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Schools for Aspiring Golf Course Superintendents: How to Choose

Students interested in becoming golf course superintendents will study topics covering both the business and landscaping aspects of managing golf courses. Across the U.S., colleges and universities offer certificate, associate's, and bachelor's degree programs in golf course and turfgrass management.

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Golf course superintendents are in charge of turfgrass maintenance, landscaping, and business management. Those interested in the business side of the golf industry can enroll in turfgrass or golf course management certificate and degree programs, in which they learn about both areas.

Top Schools with Turfgrass Management Programs

These schools offer turfgrass management programs that may include labwork as well as hands-on training:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition 2015-2016*
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Cincinnati, OH 2-year, Public Associate's $3,825 in-state, $7,393 out-of-state
Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA 4-year, Public Certificate $17,514 in-state, $31,346 out-of-state
Western Texas College Snyder, TX 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $1,898 in-district, $2,808 in-state, $3,696 out-of-state
Florida Gateway College Lake City, FL 4-year, Public Diploma $3,100 in-state, $11,747 out-of-state
College of the Desert Palm Desert, CA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $1,336 in-state, $6,656 out-of-state
Central Piedmont Community College Charlotte, NC 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $2,664 in-state, $8,808 out-of-state
Washington State University Pullman, WA 4-year, Public Bachelor's $11,967 in-state, $25,567 out-of-state
University of Minnesota at Crookston Crookston, MN 4-year, Public Bachelor's $11,646
Oklahoma State University at Oklahoma City Oklahoma City, OK 4-year, Public Associate's $2,859 in-state, $7,719 out-of-state

Sources: School websites, *NCES College Navigator

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School Selection Criteria

Students interested in this field should consider:

  • Aspiring superintendents might wish to seek schools that have student-run clubs; these organizations coordinate trips to industry shows and golf tournaments, exposing students to a variety of professional settings and providing networking opportunities.
  • Students may wish to consider programs that offer turfgrass maintenance internships for hands-on learning experience.
  • Some turfgrass management programs may offer further experiential learning with summer courses that consist of working at local golf courses, landscape companies, or parks.
  • Prospective students should also consider the facilities available for student use, such as greenhouses, on-campus golf courses, and horticultural labs where they can learn how to identify and manage turfgrass pathogens and weeds, as well as learn about planting methods and irrigation techniques.

Golf Course Turf Management Certificate

Certificate programs in golf course management typically last two years. Working students might be interested in online programs with streaming video lectures.

Associate degree programs in turfgrass management technology and golf course management typically include an internship. Graduates are qualified for positions as golf course superintendents, construction technicians, and sod farm managers.

Bachelor's Degrees in Turfgrass Science

Bachelor's degree programs in turfgrass science focus on the physiology of grasses, soil fertility, and biological control of pests. Programs are interdisciplinary and often include business and human resource management courses.

A variety of schools offer degrees in turf management, most commonly at the certificate or associate's degree level. Students should consider whether programs offer internships or experiential learning.

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