Certificate in Horticulture (Turf)

A solid foundation in turf management. Learn about turf care, maintenance techniques and turf preparation for sports. An ideal course to develop skills needed to be a green keeper or turf professional. Start your own lawn care business.

Course CodeVHT002
Fee CodeCT
Duration (approx)600 hours

It's Easy to Enrol

Select a Learning Method

I am studying from...

Enable Javascript to automatically update prices.

All prices in Australian Dollars.

Click on Enrol Now to See Our Payment Plans Available. No Obligation.

Courses can be started at any time from anywhere in the world!


A 600 hour course designed principally for turf workers at golf courses, bowling greens, sports fields, councils and more.

  • A first step towards a career in Turf
  • Suitable for people who haven't worked in turf before
  • Also suited to people with some experience, but no formal training in this industry
  • Access to highly regarded Horticulture and Turf experts in both Australia and the UK, to tutor you and provide mentoring as you work through the course, building both an understanding of turf management and networking within the industry.

Turf Professionals work in all sorts of places, including:

  • Golf Courses, Bowling Clubs, Horse Racing Tracks
  • Sporting Complexes and Playing Fields: Football Grounds, Cricket Grounds, Athletics, etc
  • Schools, Colleges, universities
  • Turf Suppliers: seed companies, machinery suppliers, instant turf or sod suppliers
  • Small Businesses -Mowing contractors, pest control contractors, turf renovators, landscapers, nurseries
  • Government Parks Departments
  • Turf Research
  • Turf Education and Media   .... and more



"Over almost 20 years, I've seen lots of people come through our Turf courses and move on to wonderful careers in everything from golf courses to parks management and profitable small businesses"    John Mason  DipHortSc, FPLA, FIOH, Principal ACS Distance Education

How the Course is Structured

The Certificate in Horticulture (Turf) is a vocationally oriented course comprising both studies in both general horticulture and in turf care and management.

The course involves completing all assignments and passing an exam in each of six modules listed below.  Exam fees apply. 


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Certificate in Horticulture (Turf).
 Horticulture I BHT101
 Turf Care BHT104
 Irrigation (Gardens) BHT210
 Sports Turf Management BHT202
 Turf Repair And Renovation BHT303
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 1 of the following 6 modules.
 Engineering I - Machinery & Equipment BSC105
 Soil Management (Horticulture) BHT105
 Weed Control BHT209
 Irrigation Management (Horticultural) BHT305
 Soil and Water Chemistry BSC307
 Turf Grasses BHT342

Note that each module in the Certificate in Horticulture (Turf) is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.


  • Learn the skills and knowledge essential to the industry sector chosen (ie the selected stream)
  • Understand the growth of turf species and the principles and practices used in establishment and maintenance of turf species in a range of situations
  • Develop the ability to identify, describe and control a range of common turf pests, diseases and weeds
  • Understand and operate machinery and equipment used in turf culture
  • Develop basic landscape design and construction skills as needed by a greenkeeper
  • Be able to manage day to day operations in any type of turf facility, both sports surfaces and amenity surfaces.
  • Plan and manage the installation and operation of irrigation for turf and broader amenity horticulture
  • Identify a wide variety of different plants, including turf species, ornamental trees and shrubs and weeds.
  • Propagate turf grasses and other plants.

Module Outlines

Horticulture I

  1. Plant Identification
  2. Planting
  3. Introduction to Soils
  4. Introduction to Nutrition
  5. Introduction to Water Management
  6. Pruning
  7. Weeds
  8. Foundations of Pests and Diseases
  9. Landscaping
  10. Plant Propagation
  11. Introduction to Lawns
  12. Arboriculture

Turf Care

  1. Introduction - Turf Varieties
  2. Turf Grass Physiology
  3. Turf Establishment
  4. Soils
  5. Turf Weed Problems
  6. Turf Pests and Diseases
  7. Turf Maintenance Techniques
  8. Irrigation - An Overview
  9. Playing Fields & Bowling Greens
  10. Managing Established Turf
  11. Establishing Ornamental Turf

Machinery and Equipment

  1. Engine Operation
  2. Hydraulics
  3. Machinery Components
  4. Hand Tools
  5. Power Tools
  6. Tractors
  7. Equipment Maintenance
  8. Specific Workplace Requirements

Sports Turf Management

  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.

Turf Repair and Renovation

  1. Understanding Turf Deterioration - physiological and biological responses.
  2. Repair & Renovation Equipment - use and repair of applicable equipment.
  3. Turf Cultivation Techniques
  4. Health Improvement Techniques -pest control, feeding, watering, etc.
  5. Optimising Turf Usage
  6. Replacing Damaged Turf - techniques for replacement.
  7. Renovation of Degraded Turf - techniques to repair and renovated turf.
  8. Eradicating Turf Weeds
  9. Treating Aeration and Drainage Problems - compaction, etc.
  10. Managing a Turf Nursery.


