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Duration (approx) 600 hours
Qualification Certificate
Study Turf care to gain useful skills for working on golf courses, bowling greens, sports turf and more.

A 600-hour course designed principally for turf workers at golf courses, bowling greens, sports fields, or councils.

  • Study in your own home at your own pace.
  • Highly qualified and knowledgeable tutors.
  • An excellent course for anyone interested in working in turf care.




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Become a Turf Professional

This course is aimed at those who would like to work at golf courses, bowling greens, council facilities, sports grounds, or other locations where turf grasses need to be maintained.

  • It's a 600-hour course specifically designed to meet the needs of turf workers.
  • Delivery by distance learning means you can study in your own home, at your own pace.
  • Highly qualified and knowledgeable tutors will guide you along the way.

Course Structure:

The course involves six modules split into two parts, structured as follows:

Part I

  1. Horticulture I
  2. Turf Care
  3. Machinery and Equipment

Part 2.

  1. Sports Turf Management
  2. Turf Repair and Renovation
  3. Irrigation (Gardens)


Module Outlines

1. Horticulture I
There are 13 lessons in this course, as follows:

  1. Plant Identification: Naming plants; distinguishing the taxonomic divisions of plants including family, genus, species and variety or hybrid; identifying the different parts of a flower; distinguishing the morphological characteristics of leaves.
  2. Planting: Planting methods used for different types of plants including annuals, perennials, evergreen and deciduous plants; influence of environmental factors on planting techniques.
  3. Recognising Plant Families and Identifying Plants.
  4. Soils: Classifying soils; sampling and testing soils; chemical and physical properties of soils; soil improvement techniques; composting; potting mixes.
  5. Nutrition: Major and micro elements necessary for plant growth; nutrient deficiencies and toxicities; fertilisers.
  6. Water Management: Irrigation systems – characteristics, advantages and disadvantages; drainage systems; water-wise gardening.
  7. Pruning: Pruning techniques; importance of pruning to growth, flowering and fruiting; pruning tools.
  8. Weeds: Identifying common weeds; characteristics of weeds; control techniques; herbicides.
  9. Pests and Diseases: Identifying common insect and disease problems; control methods; Integrated Pest Management; pesticides; hygiene procedures; chemical safety.
  10. Landscaping: Stages of landscaping; design procedures; collating pre-planning information; preparing plans; selecting plants for specified sites.
  11. Propagation: Asexual and sexual propagation; taking cuttings; sowing seeds; aftercare of propagated plants.
  12. Lawns: Turf grass varieties; laying a new lawn; cultural techniques including watering, fertilising, topdressing, aerating, pest and disease control.
  13. Arboriculture: Tree management techniques including pruning, removal and tree surgery; identifying tree problems.

2. Turf Care
There are eleven lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction - Turf Varieties
  2. Turf Grass Physiology
  3. Turf Establishment
  4. Soils
  5. Turf Weed Problems
  6. Turf Pests & Diseases
  7. Turf Maintenance Techniques
  8. Irrigation - An Overview
  9. Playing Fields & Bowling Greens
  10. Managing Established Turf
  11. Establishing Ornamental Turf  

3. Machinery and Equipment
There are eight lessons as follows:

  1. Engine Operation
  2. Hydraulics
  3. Machinery Components
  4. Hand Tools
  5. Power Tools
  6. Tractors
  7. Equipment Maintenance
  8. Specific Workplace Requirements

4. Sports Turf Management
Ten lessons are as follows:

  1. Turf Variety Selection
  2. Mowing - selection, use and maintenance of equipment.
  3. Cultivation Techniques -spiking, coring, thatch removal and other techniques.
  4. Preparing for Play on Sports grounds - rolling, marking, etc.
  5. Preparing for Play of Greens - rolling, marking, etc.
  6. Turf Protection & Preservation
  7. Irrigation & Drainage
  8. Soil Treatment & Sprays - pesticides, fertilisers, etc.
  9. Evaluate Maintenance Facilities
  10. Develop a Management Plan

5. Turf Repair and Renovation
Ten lessons are as follows:

  1. Understanding Turf Deterioration - physiological and biological responses.
  2. Repair & Renovation Equipment - use and repair of applicable equipment.
  3. Turf Cultivation Techniques
  4. Health Improvement Techniques -pest control, feeding, watering, etc.
  5. Optimising Turf Usage
  6. Replacing Damaged Turf - techniques for replacement.
  7. Renovation of Degraded Turf - techniques to repair and renovated turf.
  8. Eradicating Turf Weeds
  9. Treating Aeration & Drainage Problems - compaction, etc.
  10. Managing a Turf Nursery.

6. Irrigation (Gardens)
There are 10 lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction to Irrigation
  2. Soil Characteristics & Problems
  3. Estimating Plant Needs & Irrigation Scheduling
  4. Drainage
  5. Types of Irrigation Systems
  6. Trickle Systems
  7. Design Specifications
  8. Pumps & Filters
  9. Selecting the Right System for a Plant
  10. Design & Operation of Systems.


