Mark Brooks mowing around Greg Turner at Queenstown Golf Club Mark Brooks mowing around Greg Turner at Queenstown Golf Club CREDIT: Southern PR

Central Otago students recognised on international turf

Monday 12 October 2009, 12:35PM
By Southern PR


New Zealand’s only full-time turf management course is gaining international recognition as students win internships abroad and international students sign up.

Mark Brooks, a recent Turf Management graduate from Otago Polytechnic, landed himself a sought-after 18-month USA State Ohio Golf Internship at the prestigious Quail Hollow Golf Club in Ohio USA.

“It’s a pretty unreal place to work, I would recommend it to anyone,” said Mark Brooks. “Once I applied it took only two weeks from the time I received the call from the college to the time I was in the States.”

Otago Polytechnic’s sports turf programme, which has been running in Central Otago since 1999, covers the management of golf courses, rugby grounds, cricket venues, and other sporting venues. It has a 50-50 mix of theory and practical work, as well as work experience every week at top sporting facilities.

At the end of the two-year course students graduate with a National Certificate in Sports Turf Management (Level 4) which is recognised worldwide.

Otago Polytechnic Sports Turf Management Programme Manager Gary Smith is delighted his students are being recognised for their hard work.

“The students and department have ensured the success of this course so we’re extremely pleased they’re being rewarded with overseas placements. The experience they gain will be incredibly valuable and in the long run I hope New Zealand will be known to produce some of the top turf management specialists in the world.

“We aim to give our students all the professional knowledge and hands-on experience they need to hit the ground running in the industry and the value of this is starting to be recognised overseas.

Japan’s Yuki Waga is the first international student to enroll for the Polytechnic course and says he was attracted by the unique opportunities the course offered.

“I wanted experience working in an international stadium and the Turf Management programme at Otago Polytechnic has organised a special placement for me to gain experience at the Westpac Stadium in Hamilton. I’m so excited - I’ll be getting involved with Provincial and Super 14 games, test matches and the build-up to the Rugby World Cup games in 2011,” says Waga.

“Nowhere else could I find such hands-on experience. I really want to work on the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan and the skills I’ll be learning here will hopefully help me to achieve that.”