About the Apprenticeship
A Golf Greenkeeper is responsible for the maintenance, care, and overall appearance of a golf course in line with the employer’s requirements. It is their job to maintain a good quality playing surface and ensure the course offers a consistent challenge and an enjoyable experience for golfers.
There are four key turfgrass areas on a golf course – greens, tees, fairways, and areas of rough, each of which requires a different type of maintenance. Using a range of equipment and machinery safely and competently will play a major part within an apprentices training programme. Golf Greenkeepers will also be involved in hazard, environmental and ecological operations which may include bunker maintenance, planting turf, trees, shrubs and developing wildlife habitats. The skills required to become a competent greenkeeper will be acquired whilst working on the golf course.
By the end of the programme, the apprentice will know when, how, and why the range of maintenance operations are carried out.
A career as a Golf Greenkeeper can take you wherever the game of golf is played. Working outdoors in a healthy environment and as new countries are embracing the sport and more golf courses are being built, there is no better time to consider joining this great profession.
An apprentice commencing on a golf course would typically take 24 months to complete their education and training. However, this may be reduced if an apprentice has already gained knowledge and skills working on a golf course or a sports turf facility.
Entry requirements will be determined by individual employers but typically potential apprentices will have English & maths GCSE at Grades A-C (4-9) or other equivalent vocational qualifications. Employers, who recruit apprentices without the above levels of qualifications, will have to ensure they achieve Level 1 in English and maths as part of their Apprenticeship.
This standard is recognised by the British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA), the professional body for greenkeepers. At the start of the apprenticeship, the apprentice will be registered with BIGGA. Upon completion of this standard, the apprentice will be eligible to join BIGGA as a full member and become a BIGGA Accredited Greenkeeper.
The successful apprentice will have the opportunity to progress on to a higher level apprenticeship standard.
Job opportunities will also be enhanced for those apprentices who have completed the programme with promotion to more senior positions within a golf club facility or the option to progress by working in other sports facilities such as a Grounds Maintenance Operator/Technician.
Unit 001 – Develop personal performance & maintain working relationships
Unit 002 – Monitor and Maintain Health & Safety
Unit 003 – Use and maintain equipment & machines
Unit 004 – Prepare and operate a tractor with attachments
Unit 005 – Present and maintain turf playing surfaces for golf
Unit 006 – Renovate & repair sports turf surfaces
Unit 007 – Establish plants outdoors
Unit 008 – Prepare the golf course for play
There are no tuition fees to you as the apprentice. The fees will be paid by your employer. 16-18 years olds will be free unless your employer has 50+ employees when they need to pay 5% of the costs. Aged 19+ then there is a 5% course fee or the levy charge associated with the particular apprenticeship.
The following qualifications will be required prior to taking the end-point assessment:
- Emergency first aid – Level 2 award in emergency first aid at work.
- Pesticides – Level 2 Principles of Safe Handling and Application of Pesticides Guidance OR Level 2 Award in the Safe Use of Pesticides
- English & maths – Apprentices without level 2 English and maths must achieve level 1 and take the test for level 2 before taking the end-point assessment skills
A Golf Greenkeeper must be able to:
- Maintain good standards of health and safety for self and others
- Prepare the golf course for play which will include removing early morning dew and debris from the greens, raking bunkers, moving tee markers, cutting new holes on greens
- Prepare and use equipment and machinery to maintain and renovate all turf surfaces within the golf course, including the use of tractors, ride-on machines, and specialist equipment
- Apply turf treatments to help produce quality playing surfaces, including fertilisers and top dressing
- Use a variety of integrated methods to control weeds, fungal diseases, pests, and turf disorders
- Maintain and renovate bunkers and other hazards such as water features
- Maintain drainage and irrigation systems
- Prepare the ground to establish turf and plants when maintaining, renovating, and constructing golf course features
A Golf Greenkeeper must understand the following technical knowledge:
- Identify their role in monitoring and maintaining health and safety within the workplace
- Identification of a number of grasses, weeds, pests, diseases, turf disorders, plants, and trees
- The primary aspects of soil and plant biology to include the process of germination, photosynthesis, respiration, and transpiration
- The principles of mowing and machine maintenance and their operation
- The need and implications of rolling, verti-cutting, scarification, and aeration
- The strategies for controlling weeds, pests, diseases, and turf disorders
- How fertilisers, top dressing, and chemicals affect playing surfaces
- How course maintenance practices affect the environment
- Basic information technology
- Be aware of the importance of the Rules of Golf and golf course etiquette
- Recognise the importance of environmental and ecological best practice
- The operation of irrigation, drainage systems, and their maintenanceThe behaviours required by golf club employees will be:
- To have a strong work ethic including pride in work, attention to detail, integrity and time management
- To have a flexible positive attitude to work
- To have the ability to work as a lone worker and as a member of a team
- To show a willingness to learn and contribute to their own continuing professional development
- To have a safety mindset for self, colleagues and golfers
- To be a clear and effective communicator who can use a variety of communication methods to give/receive information accurately and in a timely and positive manner
- Problem-solving and effective decision making
End-point assessments – These will test the knowledge, skills, and behaviours the trainee has learned and developed over the period of their journey and will be administered by an Independent Assessment Organisation. The assessments will incorporate a trainee statement, an online test, and a practical assessment.