turf management


Stepping stones to a rewarding career

Career pathways in turf management

The turf industry employs people who look after and manage turf playing surfaces. There are several major employment sectors covered by this industry: golf courses, bowling greens, tennis courts and cricket wickets, sports playing fields, ovals and racecourses, recreational parks and grounds, domestic and commercial mowing and lawn maintenance operations and commercial turf farms.

Work in the turf industry focuses on the preparation and maintenance of these surfaces. The work may involve early starting times and some weekend overtime. Skills in the operation of specialist machinery and equipment are required for work in this industry.

At the supervisory and management level there is an emphasis on greens reconstruction and renovation, irrigation management, chemical use and healthy turf growth.

Managers are responsible for budgets and may have to report to club committees.

General turf management includes the establishment, operation, maintenance and management of bowling greens, golf courses, turf racecourses and all other sporting and recreational areas where turf or grass are primarily involved, plus the design, installation and maintenance of irrigation systems:

  • Establishment and maintenance of commercial and recreational turf
  • Design and preparation of sports turf playing surfaces
  • Domestic mowing and turf maintenance operations
  • Commercial growing and supply of turf
  • Management of recreational and sports turf facilities
  • Provision of technical advice on turf irrigation, pests and disease control and turf management practices

Jobs and qualifications

Assistant Greenkeeper Certificate I in Horticulture »
Groundsperson Certificate II in Horticulture (Turf) »
Turf Tradesperson/Greenkeeper Certificate III in Sports Turf Management »
Head Greenkeeper Certificate IV in Sports Turf Management »
Greens Manager Diploma of Sports Turf Management »
Sports Turf Manager Advanced Diploma of Horticulture (Turf Management) »
Assistant Greenkeeper

Assistant greenkeepers are usually starting a career in the turf industry. Under direct supervision they operate vehicles and assist in turf maintenance and preparation.

Groundsperson

A groundsperson is likely to be involved in a wide range of turf maintenance tasks under limited supervision:

  • Operating tractors, equipment and machinery
  • Preparing turf surfaces for play
  • Treating weed, pests and diseases
  • Planting and renovating grassed areas

There are a number of ways to get work as a groundsperson. Many start as assistant greenkeepers and once they develop their skills and knowledge they can then undertake the role of a greenkeeper.

A turf traineeship will start with training as an assistant greenkeeper before moving to work as a groundsperson.

The qualification for greenkeepers who have undertaken formal training or learned their skills on the job is the Certificate II in Horticulture (Turf).

Priority skills include workplace health and safety, chemical application, turf maintenance, and machinery and equipment operation.

Turf Tradesperson/Greenkeeper

Greenkeepers are experienced workers who are likely to be involved in coordinating a wide range of turf maintenance and establishment activities:

  • Operating specialised machinery
  • Constructing turf playing surfaces
  • Installing irrigation and drainage systems
  • Controlling weeds, pests and diseases
  • Cultivating turf
  • Preparing surfaces for play

There are various ways to get work as a greenkeeper. Most greenkeepers have either progressed from working as groundsperson or have completed a turf traineeship, which involves formal learning while working on the job.

The qualification for turf tradespersons who have undertaken formal training or learned their skills on the job is the Certificate III in Horticulture (Turf).

Priority skills include workplace health and safety, operating specialised machinery, constructing and cultivating turf playing surfaces, installing irrigation systems and controlling weeds, pests and diseases.

Head Greenkeeper

The head greenkeeper is responsible for workers and turf establishment and maintenance activities:

  • Supervising and training staff
  • Developing a mowing program
  • Managing irrigation, drainage and treatment systems
  • Supervising machinery maintenance, supplies and services
  • Operating within a budget planning turf establishment

There are a number of ways to get work as a head greenkeeper. Most have worked as greenkeepers and have been engaged as head greenkeepers after demonstrating leadership and organisational skills. Others have completed a turf traineeship, which involves formal learning while working on the job.

The qualification for head greenkeepers who have undertaken formal training or learned their skills on-the-job is the Certificate IV in Horticulture (Turf).

Priority skills include supervision and training of staff, development of mowing programs, managing irrigation systems and supervising machinery maintenance.

Greens Manager

The greens manager is likely to have significant responsibilities in managing sports turf establishment and maintenance activities:

  • Managing business operations
  • Planning sports turf establishment
  • Designing sports turf playing surfaces
  • Managing turf health
  • Preparing estimates, quotes and tenders
  • Developing turf surface preparation standards
  • Monitoring budgets and financial reports

Greens managers have often developed extensive knowledge and skills by working as head greenkeepers. They can progress to the position of greens manager when they have shown that they can successfully manage sports turf operations.

To obtain a Diploma in Horticulture (Turf) you will need to demonstrate the necessary knowledge and skills and can apply your knowledge to industry standards.

Priority skills areas include business administration, sports turf planning and design, turf health management, monitoring budgets and financial reports, and staff management.

Sports Turf Manager

The sports turf manager is responsible for ensuring that turf operations are successfully developed and managed. Responsibilities include business planning, managing human and physical resources, business capital and marketing and promotion.

* Source acknowledgement: Primary Skills Victoria »