more you have the more you’ll spend. It also felt more like a “regular” job in the paycheck sense
because you are getting a paycheck every two weeks. Another upside is working banquets. You should still get paid a good hourly wage but the guest attending the wedding doesn’t know that. They think your getting $4.15 an hour, or whatever it is, and they are tipping. Double Bonus
Like I mentioned earlier there are early morning shifts. It really wasn’t too bad though from my perspective. Most of the early shifts were just giving guys some cans of beer to take out onto the course with them. And by early I mean 10am. It’s nothing too crazy.
Follow this advice and you will be well prepared to get a bartending job at a country club. It’s a great job and a great way to break into the bartending industry.
If you have any questions or need any advice feel free to shoot me an email or leave a comment. Good luck!!!