  1. Introduction to Irrigation
  2. Soil Characteristics & Problems
  3. Estimating Plant Needs & Irrigation Scheduling
  4. Drainage
  5. Types of Irrigation Systems
  6. Trickle Systems
  7. Design Specifications
  8. Pumps & Filters
  9. Selecting the Right System for a Plant
  10. Design & Operation of Systems.


Turf tradesmen and professionals are employed by:
  • golf courses,
  • bowling clubs,
  • race courses,
  • sports grounds,
  • municipal parks and gardens,
  • commercial and private gardens.
Career Pathways
  • Knowledge and experience are just as important as a qualification
  • Don't make the mistake of assuming an apprenticeship will guarantee long term career success
  • Some start out volunteering, helping the groundsman at a sporting club.
  • Others start with a course like this or even a more general horticultural course
  • If you can identify plants, understand horticultural science and have some experience caring for grass; you will be able to compete for job opportunities when they arise. The trick is to be in the right place at the right time, so you get noticed; and that involves persistence and networking.
  • People who learn and have solid knowledge and skills, are the people who advance through the ranks, getting promoted to eventually become a Turf Manager.

We provide advice and support to all of our students; and are happy to talk to you about planning a pathway that gives you the best chance of reaching the career goals you have set yourself.

What Turf Professionals Do

Day to day work can vary, depending upon where you work, the seasons, and your role in the work place. Turf management may involve planning, construction and/or maintenance work. It can involve mowing, fertilising, spraying for weeds, dealing with pests and diseases, hand weeding, topdressing, repairing damaged areas, irrigation, and using tools or machinery for edging, aerating, raking, vacuuming, renovating or other jobs.  

Certain types of turf surfaces may require preparation before they are used (e.g. sporting surfaces often require the grass to be line marked, a turf wicket may need rolling, and covers used to keep water off the playing surface). Irrigation and water management can include hand watering, laying drainage systems, sand slitting during a playing season, using machines to sweep or soak up excess surface water, cleaning and maintaining drainage and irrigation systems.



  • Support:  communicate directly with staff who are experts and experienced with turf and horticultural management. Helping you learn is our top priority
  • Different:  if your training is different, you stand out. Knowing a fact isn't the same as having the capacity to be innovative and solve problems in the turf industry. A shorter course elsewhere might teach you some facts: but what's the point, if it doesn't increase your capacity to perform on the job.
  • Deeper Learning: If you learn properly, your learning sticks and can be recalled years later, whenever needed. We understand what it takes to learn for life and career success. Some colleges offer shorter courses that get you through exams, but it is important to understand, that isn't the same as learning for life.
  • Resources:  unique collection of people and intellectual property. Our team include many experts with over 30 years individual experience; and a collection of resources we started building in the early 1970's.
  • Flexibility:  more options for how, where, when and what you study
  • Learning is top priority: what you learn changes you for life. Everything else is secondary
  • Better value:   Compare our cost per study hour.
  • Reliability:  Established since 1979, and being independent means we have avoided the stresses suffered by many other institutions

Need assistance?

Start Now!


Rosemary Davies

Leading horticultural expert in Australia. Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (c
Bob James

Horticulturalist, Agriculturalist, Environmental consultant, Businessman and Professional Writer. Over 40 years in industry, Bob has held a wide variety of senior positions in both government and private enterprise. Bob has a Dip. Animal Husb, B.App.Sc.,
John Mason

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world.
Jacinda Cole

B.Sc., Cert.Garden Design. Landscape Designer, Operations Manager, Consultant, Garden Writer. He was operations manager for a highly reputable British Landscape firm (The Chelsea Gardener) before starting up his own landscaping firm. He spent three year
Getting Work in Horticulture
Find out what it is like to work in horticulture; how diverse the industry is, how to get a start, and how to build a sustainable, long term and diverse career that keeps your options broad, so you can move from sector to sector as demand and fashion chan
Plant Pests & Diseases
Are you one of those people that kill every plant you touch? Perhaps it's not you. Perhaps it's a pest or disease. A little bit of reading might just turn your garden into an oasis. Learn how to identify pests and diseases and bring the spring back into y
Professional Practice for Consultants
Explore becoming a consultant. This ebook contains chapters on how to be a consultant, packaging your services, delivering the services, building your resources, finding the work and getting the job, planning and ethics.
A good cross section of of common weeds are illustrated and reviewed. These are plants that occur in many parts of the world, and some are not always weeds.