Foundation Diploma in Sports Turf Science

Course CodeVHT088
Fee CodeFD
Duration (approx)1000 hours
QualificationFoundation Diploma

Learn to be a Turf Technician.

A quality turf is essential for most sports today. Participation and watching sports has become an integral part of modern society.

Being able to create and manage a turf surface well is both a science and a skill, in high demand from golf courses to playing fields.

This course is lengthy, technical, and comprehensive; providing you with the fundamental knowledge and awareness needed to forge a sound career and continue to develop a career to approach your full potential.


  • Commence studies anytime
  • Study at your pace; when and where you want
  • Develop your networking and communication skills within the context of the turf industry
  • Discover opportunities you may not have previously even thought of.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Foundation Diploma in Sports Turf Science.
 Biochemistry I - Plants BSC102
 Botany I BSC104
 Horticultural Research A BHT118
 Soil Management - Horticulture BHT105
 Sports Turf Management BHT202
 Soil and Water Chemistry BSC307
 Turf Grasses BHT342
 Turf Repair And Renovation BHT303
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 2 of the following 6 modules.
 Biochemistry II BSC203
 Botany II BSC204
 Irrigation - Gardens BHT210
 Weed Control BHT209
 Biochemistry III (Plant Processes) BSC302
 Professional Practice for Consultants BBS301

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


The management of turf grass has become increasingly technical over the past century, underpinned by many advances in soil and horticultural science. 

A great deal of research has been undertaken and continues today; some into turf cultivars, other studies focused on the management of soils, water or the turf surface.

Opportunities will always exist for a graduate from this course to work with their technical knowledge of turf, whether in research, consulting, teaching, writing, or some other facet of the turf industry.


Most turf research has tended to focus on individual species or cultivars, rather than blends.
Nevertheless, research into turf sward dynamics has been undertaken by many turf grass scientists over past decades; commonly assessing factors such as growth patterns, tiller (stem) density, turf biomass and turf quality, typically over a 12-month time period.
From such research, we can produce graphs such as the following, which can, over a period time, show us how biomass (in this case) or other characteristics of the different varieties in a turf sward can change. 

An understanding of the ecological dynamics within the sward is important. Every situation is different though and every turf manager will need to get to know the unique ecology of the turf they are managing, and then make intelligent decisions about how to blend the varieties they choose to use in their own situation.

Research by Dr Mary Lush in 1988

Considered a mix of Agrostis stolonifera with Poa annua, on a putting green, and found:

  • Number of tillers and biomass per unit area remained fairly constant all year round.
  • In summer A. stolonifera increased and P. annua decreased. In winter, P. annua increased and A. stolonifera decreased.

Research by Lush et al. in 1984 

This measured turf cover and sward composition on a turf wicket over the football season from autumn to spring. The wicket was comprised of Cynodon dactylon and Lolium perrene. Research found:

  • Couch was dormant in winter but rye was active.
  • L. perenne suffered wear when played on, but still recovered slightly between games
  • L. perenne growth in spring competed with and slowed recovery of C. dactylon as the weather warmed.


  • Increased resistance to pests and diseases
  • Ability to recover from wear and tear across the entire year is improved
  • Improved ability to deal with environmental extremes from lower temperatures or light conditions, to periods of heat stress or dryness.


  • Every different cultivar looks a little different (e.g. in texture and perhaps colour). When mixed, there is potential for a surface to look patchy.
  • If growth rates vary too much, one may dominate unless growth is controlled. The faster growing cultivar may require more frequent mowing for example, to suppress dominance.
  • Very different growth habits (e.g. one growing more vertical, and the other horizontal), may result in a compatibility or a conflict. This may mean ideal cutting heights are incompatible (it may also mean that the creeping cultivar is able to fill in gaps that occur between tussocks of the other species.
    Where a dominant grass goes through a dormancy period, it can be necessary to over seed the area to maintain a turf cover and prevent weed invasion during that dormancy period (e.g. Couch grass is often over seeded with rye grass for winter).



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