Turf Management

Overview

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. Design, installation and maintenance of irrigation systems.

The industry has several peak industry bodies in Victoria including the Victorian Golf Course Superintendents' Association (golf courses - formed about 1981), the Victorian Greenkeepers Association (lawn bowls - formed about 1912) and the Victorian Chapter of the Turfgrass Association of Australia, formed in 1990. There are also state-based Turfgrowers' Associations.

 As a result of this large number of industry representative bodies, the number of people working in the turf industry in Victoria is sketchy.  It is estimated to be at least 3000 (comprising of about 1800 golf green turf staff, 300 lawn bowls greenkeepers, 200 turf growers and about 700 greenkeepers involved at council level, as well as greenkeepers working with ovals, racecourses or tennis courts). The Australian Golf Course Superintendents Association, has the largest turf industry membership in Australia, and is widely recognised as the peak industry body, with over 700 members.

The work undertaken by those employed in the turf sector can comprise the following:

  • 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

If you are interested in outdoor sports and the maintenance of sporting facilities, then a career in the turf industry may be for you. 'Turf' refers to grassed and lawn areas which are used for sports and recreation.

The turf industry employs people who look after and manage turf playing surfaces. There are several major employment sectors covered by this industry including 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 also 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.

Work in the turf industry can be divided into levels which also relate to training and qualifications. The titles for those who work at these levels are:

Level Job Role Recommended Qualification
Level 2 Groundsperson Certificate II in Horticulture
Level 3 Turf Tradesperson/Greenkeeper Certificate III in Horticulture
Level 4 Head Greenkeeper Certificate IV in Horticulture
Level 5 Greens Manager Diploma of Horticulture

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Level 2 - Groundsperson

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

Work undertaken as a groundsperson could include:

  • 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 people begin working as assistant greenkeepers. Once they develop their skills and knowledge they can then undertake the role of a greenkeeper.

A Level 2 Turf Traineeship will start by training you as an assistant greenkeeper before you move on to work as a groundsperson.

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

Priority skills areas for working as a groundsperson include workplace health and safety, chemical application, turf maintenance, and machinery and equipment operation.

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Level 3 - Turf Tradesperson/Greenkeeper

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

Their work could include:

  • 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 Level 3 Turf Traineeship which involves formal learning while working on-the-job.

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

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

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Level 4 - Head Greenkeeper

The head greenkeeper has responsibility for a number of workers and turf establishment and maintenance activities.

Work undertaken by a head greenkeeper could include:

  • 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 of them have worked as greenkeepers and have been engaged as head greenkeepers after demonstrating leadership and organisational skills. Others have completed a Level 4 Turf Traineeship which involves formal learning while working on-the-job.

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

Priority skills areas for working as a head greenkeeper include supervision and training of staff, development of mowing programs, managing irrigation systems and supervising machinery maintenance.

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Level 5 - Greens Manager

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

These responsibilities include:

  • 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 that you possess the necessary knowledge and skills and that you can apply your knowledge to industry standards.

Priority skills areas for working as a greens manager include business administration, sports turf planning and design, turf health management, monitoring budgets and financial reports, and staff management.

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