Become an expert in Sports Turf and Irrigation
Grass is a very forgiving and tolerant plant. It can thrive despite repeated trampling and nibbling. While sports persons rarely nibble the playing surface, they do trample and disturb the grass on which they are playing their chosen sport. The level of damage depends of the sport with rugby union and lawn tennis creating much bigger problems than crown green bowling and croquet.
- Learn about the different cultivars used for sports turf/greens. Different varieties of grass are used reflecting the different demands which are placed upon it.
- Learn about the different maintenance and cutting regimes which will apply to the types of grass chosen and its application.
- Irrigation is a fine art that will greatly influence the quality of the sward - selecting the Irrigation Management module as part of the Proficiency Award will equip you with the knowledge of the design, installation, and maintenance of systems.
- Study the Proficiency Award in Sports Turf and Irrigation to understand the demands, problems, and maintenance requirements required to keep a wide range of sports turfs in healthy condition.
- The course consists of three 100 hour modules and a 200 hour industry project/work experience.
THE CORE MODULES
Students are to select any three of the following modules. For further information on each module, follow the link in the module title.
Turf Repair and Renovation
To complete this qualification, you are also required to complete a workplace project lasting 200 hours.
There are 4 options available to you to satisfy this requirement. The options will be different dependent upon whether or not you currently work within the industry. The project can be work experience, voluntary experience, a project you carry out, other training you have already undertaken and there are other options. Don’t worry if you are not sure how to proceed at this stage, as your tutor will be there to discuss how to proceed and help you every step of the way.
HOW THE PROFICIENCY AWARD IS ASSESSED
The Proficiency Award requires 500 hours of study. It is made up of three 100 hour modules and a workplace project.
To pass the course –
- Pass all assignments on the three 100 hour modules. There will be an assignment at the end of each lesson to submit to your tutor for marking and feedback.
- Pass three examinations – one on each module. These are usually taken at the end of the module and can be arranged at a time and location to suit you.
- Complete a Workplace Project. Your tutor will be on hand to explain the requirements and guide you in completing a Workplace Project.
GRASSES ARE EXTREMELY VARIABLE
There are many different species of grass that are used in lawns and greens. Many of these have been bred and selected over a very long time, to create many varied cultivars, each with particular and distinct characteristics, geared to meet very specific needs in the turf industry. The options of what to grow are complex; and to achieve an optimum result, a turf professional needs a great deal of knowledge and experience.
Rye Grasses are just one of many types.
Rye grasses belong to the genus Lolium and species used in turf include:
Perennial Ryegrass - Lolium perenne
Italian Ryegrass - Lolium multiflorum (syn. Lolium italicum)
Annual Ryegrass - Lolium rigidum
Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) varies widely genetically; Mediterranean bred types (from Southern Europe) can over-winter and retain the colour and still grow, those from northern Europe (Continental types) shut down over winter - due to their adaption to extreme cold conditions. Countries such as New Zealand and Australia use the rye-grasses with the Mediterranean genetics. Those grown in the colder parts of the USA and Europe are those with Continental genetics.
Perennial ryegrass is and upright growing grass that during the growing season forms a large leafy herb. It has very high ‘wear tolerance’ and because of its durability, its ability to produce a good sustainable playing surface, to spread quickly over damaged areas and recuperate well and because it remains green over-winter, it is often used and suited to sports fields in a mix of other species. It is also suited to high traffic areas consequently It is used widely not only on sports grounds but also for ornamental and functional applications. It is probably the most commonly used turf.
Botanical characteristics of the genus are leaves with falcate auricles; florescence and raceme with spikelets (several or many flowered) sitting in two opposite rows laterally along the rachis; lower glume absent on all but the terminal spikelet, the upper glume abaxial (facing outwards from the stem) is shorter than lemma but may as long as the spikelet and is coriaceous. The lemma membranous to coriaceous and may present with or without a sub-terminal awn. The hilum is linear in shape.
Perennial ryegrass makes up the most productive pastures in Britain, Ireland, Europe, New Zealand, and the cooler regions of North America and Australia. Nutritive value is very high and they are very palatable to sheep and cattle.
It is incredibly resistant to cold weather and frost and grows from early autumn – winter, flowering in spring and early summer. Different cultivars have different lengths of summer dormancy therefore summer growth is determined by this.
For pasture, perennial ryegrasses can be sown alone but more often grass mixtures containing perennial ryegrass, cocksfoot and tall fescue, with appropriate legumes are preferred. Ryegrass seedlings are vigorous; therefore do not sow species with less vigorous seedlings in the seed mix (e.g. phalaris).
- 10-90cm tall
- Loose or dense tufts
- Green hairless leaves, smooth sheaths
- Leaf bases are pinkish when young
With improved breeding and careful selection there is now a range of cultivars that differ significantly in maturity, summer dormancy and resistance to moisture stress and diseases. These cultivars are densely tufted with dark green leaves which are shiny on the under surface. The flowering stems are erect spikes bearing straw coloured seeds about 6mm long.
Sometimes used to provide a quick interim cover until other turf species develop fully.
It requires a fertile soil of medium texture but does not like loose soils that dry out quickly. Generous fertiliser produces the best results.
Seeds are best sown on clean, fertile loamy soil. Provided they receive adequate rainfall, seeds are easy to establish and will grow vigorously. The recommended sowing rate of 11.2 kg/ha is best in autumn, but spring sowing is possible in districts with more than 760 mm rainfall per annum. In low rainfall areas that have high evaporation rates, drill the seeds about 12 mm deep.
Perennial ryegrass is susceptible to rust (Puccinia coronata) during warm humid weather usually in autumn.
Professional training: taught by professionals for professional development
The Proficiency Award in Sports Turf and Irrigation has been developed by highly knowledgeable, experienced horticulturalists. It is studied by distance learning, and students studying the course benefit from the support and guidance of our specialists throughout their study.
Our courses are designed to offer high quality, yet flexible learning. You choose when and where you study, enabling you to continue with any work commitments whilst you work towards your specialist qualification.
The different module options available on this course mean that not only do you choose areas of study which you want to focus on, but once you have achieved the qualification it will mean that it is particularly relevant (and unique) to you.
You can enrol on the course at any time, but if you have any questions, then please get in touch with our specialist horticulture tutors today. They will be pleased to answer your questions and discuss the study options which will most suit your study aims.