Navigating the Latest Independent Contractor Rule in the Golf Industry


By Ronnie Miles, NGCOA, Senior Director of Advocacy

On January 9, 2024, the Department of Labor (DOL) revealed the final Independent Contractor Rule, maintaining its structure since the initial proposal in March 2022. This pivotal rule introduces a new assessment framework with six crucial factors that collectively contribute to the determination, each without predetermined weight.


  • Degree of Employer Control: Examining how much control the employer exercises over the work.
  • Opportunity for Profit or Loss: Assessing the potential for the worker to gain or lose.
  • Skill and Initiative: Gauging the level of skill and initiative required for the job.
  • Permanence of Relationship: Evaluating the enduring nature of the working relationship.
  • Worker's Investment: Considering the investment in equipment or materials for the task.
  • Integral Service: Determining the extent to which the service is integral to the employer's business.


Despite the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) expressing concerns about the rule's complexity and potential misclassifications, the final rule, is scheduled to take effect March 11, 2024.

The NGCOA, in its comments opposing the rule on December 6, 2023, emphasized the unique market realities of small and seasonal operations in the golf industry. Unfortunately, these concerns were not incorporated into the final rule.

Professionals in the golf industry, including teaching professionals, caddies, and fitness instructors, will be impacted by this rule. Golf club owners and operators are strongly advised to review the rule to avoid substantial fines and penalties, as individuals cannot voluntarily opt out of being employees under this new rule. NGCOA is your source for understanding this rule and helping you navigate the changes your business model may be required to make.