For Coaches Who are Employees, Non-Cash Benefits Finally On the Rise

Apr 23, 2024 | News

By Lorin Anderson, Founder


As we reported in our 2024 Proponent Group Operations and Compensation Survey results, cash compensation over the past decade has increased for Proponent Group coaches at a slightly higher pace than inflation. Since 2013 our coaches have seen a 30.4 percent increase in revenues compared to a 28.5 percent increase in inflation over that time. Our coaches should be pleased that they have kept up with inflation during the Covid years, but the better news for many of our coaches who are employees is a sudden positive shift in non-cash benefits.

Over the past decade we saw most of these non-cash benefits consistently trending downward, that is until this past year. Our survey tracks 10 different non-cash benefits that employee coaches report earning. For the first time in more than 10 years the majority of these benefits saw increases over the previous year. In many cases the percentage increases were unprecedented. This indicates that to attract quality coaches, non-cash benefits finally have had to be increased to make a competitive offer.

Paid health insurance coverage increased from 47 to 65 percent. Paid disability insurance coverage jumped from 36 to 60 percent. 401K’s with facility matching funds increased from 54 to 69 percent while 401K’s in general increased from 68 to 82 percent. Currently, 67 percent of clubs help pay for training aids, up from 59 percent. Clubs paying for PGA and/or LPGA dues rose from 73 to 86 percent while education allowances improved seven points from 57 to 64 percent. Finally, tournament entry fees paid by the facility doubled from 14 to 28 percent.

The only two non-cash benefits that remained steady from a year ago were coach playing privileges at 98 percent and family playing privileges at 77 percent.

Proponent Group strongly suggests that when negotiating an employee position that you specifically ask about all of the non-cash benefits listed above, especially when the cash comp isn’t as high as you expected. Additional non-cash benefits may also include free or reduced-cost meals during work hours, an apparel allowance from the golf shop and/or equipment staff deals provided through the club’s manufacturer relationships. Many times non-cash benefits have very little hard cost to the facility compared to simply paying out a higher percentage of lesson income or a higher salary to the coach directly. This often allows for more negotiation than many coaches actually pursue before accepting a position.

For example, if you play in a lot of section events and the club wants you representing it in competition, but they don’t want to bump up your salary offer, ask if they will pay your section tournament entry fees instead. These could easily total $2,000 or more per year. For a variety of reasons beyond your control, the club may be much more willing to pay the entry fees instead of just adding the same amount to your salary. Asking for an increase in non-cash benefits can also be a way to lessen the blow if an expected raise becomes stalled.

For some of our members with beefy non-cash benefits, the value can run well over $20,000 annually so it’s worth paying attention to any opportunity to boost your non-cash compensation.