A perfect lawn really looks great; but it does take a lot of work to both establish and maintain such a lawn – more work than most people realise.  If you think about it, a bowling club employs a greenkeeper full time to maintain an area of lawn not much bigger than the lawn in many home gardens.  If you want a better lawn you need to do two things:

  1. To be doing the right jobs – either learn how to do it from an expert, or hire an expert to do it for you.
  2. To be putting the required time into doing the work.


Winter Lawn Care
To keep the lawn in good condition over winter:

  • raise the mower height to help maintain its vigour
  • keep winter weeds under control, especially Winter Grass, mosses and sedges
  • improve drainage – no lawn grasses thrive in heavy wet soil
  • improve soil aeration – spike the lawn with a garden fork to aerate the root zone
  • spread lime over the lawn if the pH is acid (below pH7). Fertilisers used over a long period can make the soil too acid
  • control winter diseases – brown patch and dollar spot – using lawn fungicides and improving drainage
  • use a lawn mix that includes ‘cool season grasses’ – bent, rye and fescues. These stay green throughout winter in cool climates.


If you want to improve your lawn, ask yourself:

  • am I mowing it at the best height, with the best machinery?
  • am I keeping the soil in good condition … fertile, well drained, not too compacted etc?
  • am I keeping it watered in dry weather?
  • do I have the best varieties of grass?
  • are lawn weeds being kept under control?
  • are pest and disease problems always controlled?
  • is it protected from over-use and is any damaged turf repaired or replaced?

To maintain a top quality lawn, you (or the lawn expert you employ) should be familiar with all of the following aspects of lawn establishment and maintenance:

Lawn Establishment

  • soil preparation
  • choosing appropriate grass varieties (eg. grasses for high quality lawns, high-use lawns, lawns in shade, low maintenance lawns)
  • sowing techniques
  • laying turf lawns

Lawn Care

  • mowing techniques (including mowing heights and use of appropriate machinery)
  • edge trimming
  • watering
  • fertilising
  • weed prevention and cure
  • winter care

Lawn Repair

  • aerating
  • oversowing
  • topdressing
  • pest and disease control


Why You Should Study This Course
Designed by professionals for professionals, this course is perfect for those who want to gain a qualification to show for their experience in the field, or those who want to learn more about turf care and restoration. The inclusion of horticulture and irrigation modules gives students a broader understanding of plants and watering which is required by anyone in any horticulture specialty. The course will be of most value to those looking for a career in the following areas:

Turf care & repair

Green keeping


Grounds maintenance

Parks & gardens

Lawn mowing






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Meet some of our academics

Maggi BrownMaggi is regarded as an expert in organic growing throughout the UK, having worked for two decades as Education Officer at the world renowned Henry Doubleday Research Association. She has been active in education, environmental management and horticulture across the UK for more than three decades. Some of Maggi's qualifications include RHS Cert. Hort. Cert. Ed. Member RHS Life Member Garden Organic (HDRA) .
Diana Cole (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Permaculturist, Landscaper, Environmentalist. Holds a Diploma in Horticulture, degree in geography, permaculture certificate and various other qualifications. Between 1985 and 94, Diana was a task leader with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. Since 2001 she has been chairperson of the Friends of Mellor Park (with Stockport MDC). From 2005 she has worked exclusively in horticulture as proprietor of her own garden design and consultancy business in and around Derbyshire; and at the same time as part time manager of a small garden centre. Diana has been an enthusiastic and very knowledgeable tutor with ACS since 2008.
Yvonne Sharpe (Horticulturist)Started gardening in 1966, studied a series of horticulture qualifications throughout the 1980's and 90's, culminating in an RHS Master of Horticulture. Between 89 and 1994, she worked teaching in horticultural therapy. Founded the West Herts Garden Association in 1990 and exhibited at Chelsea Flower Show in 1991. In 1994, Yvonne joined the staff at Oaklands College, and between 1996 and 2000 was coordinator for all Amenity Horticulture courses at that college. Since leaving Oakland she has been active as a horticultural consultant, retail garden centre proprietor and sessional lecturer (across many colleges in southern England). In 2000, she also completed a Diploma in Management.

Check out our eBooks

Growing & Knowing GrassesThe Growing & Knowing Grasses ebook will provide you with everything that you need to know about grass. Get to all about the botany of grasses, how to identify them, how to cultivate grasses, the different uses for grasses and also includes a detailed illustrated encyclopedia of grasses and grass-like plants.
Starting a Garden or Landscape BusinessExpert advice on how to get started in your own garden or landscape business! Packed with valuable business advice, horticultural and landscaping knowledge, and practical ideas - this book is a must have for garden lovers. It is great for anyone thinking about (or already involved in), a horticultural, landscaping or garden business. This updated re-print is only available as an ebook.
Getting Work in HorticultureExplore what it is like to work in horticulture; how diverse this industry is, how to get a start, and how to build a sustainable, long term and diverse career that keeps your options broad, so you can move from sector to sector as demand and fashion changes across your working life.
Plant Pests & DiseasesAre you one of those people that kill every plant you touch? Perhaps it's not you. Perhaps it's a pest or disease. A little bit of reading might just turn your garden into an oasis. Learn how to identify pests and diseases and bring the spring back into your plant...visit the bookshop to find out more...