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.  An ornamental lawn may be walked over very little, and when it is walked upon the effect of foot traffic is generally mild.

Discover how to care for different types of sports grasses

Through studying this course you will learn a range of techniques for managing sports turf grasses on different types of sportsgrounds. Learn about how different surfaces are prepared for play, how to fertilise, water and cultivate sports surfaces. See what equipment is needed and how it is used. Find out how to choose appropriate grasses for sportsgrounds and ways to maintain them and limit sports related damage. Devise a maintenance program for a sports facility.

Broaden Your Knowledge of Turf Surfaces

Sports turf must be more durable than lawns and ornamental grass surfaces. It is exposed to play and can be damaged. The amount of damage a sports turf suffers will depend upon the amount of use it gets, the type of games which are being played on it, weather conditions (e.g. it is more likely to be damaged in very wet weather), construction factors (e.g. soil type, drainage, and so on), the type of turf cultivars growing in the turf, the health of the turf, and the level of care and maintenance.

Study turf management by distance education

This course assumes a basic knowledge of turf care, either through experience or prior study (eg. our Turf Care course) From there it develops your ability to manage the maintenance of sports turf. It is relevant to the maintenance of all sports turf including golf courses, bowling clubs, playing fields, cricket wickets and other sporting facilities. It is a specialised field that will offer you an opportunity to create your own business maintaining sports turf for councils or private clubs.

  • Learn about and work in managing turf for playing fields, golf courses, bowling greens and other sports surfaces.
  • Tutors are experience professionals with degree level qualifications in horticulture or related disciplines - learn from people who are in touch with industry.
  • Unique courses, to develop technical problem solving skills, plus networking and communication skills - we aim to give you an edge in your chosen industry.


Course Content

Directed to managing the maintenance of sports turf. Ten lessons are as follows:

  1. Turf Variety Selection
  2. Mowing - selection, use and maintenance of equipment.
  3. Cultivation Techniques -spiking, coring, thatch removal and other techniques.
  4. Preparing for Play on Sports grounds - rolling, marking, etc.
  5. Preparing for Play of Greens - rolling, marking, etc.
  6. Turf Protection & Preservation
  7. Irrigation & Drainage
  8. Soil Treatment & Sprays - pesticides, fertilisers, etc.
  9. Evaluate Maintenance Facilities
  10. Develop a Management Plan.

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 (eg. 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 lots more

Duration: 100 hours


Good turf managers are always in demand, so long as people play sport.

Consider the amount of money that is spent on major league football teams, international cricket, golf, lawn tennis and the Olympic Games. All of these and other sports, require top class turf surfaces to be created and maintained to a high standard by expert sports turf managers.  The very best turf managers are people with unique skills, who start their career with solid foundation courses such as this; and then build on that foundation over the following years, by continuing to learn -attending conferences and field days, networking with colleagues and swapping experiences, reading journals and trade magazines, gaining invaluable work experience and perhaps undertaking further studies.

This course sets you on a path that can, if you are passionate and committed, take your career to places you might not have even started thinking about.

Tips for Sports Ground Management

Often there is pressure for more use to be made of existing sporting facilities than what would be ideal. This ignores the basic fact that turf grasses will only tolerate a certain amount of wear. When this critical point has been passed, bare muddy football pitches are the common end result.

Football and rugby in particular, are compaction sports where studs on boots effectively seal off the surface. This prevents water from penetrating and gives the appearance of a poorly drained turf. Hollows, or divots, in the playing surface are the first areas to be seen as mud patches each winter.

Another problem with sports turfs is that cricketers demand a fast outfield which is obtained by lowering the mower cutting height. This is the classical situation where if Kentucky bluegrass has been sown it is removed by mowing. A dense even sward mown at a height of 2.5 cm (1") will give a better cricket outfield than one mown almost to ground level.

On sports grounds which have multiple uses these problems can become compounded. Species suitable for sports grounds include perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, chewing fescue, couch grass, tall fescue, the erect type bent grasses and where there is lack of water, kikuyu. Mixtures can be with or without couch but it is essential to include tall fescue when there is heavy wear.

Check the pH level annually and apply ground agricultural limestone if it is needed. Fertilise each year in autumn with a nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium mixture at the rate of 375 kg per ha (3 cwt per acre). In winter, if grasses are yellow or growth slows down, apply either ammonium nitrate at 63 kg per ha (56 lbs per acre) or calcium ammonium nitrate at the rate of 95 kg per ha (3/4 cwt per acre). Aeration by forking or slitting is most essential to help drain the surface in winter. In spring, top dress hollows and worn areas. Re-sow worn areas, then fertilise with a nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium mixture at the rate of 250 kg per ha. If re-sowing is not necessary, apply nitrogen in late spring. In January or February, apply a further dressing of nitrogen. The rate for ammonium nitrate is 125 kg per ha, and for calcium ammonium nitrate the rate is 188 kg per ha.

Regular deep watering is essential in summer to maintain grasses as a dense sward.


Opportunities After Your Studies

This course is of value to people who have an interest in sports grass and playing surfaces. It will also appeal to anyone with a general interest in turf care and repair. People who take this course are most likely those working in or aspiring to work in:

Sports turf maintenance
Green keeping
Lawn mowing
Grounds maintenance
Parks & gardens

The course will also be of value to people wishing to include a sports turf maintenance service as part of an existing mowing, turf care or landscaping business.