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August 12, 2015

Greenspace Horticulture Diploma Turfgrass Stream

June 30, 2015 Update

Picture1The Greenspace Horticulture Diploma has existed in three different versions since its inception in 1997. In the two most recent versions, including the current version, students have a choice after completing the first year of the program of one of two streams, either landscape/horticulture or turfgrass management. This allows students to focus their studies in their specific area of interest in both second and third year.

Although recent turfgrass stream enrollment numbers have been low, employment opportunities remain high. This likely a result of two things; one, the golf market has been ‘soft’ which has resulted in reduced revenues and subsequently reduced expenditures at golf courses across North America. This means that Golf Course Superintendents have to “do more with less”. This combined with the negative publicity surrounding the golf economy may be dissuading some people from pursuing a career in the golf sector. Still, there is a need, and it could be argued a greater need, for highly skilled and experienced turfgrass management staff. This may be the case now more than ever as superintendents’ labor resources are reduced and golf clubs and superintendents alike are more focused on hiring quality personnel to allow them to maintain quality, while reducing costs. This coupled with what now appears to be a stabilized golf economy put trained individuals in a favorable position.

Trained personnel possess the knowledge and skills that can be applied to deliver the outcomes golf clubs are looking for. However, many golf clubs are finding it difficult to secure such individuals either as superintendents, particularly at rural golf clubs, or as assistant superintendents located in or near urban centers. In fact, in some instances, employers are only receiving one or two applications for quality assistant superintendent positions and at rural golf club’s no applications for superintendent positions. Sounds like a perfect world for would be turfgrass professionals!

Consequently, if this is a career you are interested in consider obtaining an education that will set you apart from those who are not trained in this area. Red River College is committed to offering the Turfgrass Stream (second and third year of studies) in the 2016-2017 school year. Register now for entry in the general first year.

If this is a field you’re interested in, speak with your employer or contact me at 204-632-2302 or email

Rob Officer is the turfgrass instructor with the Greenspace Horticulture Diploma Program at Red River College