Turf Management as a Career

Undergraduates renovating a tee box at the Lewis-Brown farm, Corvallis, OR.

Training Turf Managers for Oregon Landscapes

More than 300 graduates of the turf management program at Oregon State are currently employed as superintendents and managers of golf courses, parks, and lawn care companies, representing an 85% retention rate over a period of nearly 30 years. Our graduates are national leaders in environmental stewardship with programs ranging from providing habitat for western bluebirds to developing spawning and rearing habitat for salmon.

Turf provides:

  • recreation for school and local sports programs.
  • environmental advantages such as pollutant filtration, improved air and water quality, and flood control by returning precipitation to groundwater rather than runoff.
  • habitat for a wide range of birds and other wildlife.
  • beauty and increased property values.
  • employment opportunities for people within the communities.

Students studying turf management develop the knowledge and skills to become golf course superintendents, professional groundskeepers, or park managers. Classes and Turf Club activities allow students to build a solid foundation in turf management, and participation in state, regional, and national professional groups allow students to network with turf professionals

Key classes include:

  • Introduction to the Turfgrass Industry
  • Basic Turf Culture
  • Landscape Maintenance
  • Woody Plant Materials
  • Turf Nutrition
  • Irrigation and Drainage
  • Golf Course Management
  • Internship

Research Opportunities

Practical field research evaluates turf cultivars, fertility, pest management, and the influence of cultural practices on long-term turf performance. The eight-acre turf research facility serves a wide range of interests including the seed industry, golf course superintendents, sports turf managers, lawn care professionals, Master Gardeners, and the general public, and is funded entirely by gifts. All student field lab exercises are conducted at this facility.

New Directions in Turf Management Education

Oregon State's turf management program is focused on enhancing the environmental awareness of turf and developing a closer relationship with wildlife management, urban forestry and business. In addition, there will be more student involvement in field research trials, sustainable technologies and ecological turfgrass practices.

OSU Turf Team

Alec Kowalewski, Turfgrass Specialist

Brian McDonald, Research Assistant

Stan Baker, Graduate Student

Clint Mattox, Graduate Student