Singapore: The Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF), the region’s umbrella golfing body, has launched a Certificate in Greenkeeping (CIG), the first of its kind in Asia.
Aimed at supporting education among golf course superintendents and improving conditioning of golf courses, the initiative is backed by The R&A, the game’s ruling golf organisation.
Richard Walne, the AGIF’s President, said: “We are excited to announce the development of this programme. The objective is to be able to offer an accessible, affordable and internationally recognised certification for superintendents.”
Walne, who is also Toro’s Australia and Asia Pacific Managing Director, said the Certificate in Greenkeeping will launch over the next three years across several markets in Asia.
“We have had productive and positive discussions with turfgrass management organisations in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
“The Certificate will provide a much-needed education path for turfgrass professionals in Asia, which already exists in North America, the United Kingdom and Europe and Australia and New Zealand,” Walne said.
Steve Isaac, Director – Sustainability at The R&A, said: “The R&A has agreed to support the AGIF Certificate in Greenkeeping as part of our greenkeeper education programme. This is a positive development for the golf industry in Asia and we are excited at being involved with this initiative.”
Education Partners in the programme are Jacobsen, Jebsen & Jessen, John Deere, Syngenta and Toro, all Executive Members of the AGIF, a not-for-profit organisation boasting more than 100 member companies from all areas of the golfing industry.
Education is one of the core activities of the Federation that will mark its 10th anniversary in 2019.
More than a dozen AGIF-organised educational events across the region will take place this year.
“We have seen progress with the programmes presented as we continue to strive to be the leading golf industry organisation within the region,” said Eric Lynge, the AGIF’s Chief Executive Officer.
As well as running Turfgrass Management Seminars and Field Days in Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, the AGIF will continue to roll out Club Managers Association of America’s (CMAA) respected Certified Club Manager (CCM) degree via its Business Management International (BMI) modules throughout Asia.
Specialised Club Management Mini Summits will also be organised in several markets, focusing on topical issues and challenges facing the golf industry. These events round out the Federation’s extensive education efforts.
Lynge said: “The success of our education programmes continues to improve each year, as the AGIF increases its focus on education.
“In particular, the strengthening of our relationship with the Club Managers Association of America has been significant. We have now completed the second year of our landmark agreement with the CMAA to utilise their acclaimed BMI curriculum, which delivers classroom learning to club managers across the Asian region.
“In line with our partnership, we are able to run these programmes throughout Asia, excluding China. To date we have brought in more than 50 managers from clubs in Malaysia, Singapore, China, Indonesia and Thailand to our programme.
“Since our link up with the CMAA for the CCM certification, we have been mentioning to our superintendent contacts throughout Asia whether they would be interested in a similar recognised certification for their profession. The universal feedback was positive and prompted the development of the Certificate in Greenkeeping.
“There has been a consistent request from our superintendent participants for certification which they can work towards, and better their education as well as their standing and compensation within their golfing community.”
AGIF activities at this week’s SMBC Singapore Open act as a good example of the variety and scope of the Federation’s education activities.
The Federation is supporting the SMBC Singapore Open Superintendent Volunteer Programme run by Sentosa, launching the Certificate of Greenkeeping, running five-day Club Management training and concluding with a Club Management Mini Summit.
The Mini Summit will focus on Sustainability in the Club Industry and gather all industry stakeholders from turfgrass personnel and club managers to private club committee members and golf club owners.
“In one tournament week, with the support of Sentosa Golf Club, Lagardère Sports and the rest of our members, we are able to reach the whole spectrum of the golf industry,” said Lynge.