Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: A significant landmark for golf course superintendents in Asia was reached last week when Malaysia teed-off the Asian Golf Industry Federation’s (AGIF) eagerly-anticipated Certificate in Greenkeeping (CIG) programme.
Aimed at supporting a formal education programme for golf course maintenance in the region, the initiative is backed by The R&A, which as well as in Asia, governs the sport worldwide, outside the United States and Mexico.
The inaugural event was staged at TPC Kuala Lumpur in the Malaysian capital and was fully subscribed with representatives from 12 of the country’s leading golfing establishments participating – TPC Kuala Lumpur, Royal Selangor Golf Club, Kota Permai Golf Club, Horizon Hills Golf Club, The Els Club Desaru Coast, The Els Club Datai, Danau Golf Club, KGNS, Kota Seriemas Golf & Country Club, Saujana Golf & Country Club, Palm Garden Golf Club and Seri Selangor Golf Club.
Richard Walne, AGIF President, said: “From day one, our objective has always been to offer an accessible, affordable and internationally recognised certification for superintendents.
“This is an important step for superintendents in Asia and we thank all of those clubs and individuals who supported our first Certificate in Greenkeeping programme.
“The feedback we have received from turfgrass management organisations in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam has been overwhelmingly positive and we look forward to rolling out the programme across Southeast Asia in the near future.”
Predominantly, Certificate in Greenkeeping candidates will be people working in or aspiring to leading or second-in-charge positions with a minimum of two years turfgrass experience and currently in the employee of a golf club.
Abas Ismail, President of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Malaysia (GCSAM), said: “The Certificate in Greenkeeping 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.”
Education Partners and Sponsors of the programme are Jacobsen, Jebsen & Jessen, John Deere, Syngenta and Toro, who are all Executive Members of the AGIF, a not-for-profit organisation boasting more than 100 member companies from all areas of the golfing industry. The Education Provider for the CIG is the New Zealand Sports Turf Institute.
Olivier Ducrocq, Managing Director of New Zealand Sports Turf Institute and Labosport Asia-Pacific, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to showcase our expertise in the delivery of sports turf management for the betterment of the golf industry in Asia.”
Eric Lynge, the AGIF’s CEO, said: “In conjunction with The R&A, the AGIF is pleased to launch the Certificate in Greenkeeping. The programme focuses on the core knowledge and skills required to operate safely and efficiently as a greenkeeper on a golf course, and in a way that protects the turf, prevents damage to the reputation of the course and improves productivity.
“The first Introductory Course of the Certificate in Greenkeeping in Malaysia was an outstanding success. We had 20 CIG Learners who were joined by their Workplace Mentors on the final two days of the session. Interaction and enthusiasm levels were very high among all participants. They will now go back to their clubs for several months of practical application and recording before they come back for the five-day Progression Course.”
The CIG will be a 12-month programme with five modules.
The initial Introductory Course and Workplace Supervisor Course included modules 1. Golf Course Ecology and 2. Lead Greenkeeping Staff.
A five-day Progression Course will follow in early 2019, focusing on the three other modules: 3. Sports Turf Surface Management. 4. Sports Turf Rootzone and Soil Water Management. 5. Pest, Weed, Disease and Disorders.
Education will continue through distance learning and will conclude with a three-day Confirmation Course, which will involve practical assessment and completion of the final exam.
The Workplace Mentor is ideally the line manager of the candidate with a minimum of five years turfgrass management experience. The objective is for the mentor to assist with the implementation of the workplace learning.
The launch of the CIG complements the educational undertakings in club management of the Federation, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2019.
As well as running Turfgrass Management Seminars and Field Days and Club Management Mini Summits, Lynge said the AGIF will continue to roll out Club Management Association of America’s (CMAA) respected Certified Club Manager (CCM) degree via its Business Management International modules throughout Asia.