Associate Diploma Turf

Course CodeVHT011
Fee CodeAS
Duration (approx)1500 hours
QualificationAssociate Diploma

Professional Training to be a Turf Expert

  • Learn to Manage a Lawn Care or Lawn Service Enterprise
  • This course is designed as a foundation for a career in turf management.
  • start any time, study from anywhere at your own pace
  • Highly qualified tutors with decades of experience -exceptional support.

Turf managers include golf course superintendents and curators of sporting facilities (eg. Football grounds, lawn tennis courts, bowling clubs, race courses, etc).



Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Associate Diploma Turf.
 Industry Project I BIP000
 Horticultural Research A BHT118
 Horticulture I BHT101
 Machinery and Equipment BSC105
 Turf Care BHT104
 Horticultural Resource Management BHT203
 Irrigation - Gardens BHT210
 Plant Protection BHT207
 Sports Turf Management BHT202
 Weed Control BHT209
 Turf Grasses BHT342
 Turf Repair And Renovation BHT303
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 3 of the following 13 modules.
 Landscape Construction BHT111
 Landscaping I (Introduction to Design) BHT109
 Plant Identification and Knowledge (Horticulture II) BHT102
 Soil Management - Horticulture BHT105
 Supervision of Employees VBS104
 Engineering Applications BSC205
 Managing Events BRE209
 Plant Pathology BHT206
 Playground Design BHT216
 Practical Horticulture 1 BHT238
 Horticultural Marketing BHT304
 Practical Horticulture 2 BHT323
 Professional Practice for Consultants BBS301

Note that each module in the Associate Diploma Turf is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

What is Needed For a Career in Turf?

What is needed in this industry: learning or qualifications?

Much has been said about the need for Green Keepers to be trained, but all too often we assume that any training must be good training.

Does fast tracking work?

Horticultural Certificates today are shorter than they once were. In the past a gardening apprentice had to attend classes one day a week for 3 years and work on the job under the instruction of a 'qualified' gardener/horticulturist for 3 or 4 years. If you think about it, that adds up to over 5000 hours of training for a certificate.

Today, it is possible for people to attend colleges for 1000 hours or less in some cases, to obtain a 'nationally recognised' diploma. Surely, common sense would tell anyone that a certificate that takes 5000 hours to earn must teach someone more than a diploma that takes 1000 or less hours.

There are two ways of looking at education:

  • Firstly, learn how to do a particular thing (like mow grass) in a particular place and time.
  • Or learn to understand a particular thing, and build a capacity to adapt to changed circumstances and situations well into the future.

If we mostly focus on the first option:

  • Education can be obtained quickly, and be relatively cheap to provide
  • A staff member can learn to mow grass today and do the job tomorrow; BUT
  • Skills learned quickly are not necessarily retained long term
  • Skills learned fast are not underpinned by a fundamental and comprehensive foundation that allows them to evolve properly to meet changing circumstances over time.

What then do Green Keepers and Turf Managers really need to know & how do they get to learn it?

 A focus on the second option reveals that to learn anything, you need to experience that thing in a variety of ways, over a period of time. The more different ways you see, hear, feel and/or do something, the more it ‘sticks’ in your memory. Knowing this, any good teacher will tell you that quality learning 'takes time'.

To manage turf properly, the skilled professional needs a very solid foundation in not just practical horticulture practices, but also science. They must understand plant physiology and anatomy, biochemistry, plant taxonomy, pathology, entomology, meteorology, genetics, mechanics, and many other things if they are to be able to understand issues that confront them.

They must be able to communicate properly with experts who might help them, and most of all must have strong skills in time, resources and risk management.
If we are going to get better turf professionals, we need longer, more comprehensive and more in depth courses.


You Never Stop Learning

People sometimes talk about the need for lifelong education. The idea is that after your first course, you need to keep returning to do new courses, because things change and your first course becomes out of date.

This may be one way of looking at things; but if you look at industry leaders in any discipline, you will find that their initial training (formal or informal) was usually so good that they have developed a capacity to stay up to date. They have obtained a solid education first, then networked themselves into their industry, by joining professional bodies and subscribing to important publications. They attend meetings and conferences; and they continually encounter problems and work on the job with colleagues to solve them. They don’t need to attend more courses at a vocational college or university to keep abreast of industry trends; they are actually setting the trends, and advancing their own knowledge and that of the industry as they move forward.
For someone to become an industry leader in this way though, their initial training needs to be high quality. Quality Education is an investment in the future.

Study methods and options while working - PBL (Problem Based Learning): PBL is where students are assessed on their ability to go through a problem solving process, as opposed to the traditional learning method of students learning by listening to lectures and reading, and are assessed on their ability to recall and communicate what they have learned.

Why is PBL so effective? Research shows that PBL gives the learner greater long-term benefits than traditional learning, and many successful and progressive universities around the world use it in their courses. Graduates of PBL courses advance faster and further in their careers. Other benefits of PBL include:
  • Develops critical and creative thinking;
  • Creates effective problem-solvers;
  • Increases motivation;
  • Encourages lateral thinking;
  • Improves communication and networking skills;
  • Is based on real-life situations.

What is involved in PBL through ACS Distance Education?

Every PBL project is carefully designed by experts to expose you to the information and skills that we want you to learn. When assigned a project, you are given:

  • A statement of the problem (eg. diseased species);
  • Questions to consider when solving the problem;
  • A framework for the time and effort you should spend on the project;
  • Support from the school.

The problems that you will solve in your course will relate to what you are learning. They are problems that you might encounter when working that field, adapted to your level of study.


What next?

This course provides an excellent foundation for a career

  • If you cannot afford the time -start with a certificate or even one of our short courses. You can always continue studying while you work; and eventually build up to a course like this.
  • Alternatively -talk to us. Use our free careers counselling service.

More from ACS