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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Learn to Become a Greenkeeper

Sports turf is different to other types of turf in various ways but in particular because sports turf may suffer more wear and tear than ornamental lawns.

  • Study sports turf management - specialise in the selection, application and maintenance of turf for the sporting environment.
  • Develop your ability to manage the maintenance of different types of sports turf.
  • Learn about looking after golf courses, bowling greens, playing fields, cricket wickets and other sporting facilities.

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Learn the management and maintenance of sports turf

  • Learn about the differences between sports turfs and ornamental ones.
  • Learn about a range of different grass species used in sports turf and reasons to choose them.
  • Find out about different types of mowers and other turf care equipment and their use in maintaining sports turf.
  • Build your knowledge of cultivation methods and timing, special techniques to prepare surfaces for play, methods to minimise damage and repair sports turf, fertilisers, drainage and irrigation, control of pests, as well as how to plan a maintenance program.   

Study this course to: 

  • Gain specialised turf care knowledge.
  • Increase the scope of your business or employment opportunities.
  • Learn about maintenance of greens and sports grounds.
  • Discover cultivation techniques.
  • Find out how to make the right decisions - tools, machinery, irrigation, nutrition, pest and disease control.

This course is relevant to the maintenance of all sports turfs including golf courses, bowling clubs, playing fields, cricket wickets and other sporting facilities.


The ten lessons are as follows:

Lesson 1. Turf Variety Selection
  • Introduction
  • Turf Varieties in Parks
  • Sowing
  • Feature Lawns
  • Picnic Areas
  • Sports Grounds
  • Gardens
  • Parks
  • Turf Species: Bent, Fescue, Rye, Kentucky, Couch, etc.
  • Turf Cultivar Selection Criteria
  • Mixing Varieties
Lesson 2. Mowing
  • Introduction
  • Types of Mowing Equipment
  • Mower Types: slasher, cylinder, flail
  • Preparation before mowing
  • How to Mow
  • Leaf Rakes and Vacuums
  • After Mowing
  • Changing Mower Blades
  • Mowing Sports Turf
  • Sports Turf Mowers
  • Problems that can Occur when Mowing
  • Edging
  • Options for Mower Power Systems: 2 stroke, 4 stroke, electric
  • Hover Mowers, Ride on Mowers
  • Choosing a Mower
Lesson 3. Cultivation Techniques
  • When to Cultivate
  • Methods of Cultivation
  • Spiking, coring, drilling, grooving, forking, raling, air blast, etc
  • Coring and hollow tining for Sports Turf
  • Scarifying (Grooving)
  • Dethatching (Vertical Mowing)
Lesson 4. Preparing for Play on Sports grounds
  • Introduction
  • Dew Removal
  • Water Removal
  • Combing
  • Vertical Mowing
  • Mowing
  • Rolling
  • Marking for Play
Lesson 5. Preparing for Play of Greens
  • Golf, Croquet, Lawn Tennis, Lawn Bowls
  • Cricket Wicket Preparation
Lesson 6. Turf Protection and Preservation
  • Managing Use
  • Minimising Damage on Turf
  • Why Repair Turf
  • How to Repair Turf
  • Reconditioning Soil
  • Reducing Weed Populations in Turf
  • Managing Turf Pests
  • Managing Demand
  • Repairing Turf
Lesson 7. Irrigation and Drainage
  • Introduction
  • Travelling Sprinkler Systems
  • Quick Coupling Valve Systems
  • Manually Operated Irrigation Systems
  • Semi automatic Irrigation Systems
  • Automatic Irrigation Systems
  • Sprinklers, Valves, Controllers
  • Management of Water Features on Golf Courses
  • Improving Surface Drainage after Construction
  • Understanding Soils and Drainage, and Soil Compaction
Lesson 8. Soil Treatment and Sprays
  • Major Nutrients and Trace Elements
  • Fertilizer Types
  • Fertilizer Application
  • Soil pH and Soil Amendments
  • Cation Exchange Capacity
  • Pest Control: ants, beetles, caterpillars, grasshopers and crickets, leatherjackets
  • Disease Control: viruses, bacteria, fungi
Lesson 9. Evaluate Maintenance Facilities
  • Bent Grass for Bowling Greens
  • Couch Grass Greens
  • Analysis of Park Maintenance
  • Park Maintenance Tasks
Lesson 10. Develop a Management Plan
  • Common Environmental Problems: folia burn, pollution, lack of water
  • Drainage Problems in Turf
  • Frost
  • Temperature
  • Wind
  • Varying Tolerance Levels in Plants
  • Programming Works: maintenance, new works, construction crew
  • Weeds
  • Weed Control Methods
  • Developing a Management Plan for a Specific Site

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading. 

