Turfgrass management involves the science and business of utilizing turfgrass in primarily recreational settings. A large majority of these recreational settings are golf courses.
Turfgrass managers must know the basic science of agronomy and must be able to provide a beautiful landscape. At the same time, turfgrass managers must also be able to control weeds and pests and select, operate, and maintain equipment. They must be able to prepare and follow a budget. In many cases, these managers are responsible for hiring, training, and supervising a competent staff.
The turfgrass management curriculum is predominately centered on the golf course management industry. In an Associate of Applied Science degree program, approximately half of the course requirements are in the general studies areas of written and oral communication, math, natural science, social science, and business.
Technical courses make up approximately half of the turfgrass management degree program. All turfgrass students must successfully complete two courses related to golf course management. Many students enjoy the fact that technical course requirements begin in the first quarter of enrollment. Areas of emphasis in technical courses include turfgrass management, turf practices, irrigation, golf course organization and management, plant materials, pest control, mechanics, and equipment operation.
Internships and Industry Activities
Students in the turfgrass management program must successfully complete a 16-week internship of full-time employment at an approved turfgrass management facility.
Career Prospects in Turfgrass Management
A variety of management and technical positions are available for individuals educated and trained in turfgrass management. Employment opportunities exist with golf courses and country clubs, parks, lawn care firms, and sod farms.
Turfgrass management graduates are employed as golf course superintendents, assistant golf course superintendents, golf course maintenance specialists, grounds maintenance managers, lawn care technicians, and sales representatives for golf course and turf management supplies.
Employment opportunities in the turfgrass and golf course industries are very strong, and this situation is expected to continue for several years.
Graduates of the turfgrass management program at Ohio State ATI have been employed at many golf courses recognized as being among the most outstanding in the country. Ohio State ATI graduates are currently employed at Firestone Country Club, Inverness Club, The Golf Club at New Albany, and Canterbury Country Club, all of which are in Ohio; Cherry Hills in Colorado; Interlachen Country Club in Minnesota; Pleasant Valley Country Club in Massachusetts; Baltimore Country Club in Maryland; and Old Marsh Country Club and John's Island Resort in Florida, among many others. There are also several graduates at international locations.
Ohio State ATI also offers an Associate of Science degree in Horticultural Science. This degree option allows students to begin their course work toward a Bachelor of Science degree. Students who pursue this degree at Ohio State ATI can meet a portion of the requirements for a bachelors degree at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
In addition, this degree contains the transfer module, a common set of general education courses, which apply to bachelors degrees at other colleges in Ohio.
Professional Golf Management 1+3
The Ohio State University's Wooster campus offers the first year of Ohio State University's Professional Golf Management (PGM) program, a four-year college curriculum for aspiring PGA professionals and the only such program in the state of Ohio. The PGM program provides students the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for success in the golf industry through extensive classroom studies, internship experience and player development.
Starting in Wooster
Aspiring golf pros have the option to complete the first year of the program in Wooster, at the Agricultural Technical Institute. This can be an attractive option for a number of reasons:
- ATI has its own 18-hole public golf course, rated 4 1/2 stars in Golf Digest's Best Places to Play 2008-2009. Wooster PGM students will have privileges at Hawk's Nest similar to those for PGM students at the Scarlet and Gray Golf Courses in Columbus. Hawk's Nest is Ohio State ATI's 18-hole public course, rated 4 1/2 stars by Golf Digest Best Places to Play.
- Students who choose to start in Wooster are guaranteed admission for the remainder of the program, provided they complete the first year in Wooster with a GPA of 2.0 or better.
- Students will save approximately $3,000 in tuition costs by starting on the Wooster campus.
- ATI offers the best of both worlds - smaller class sizes and personal attention from faculty combined with the academic resources of a major university.
- PGM courses on the Wooster campus will be taught by the Columbus PGM faculty, so Wooster students are assured of the same academic experience.
A career in golf management requires diverse knowledge and skills including finance, personnel management, marketing, food and beverage management, merchandising, plant science, inventory control, lesson planning, individual and group teaching, and social and professional interactions, as well as golf skills.
Ohio State PGM graduates are currently employed at such courses as The Breakers Palm Beach Ocean Course (FL), Harbour Town (SC) and The Golf Club (OH).
Salaries for assistant golf professionals average about $40,000 while a head pro/general manager position will usually earn between $65-75,000, depending on the course.
Costs & Requirements
While ATI is an open-admission campus, students who wish to enroll in the PGM program must provide proof of a USGA 18-hole golf handicap of 10 or better.
In addition to tuition costs, PGM students are also responsible for additional expenses incurred to become a member of the PGA of America.