Study a Sporting Turf Managers correspondence course on line or external studies. Start a career in turf maintenance, professional development or self improvement.

Course Code: BHT202
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn to Become a Greenkeeper

Sports turf is different to other types of turf in various ways. Primarily though, the major difference is that 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 on, traffic is generally mild. The amount of damage which 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)
  • The type of turf cultivars growing in the turf
  • The health of the turf (and related to this, the level of care and maintenance).

A skilled sports turf manager must know how to evaluate and address any such problems as they arise.

Learn to maintain sports turf surfaces

Study this course to 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. Learn about 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.   

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  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
  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
  3. Cultivation Techniques
    • When to Cultivate
    • Methods of Cultivation
    • Spiking, coring, drilling, grooving, forking, raking, air blast, etc.
    • Coring and hollow tinning for Sports Turf
    • Scarifying (Grooving)
    • Dethatching (Vertical Mowing)
  4. Preparing for Play on Sports grounds
    • Introduction
    • Dew Removal
    • Water Removal
    • Combing
    • Vertical Mowing
    • Mowing
    • Rolling
    • Marking for Play
  5. Preparing for Play of Greens
    • Golf, Croquet, Lawn Tennis, Lawn Bowls
    • Cricket Wicket Preparation
  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
  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
  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, grasshoppers and crickets, leatherjackets
    • Disease Control; viruses, bacteria, fungi
  9. Evaluate Maintenance Facilities
    • Bent Grass for Bowling Greens
    • Couch Grass Greens
    • Analysis of Park Maintenance
    • Park Maintenance Tasks
  10. Develop a Management Plan
    • Common Environmental Problems; foliage burn, pollution, lack of water
    • Drainage Problems in Turf
    • Frost
    • Temperature
    • Wind
    • Plants have Varying Tolerance Levels
    • Programming Works; maintenance, new works, construction crew
    • Weeds
    • Weed Control Methods
    • Developing a Management Plan for a Specific Site


  • Select turf varieties to suit different sports surface requirements, in different climates and soil types.
  • Select, use and maintain mowing equipment, appropriate to different types of sports turf situations.
  • Determine appropriate applications for different turf cultivation techniques, including spiking, coring, thatch removal, and other common practices
  • Develop skills in preparing different types of sportsgrounds for play, including both major and minor events.
  • Prepare different types of greens for play, including both major and minor events.
  • Determine appropriate procedures for minimising deterioration of a sports turf; maximising its use and keeping the cost of maintenance at an acceptable level.
  • Explain the irrigation and drainage requirements for sports turf fields.
  • Determine appropriate treatments for the management of soil condition, including fertility, in sports turfs.
  • Explain alternative procedures for sports turf maintenance, used for different types of facilities and evaluate procedures being used to maintain different types of facilities.
  • Determine the resources required to maintain a selected sports turf; and develop management plans for different types of sports turf facilities.

What is Involved in Creating a New Sports Ground?
Building a sports ground at it's simplest, might involve simply leveling the ground on a paddock, spreading some top soil, and mowing anything that grows. This method may be inexpensive; but it has many potential problems.
  • Sticks, stones or other hard objects on or near the surface can cause damage to players who fall on them. Even if not exposed initially; over time, this foreign material can come to the soil.
  • The soil quality may be far from ideal, hence the health and quality of turf may be poor
  • The turf can contain undesirable species (eg. plants with prickles, or that cause allergic affects with human skin.
  • Drainage may be poor or irregular. If there is inconsistency over the surface, one part may be too wet and slippery while another part is too hard and dry.
 A more effective approach might be a work program as follows:

1. Site clearance

Remove weeds and rubbish, grub out roots, break up and remove roadways, fences, building foundations etc.

2. General preparation and initial grading
Plough to top soil depth, cultivate to break up plough furrows, and use a grader to remove mounds and fill in hollows to produce an even surface with running falls and even slopes across the whole area.

3. Major grading
Strip top soil and stockpile to one side. Adjust levels in sub soil, smoothing out irregularities; cultivate sub soil and level out sub soil; replace top soil which was stockpiled; cultivate the whole area into the sub soil (using a grader or other large machine with rippers); plough the whole site to top soil depth and grade level.
At this grading stage additional imported topsoil may be added to the surface. During this phase, soil additives such as lime or gypsum may be added.

4. Sub soil cultivation
Cultivate the whole area into the top soil layers. If sand slit drainage is installed, this stage may be omitted.

5. Drainage works
Sub surface PVC drains installed throughout.

6. General cultivation
Plough the site using tine cultivators or heavy disc harrows to a shallow depth to create a fine tilth, then blade grade the entire area.
There should be at least 10 cm (4 inches) of good topsoil at any point on the surface. At this stage lime or gypsum may be added (in which case it should be then cultivated into the soil).

7. Final grading and seed bed preparation
Use harrows and a roller to produce a fine tilth and even surface for planting the grass.

8. Planting turf
Turf is planted by seeding, sprigging or sodding.

9. Establishment and cleanup
This is the stage from planting through to the point where the surface is ready for use. This may involve such things as watering, rolling, mowing, collecting stones etc.
Initial mowing should be high (cut 5cm/2 inches or higher). Lower the height of the cut over a period of mows.


Opportunities Post-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
  • Landscaping
  • Horticulture
  • Parks and 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.


UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112

Our principal John Mason is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture

Accredited ACS Global Partner

Member of the Nursery and Garden Industry Association since 1993

ACS is a silver sponsor of the AIH. The principal, John Mason, is a fellow. ACS certificate students are offered a free membership for this leading professional body.Provider.

Member of Study Gold Coast

Institute of Training and Occupational Learning (UK)

Principal John Mason is a member of Parks and Leisure Australia since 1974 and a fellow since 1998

Recognised since 1999 by IARC

Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

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