GREEN KEEPERS AND TURF MANAGERS

Green keepers are primarily concerned with maintaining lawns and sports turf surfaces.  This includes everything from lawns in home and public gardens, through to golf courses, bowling greens and other playing fields. They may also need to build and establish new turf areas, and maintain gardens, trees, landscape features or other facilities associated with a turf area. 

Work tasks can include mowing, fertilising, spraying for weeds, dealing with pests and diseases, hand weeding, topdressing, repairing damaged areas, irrigation, and using tools or machinery for edging, aerating, raking, vacuuming, renovating or other jobs.  Certain types of turf need special preparation before use (e.g. playing fields or running tracks need the grass to be line marked, a turf wicket may need rolling, and covers used to keep water off the playing surface). Irrigation and water management can include hand watering, laying drainage systems, sand slitting during a playing season, using machines to sweep or soak up excess surface water, cleaning and maintaining drainage and irrigation systems.

Where Do They Work?
Larger facilities such as a major sporting complex or golf course usually employ greenkeepers, assistant gardeners, supervisor, and perhaps a superintendent or turf manager to head up one or several teams of people involved in turf care.
Smaller facilities such as bowling clubs employ fewer staff, sometimes only one greenkeeper or turf manager who needs to be a “jack of all trades” and do everything from routine turf maintenance to handyman work on the clubhouse.
Private and commercial gardens often use lawn mowing contractors and specialist turf companies to undertake routine maintenance and renovation or troubleshoot extraordinary problems when they arise.
Greenkeepers and turf experts work at golf courses, horse racing tracks, football grounds and other playing fields, lawn tennis courts, croquet rinks, lawn bowling rinks, turf farms (providing instant turf or sod), lawn seed companies, schools and universities,  tourist resorts, turf research stations or anywhere else where a quality turf is required.

Opportunities
The turf industry is a significant employer within horticulture, particularly in developed countries where large numbers of people play sport. Consider how many golf courses and soccer grounds exist and how much effort is required to develop and maintain the turf at these facilities.
Turf grass that gets used more will be damaged more, and require more manpower to maintain. Premium, high profile facilities that are used for televised sporting competitions are always in need of highly skilled green keepers. The best greenkeepers have the opportunity to eventually work at such facilities, and earn a premium income.
Many will start in a position where they are studying while working and gaining experience. The course they undertake may be a certificate, diploma, or perhaps (only in some countries) an internship or apprenticeship. Sometimes the first job may be as a volunteer at a local sporting club. Often football, tennis or bowling clubs may need to rely on volunteer, 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.

What is Needed?
Greenkeepers need a broad foundation in horticulture (commonly 600 hours or more of formal training), to understand soils, turf plants, fertilisers, weed and disease control, and water management.  The job will also often involve working with the people who use the turf. Even if a facility is owned by municipal government, you may still need to work closely with players and club committees. Greenkeepers who have empathy, good communication skills, a natural ability to prioritise and organise themselves, will be most likely to satisfy the users, as well as the owners of a facility. This type of greenkeeper is more likely to progress through the ranks to become a technician, supervisor, manager or superintendent.
 
 
 
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CHOOSING A COLLEGE
 
Every college offers something different.
•They all have different tutors, with varying qualifications and experiences.
•Some have higher course fees; but that could be because they offer more extensive support; while others may charge less but provide less services. Some may offer different payment plans to others.
•The style of teaching and learning; as well as the emphasis upon assessment and the way work is assessed can vary from one college to the next.

The best school for one person might not necessarily be the best for the next.  You need to look closely not only at what you want to study; but the people and services you will be working with; and then choose something you think will work for you.

 

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