The Rutgers Professional Golf Turf Management School, part of the Office of Continuing Professional Education, is a world-class learning center that has trained more than 5,000 successful greenskeepers in the art and science of golf course and turf management. School alumni represent all 50 states, 18 countries, and 6 continents as industry leaders working to improve top golf courses and sports stadiums worldwide.
Founded in 1962 by Ralph Engel, a respected extension specialist, the school provides a creative learning environment where golf course employees can build their skills and knowledge in the ever-changing science of golf turf management. Engel believed in mentoring first, encouragement second, and, finally, exposure to the finest educators. The school continues to honor Engel’s vision with an instructional team drawn from distinguished Rutgers faculty and researchers as well as acclaimed industry experts and golf course superintendents who teach in two programs: a three-week preparatory short course and a two-year certificate program.
The three-week course covers the essentials of turfgrass management concepts and science in a condensed format every January. It is designed to help experienced greenskeepers get the formal education they need; to introduce new students to the field of turf management; to enable golf course owners and general managers to understand the fundamentals so they can better communicate with and manage their teams; and to help industry sales representatives to better understand the wants, needs, and terminology of their clients.
In partnership with the Rutgers Center for Turfgrass Science, the premier two-year program is geared toward seasoned professionals who are serious about advancing their careers through in-depth education. It consists of two ten-week sessions on campus in the fall or winter, sandwiched around a nine-month break during which students complete a 200+ hour paid internship. With students attending from all corners of the globe, the schedule was intentionally designed to maximize their time at Rutgers while minimizing time away from home and work. Through interactive classroom lectures, hands-on field training, and real-world experience via internships, students develop practical knowledge and skills to achieve their career goals.
Both programs cover technical topics that are essential for existing and aspiring turf managers, including plant physiology, turfgrass identification, pest management, disease and weed identification, soil fertility, landscape design, mower technology, irrigation, and more. Since future industry leaders need more than just plant knowledge, the two-year program also covers effective business communication, budgeting, management, and leadership.
In 2016, alumni from the Professional Golf Turf Management School worked at such prestigious events as the PGA Championship held at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, NJ, the U.S. Open held at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, PA, and the Masters held at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, GA. Visit golfturf.rutgers.edu.
Source: 2016 NJAES Annual Report