Turf Management Jobs
Grass. Turf. Pitch. Lawn. Field. Whatever you call it, we all appreciate well-kept grass. It’s soft and green. But have you ever tended your own grass? It’s a green challenge! How do athletic fields and golf courses remain perfect year round?
It’s because someone is working on them full-time.
Turf management is the job of maintaining grass. It’s a year round job that is controlled by climate and Mother Nature. Turf is constantly monitored to ensure that it is in prime condition for athletics and aesthetics.
Turf managers know the pros and cons of different grass types. Fescues, bentgrass, tufted hair grass, bermudagrass, bahiagrass, grama grass, buffalograss, and Kentucky bluegrass are just a fraction of the 10,000 species of grass. A turf manager knows which grasses are good in warm climates and which thrive in the cold. They are expert on turf diseases, pests, and weeds. Every blade of grass is important to these grass masters.
Depending on where they are employed, they may work solo or in a team. Maintaining turf includes watering, weeding, and fertilizing regularly. Grass needs to be aerated to keep it healthy. Frequent mowing keeps the grass at consistent heights and looking sharp. In the off-season, fields need to be reseeded.
One of the biggest jobs is monitoring the soil for proper amounts of nitrogen and other vital nutrients. Turf must also be irrigated properly. Too much water means the roots will be delicate. Too little water means the plants may wither and die.
Unhealthy grass means the turf specialist isn’t doing his job properly. Dead patches, different colored grasses, thinning areas, and cracks in the soil are problems that must be remedied. Not only is it unsightly, but it means something is wrong. The most important thing in turf management is to make sure the green grass stays green.
In athletics, turf acts a cushion between the players and the firm ground. Properly maintained turf is key to the player’s safety because it eliminates dust, breaks falls, and prevents erosion. When working at an athletic facility, the turf management team is also responsible for painting lines and logos, plus setting up any goalposts or stages. Sometimes athletic fields use artificial turf, which is more durable, but still requires regular upkeep.
Golf course superintendents and greenskeepers are the turf managers for those miraculously flawless grassy areas. Perfectly mowed and maintained grass is important for the sport. Another turf niche is sod farmers. Sod farmers produce sod, which is the grass and soil down to the roots. It is grown on farms and delivered in rolls. Sod is a great way to quickly start a base for any turf area.
Turf is a $150 billion industry and employs 2 million people. Work is available all over the country from major athletic stadiums to small high school athletic fields and playgrounds. The best way to get involved is by attending university for a degree in turf management, horticulture, botany, or agronomy. Internships are a good way to learn the trade by seeing how professionals take care of grass. There are turf management jobs at golf courses, athletic fields, tennis courts, Nascar infields, sod farms, parks, and schools. Jobs with turf seed companies are also available.
Horticulture careers are great if you are happy to work outside. They can also pay well. Turf management careers consistently pay the best because people love green grass. Typically turf managers can make $30,000 to $200,000 per year depending on where they work. The big bucks are at golf courses and professional athletic stadiums.
No one notices the people that work in turf management, but they do notice picture perfect turf and appreciate it. Every time you watch an athletic event on TV, think about the hard work that went into the grass.
Quick Facts About Turf Manager Jobs
Job Title: Turf Manager, Turf Specialist, Sod Farmer, Golf Course Superintendent
Description: Maintain grassy areas
Employers: Golf Courses, Athletic Fields, Sod Farms
Pay: $30,000 to $200,000 per year