You will learn to:

  • Select turf varieties to suit different sports surface requirements; including different climates and soil types.
  • Select turf varieties to suit different sports surfaces (e.g. lawn bowls, fairways, greens, league football, cricket).
  • Identify turf blends, their application and reason for use.
  • Explain alternative procedures for sports turf maintenance, used for different types of facilities.
  • Explain specific wear problems and solutions for the five types of turf facilities.
  • Evaluate procedures being used to maintain different types of facilities.
  • Determine the resources required to maintain a selected sports turf.
  • Develop management plans for different types of sports turf facilities.
  • Explain the management of a turf nursery to produce a reliable supply of sod.
  • Explain the irrigation and drainage requirements for sports turf fields.
  • ... and much more!

Opportunities in the Turf Industry

The turf industry employs more people than most realise, particularly in developed countries where large numbers of people play sport. Consider how many golf courses, lawn tennis courts, bowls clubs, and soccer grounds exist. Think about the manpower required to develop and maintain these facilities. Major turf facilities can employ several work crews each - with skilled supervisors that are managed by a curator, superintendent or some other type of manager. All need to be knowledgeable and skilled in the management of turf grasses.

When turf grass gets frequent use it is more likely to be damaged, and the  maintenance requirement will increase. Premium, high profile facilities such as those used for televised sporting competitions, are always in need of highly skilled green keepers. The best green keepers have the opportunity to eventually work at such facilities, and earn a premium income. The very best, get promoted and are eventually likely to become curators or superintendents.

Students of turf studies often start working in a position while still studying so they are able to gain experience as they learn. The course they undertake may be a certificate, diploma, or perhaps (only in some countries) an intern-ship or apprenticeship. Sometimes their first job may be as a volunteer at a local sporting club. Often football, tennis or bowling clubs may need to rely on volunteers or unpaid work from members, to look after their turf (at least partially), and sometimes this voluntary work is enjoyed so much that it can lead to eventual employment opportunities.

Our Students Say

"It did [meet expectations]. It was well compiled, the lessons followed on from each other logically and by completing each lesson in order I was able to better understand the theory of greenkeeping. The subjects, ideas and theories of all the lessons were well presented and easily read and understood. The set tasks were a good way to prepare for the assignments. Sometimes I was a bit daunted by some scientific descriptions, but by taking my time re-reading those items and getting a different view via the internet I was able to grasp their meanings and relate them to my job."
Darrell Murdoch, Sports Turf Management

"Thanks for the videos, they are great! I got a lot of information from them. The Turf Management video is practical and easy to understand. Plant Propagation is a video every student should watch because out here in the real world no-one would give out such information."
Kelvin, Sports Turf Management

Why Study This Course?

The Sports Turf Management course assumes a basic knowledge of turf care, either through experience or prior study (e.g. our Turf Care course). From there it develops your ability to manage the maintenance of sports turf. The course may be taken by itself or as part of a higher level qualification. It is ideally suited to:

  • Employees in the sports turf industry.
  • Green keepers and park keepers.
  • Garden and turf maintenance staff.
  • Gardeners.
  • Golf course green keepers.
  • Anyone interested in improving their job and career prospects in sporting turf management.

Start at Any Time

You can start Sports Turf Management at any time; why not enrol today?

The course has been developed by expert horticulturists, and students benefit from the support and guidance of our experts whilst they study. If you have any questions or want to know more, get in touch with our Horticulture tutors today - they will be please to answer your questions, and outline the study options available to you.

Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Meet some of our academics

John Mason (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Nurseryman, Landscaper, Garden Writer, Parks Manager and Consultant. Over 45 years experience; working in Australia and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 100 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
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

Event ManagementThe Event Management ebook can be used as a reference for students or as a foundation text for professionals who need to know the finer details for organising an event. This book takes the reader through the all of the considerations that need to be looked at prior to, during and after an event is organised. The topics covered in the Event Management ebook are 1/ Scope and Nature of Event Management, 2/ Developing a Concept and Planning, 3/ Organising the Resources Required, 4/ Catering: Food and Drink, 5/ Promoting an Event, 6/ Managing the Clientele, 7/ Risk Management, Legalities and Contingency Planning, 8/ Delivering the Event, 9/ Organising Celebrations and Parties, 10/ Organising Exhibitions, 11/ Organising Conferences and Seminars and 12/ Working in the Event Industry.
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.
WeedsThis book helps you understand different types of weeds, and how to control them. Many of the more commonly occurring weeds around the world are both illustrated and described.
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...