Otago Polytechnic

Level 4 Sports Turf


Central Otago or Pukekohe Golf Club in Auckland through Future Skills Academy

18 months full-time

On campus and practical work experience placements

February 2019
until start date
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Central Otago
    18 February 2019
    1 July 2019 - 19 July 2019
    15 April 2019 - 26 April 2019
    30 September 2019 - 11 October 2019
  • Central Otago
    17 February 2020
    29 June 2020 - 17 July 2020
    12 April 2020 - 25 April 2020
    28 September 2020 - 9 October 2020
  • Dunedin
    4 February 2020
    31 May 2020 - 11 June 2020

Sports turf professionals are in high demand, both here and overseas, for the management and maintenance of golf courses, cricket wickets, sports fields and artificial turf among others.

This is the only full-time Sports Turf programme on offer in New Zealand!  

It provides an even balance of theoretical and practical studies and you will benefit from our close proximity to world-class sports venues. With motivation and hard work, you will have the opportunity to build important relationships, gain further hands-on experience and participate in a skill development placement at a top sporting venue in New Zealand.

Upon successful completion, you will graduate with a New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture Services (Level 4) (Sports Turf). 

Please note: Our Pukekohe Golf Club programme is delivered through the Future Skills Academy as a joint venture between Otago Polytechnic and the provider. 

Entry requirements
  • Open entry.
  • International students will be individually assessed to ensure you are ready for this study.  

All students (international and domestic) for whom English is not a first language:

  • must demonstrate English Language skills with an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 5.5, with no band score lower than 5.0 OR
  • must provide acceptable alternative evidence of English language proficiency depending on the visa decline rate of the country you are from. See here for acceptable evidence and visa decline rates by country.

Please note: All scores must be achieved in a single test completed in the preceding two years. You cannot combine scores from multiple tests. If you have achieved NCEA Level 3 University Entrance you are not required to provide evidence of English Language skills.

If you need to improve your English, we offer a range of English language programmes.  

Applying for our Pukekohe location

There's still a few technical things we need to do before you can apply for our Pukekohe delivery via our online application form. Please bear with us.

In the meantime, if you'd like to apply to study at Pukekohe, please email Barbara.Emmitt@op.ac.nz  

Additional documentation

You must supply certified copies of proof of identify, academic records, proof of residency (where appropriate) and a curriculum vitae.

Selection procedure

Applicants will be selected according to the entry criteria. If the number of applications exceeds the number of places available, applicants will be placed on a waiting list in the order they were received.

Additional costs/requirements

During your internship placement in the second year, it is your responsibility to organise accommodation and transport, although your employer will try and help you. It is important that you hold a current driving licence and have your own work boots and overalls.

Further study options

Expand your knowledge further with the New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture Services (Level 5) (Sports Turf)* in 2019 (offered from our Central Otago Campus) and then the New Zealand Certificate in Sports Turf (Level 6) available through the Primary Industry Training Organisation.

Programme specific risks

These include risks associated with agrichemicals, heat, cold, noise, lifting, machinery and potential allergens. You will be given more detailed information during the programme.  

You will study

The courses within this programme have been designed to ensure you gain the skills to ensure excellent employment outcomes for a range of turf facilities. There are no elective courses.

Your workload

Theory and practical classes will take up four days a week from 9.00am-3.00pm. You will also have one day a week of work experience during the growing season. In Year One there will be a full-time work experience placement in October and November. Year Two begins with a work experience placement from February to April. You will then return to the campus and complete the programme in late June. Generally, these days will reflect industry needs and will therefore run from 8.00am-5.00pm. You will also have assessment and study work to complete. 

Qualification structure 

Course Title

Introduction to Sports Turf Management (30 credits)

Develop the foundation skills and knowledge required to operate safely and effectively in the sports turf industry.

Sports Turf Plant Science and Health (30 credits)

Develop the knowledge of basic plant biology, ecology, taxonomy and species relevant to sports turf management, and identify and control common sports turf pests, diseases, disorders and weeds.

Sports Turf Growing Environment (30 credits)

Develop a basic knowledge of the properties of soils and root zones; how water behaves within soils and, how to use soils and water in a sustainable way.

Routine Maintenance of Sports Turf (30 credits)

Develop knowledge and practical skills to operate and maintain common sports turf machinery, equipment and tools used in the routine maintenance of sports turf.

Renovation of Sports Turf (20 credits)

Gain practical skills to renovate sports turf to improve performance or ensure the longevity of the surface.

Sports Turf Construction and Establishment (20 credits)

Develop knowledge and skills required to survey and construct a sports turf root zone, and establish and grow-in sports turf

Supervision of Sports Turf Staff (10 credits)

Enable learners to use interpersonal communication skills to achieve desired outcomes in a sports turf organisation.

Sports Turf Management Planning (15 credits)

To enable learners to develop an annual maintenance plan for sports turf surfaces at a selected sporting venue.

Student loans/allowances

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students only. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw your programme application or if it is unsuccessful. 

Recognition of prior learning

If you have extensive knowledge and skills due to practical experience in this area, enquire about our recognition of prior learning process at Capable NZ. You may have already gained credits towards this qualification. 


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.

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