Sports Turf students spruce up Millbrook Resort

Our Sports Turf Management students have been applying extra polish to the greens and fairways of Millbrook Resort, home to the New Zealand Open golf event.

Sports Turf students at Millbrook small file

On Tuesday, 27 February, two days before the New Zealand Open teed off, eight NZ Certificate in Horticulture Services (Sports Turf) students helped Millbrook’s staff ensure the course was at its best for the top-shelf golf event.

The students were joined by Sports Turf graduates Hemi Te Awhitu (greenkeeper) and Taine Reynish (irrigation technician, greenkeeper), both of whom were offered jobs at Millbrook after spending time there on placements organised by Otago Polytechnic.

“The NZ Open provides a perfect opportunity to show students what sort of stage they can work on,” says John Prunnell, head of the Sports Turf Management course at our Cromwell campus.

“They were ‘inside the ropes’, getting a close-up, hands-on experience of what’s required at this level. And, of course, they will get to see some really good golfers.”

John Prunnell

Head of the Sports Turf Management at Otago Polytechnic

“They’ve been working on tidying up divots and ensuring those all-important approach areas close to the greens are in tip-top condition.”

John describes Sports Turf Management as “half-art, half-science”.

“Although we roughly fall under the horticulture umbrella, in that we are growing something, we’re different to agriculture or horticulture in that we’re not actually looking for a yield.

“But we are definitely looking for a result.

“For example, if you’re a venue that’s hosting a top-flight event that’s going to be televised and widely covered by media, there is an expectation that those involved in preparing the course have the knowledge, skills and passion to match such an occasion.”

Watch the Otago Daily Times video

Published on 29 Feb 2024