A greenkeeper is responsible for a golf course’s repair, care, and overall appearance. They are obliged to maintain the course in great shape and give players a consistent challenge and enjoyable experience.
Tees, fairways, greens, and rough areas are the four key elements of a golf course that need different forms of care. In addition, greenkeepers are often in charge of maintaining and planting trees, shrubs, and flower beds.
They come to the course first thing in the morning to prepare it for play. This may need exceptionally early morning starts to ensure that the best playing areas are accessible consistently. Greenkeepers must also be attentive to golfers on the course at all times, ensuring that their work does not interfere with play and prioritising health and safety in all operations.
Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:
- prepare land for grass turf
- roll and mow grass and remove water
- control weeds, diseases and pests
- mark lines on pitches, cut holes and move markers
- install, maintain and operate equipment like strimmers and mowers.
- Starting salaries for an apprentice is £13,500 per year.
- Experienced greenkeepers can earn up to £30,500 per year.
You will typically work 39 to 41 hours per week including evenings and weekends.
You could work at a school, in a park or on a sports field.
Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers.
Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice greenkeeper include:
- Level 2 Sports Turf Operative – Entry requirements for this level include some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship. This qualification will take 18 months to complete.
On a greenkeeper apprenticeship, you’ll learn:
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to work well with others
- ambition and a desire to succeed
- sensitivity and understanding
- physical skills like movement, coordination and dexterity
- the ability to work well with your hands
- customer service skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device.
Most Greenkeepers join BIGGA, which offers subsidised training courses, scholarship opportunities and continuing professional development (CPD).
BIGGA also operates a Master Greenkeeper Certificate Scheme that recognises qualifications, skills and experience in golf course management.
Greenkeepers with the necessary qualifications and experience may progress to supervisory positions and ultimately become course managers. Some may rise to handle many courses as estate managers.
Understanding the techniques and science of different playing surfaces may lead to opportunities in other sports. For example, working in agronomy or golf course design is possible.
There may be opportunities to work overseas.