Sign Up for Email Updates
View Scheduled Timetable

The Turf Managers’ Short Course is an intensive four-week residential program designed to provide turf industry personnel with knowledge in all aspects of turf management and culture. During the course, students will learn to interpret and integrate turfgrass agronomic information to design and implement turfgrass management strategies.

Why Study Turf Management at the University of Guelph?

For over five decades, graduates of the Turf Managers’ Short Course have contributed to the growth and success of the turf industry. Located at the Guelph Turfgrass Institute and instructed by University of Guelph faculty and industry professionals, the Turf Managers’ Short Course has built a reputation as the most successful and highly valued program for turf managers in Canada.

About the Certificate

The Turf Managers’ Short Course Certificate provides over 120 hours of instructional time through online and in-course instruction including:

  • Pre-course and in-course online tutorials
  • Face-to-face lectures and practical sessions
  • Ontario Turfgrass Symposium

When you have completed all the requirements for this certificate, you can request your parchment through the OpenEd Student Portal.

Admission Requirements

The Turf Managers’ Short Course is intended for adult learners 18 years of age or older.

The Turf Managers’ Short Course is an open learning continuing education course. You do not need to apply and be accepted into the certificate. There are no international student fees and we welcome students from around the world to register in our courses.


The certificate reviews all aspects of turf management as it applies to golf, sport and recreational turf, lawns and nursery sod. You will attain the skills to work at any of the following locations:

  • Golf course superintendent
  • Athletic fields, sports and parks turf manager
  • Professional lawn care and property maintenance
  • Sod producer
  • Sales, service or consultant in the turf sector

Topics and Instructors

Learn how to choose the proper species and cultivar of turfgrass, establish, manage and maintain turf in the different turfgrass industry sectors including golf, sports fields, lawns and utility turf. The major emphasis of this section is the integration of species selection, mowing, nutrient management and thatch management to provide safe environmentally sustainable turfgrass suitable for golf, sport, lawns and nursery sod production.


Dr. Eric Lyons, Associate Professor, Department of Plant Agriculture, Director, Guelph Turfgrass Institute

Dr. Eric Lyons specializes in nutrient management, stress physiology and plant competition in sports field, golf course and landscape turf. In addition, Dr. Lyons oversees extensive testing of new and emerging products for turfgrass managers. Dr. Lyons is dedicated to the continuing professional development of turfgrass managers and serves as Academic Coordinator for the Turfgrass Managers’ Short Course.

The Turfgrass Identification section reinforces turfgrass anatomy and growth habit, and how physical characteristics are used to identify cool season turfgrasses. Visual inspection as well as turfgrass keys will be used to identify turfgrasses.

The Turfgrass Soils section explores the physical, chemical and hydrologic properties and management of soils as they pertain to turfgrass. The major plant nutrients, the nutrient requirements of turfgrasses growing in soil and sand root zones, and nutrient management strategies are discussed.

Trees, ornamentals, and native plants are important components of all landscapes. This section looks at the interactions between trees and turfgrasses, and best management practices when selecting and maintaining woody plants on golf courses, parks and residential landscapes.


Mike Van Beek, B.Sc. (Agr)

Mike Van Beek retired after 26 years of instruction in the Seneca College Golf Course Technician program. Currently, he teaches part-time in the University of Guelph Diploma in Turf Management program. For the past 30 years, Mike has owned and operated a small landscape design and installation company specializing in residential installations. Mike is a member of the Ontario Turfgrass Research Foundation committee.

Dealing with turfgrass diseases is one of the more difficult aspects of turfgrass management. Under intensive management, turfgrasses are subjected to very stressful environmental conditions that predispose them to diseases. Disease-causing agents, the environmental conditions that allow diseases to flourish, and techniques to prevent and manage turf diseases are discussed.


Dr. Tom Hsiang, Professor, School of Environmental Sciences

Dr. Tom Hsiang specializes in fungal diseases of plants. His current teaching and research involves diseases of trees and turfgrasses, particularly biology and genomics of fungal pathogens as well as disease management. He has done extensive work with snow molds of grasses.

Evaluate the practical aspects of cultural, mechanical and chemical methods of weed control in turf with emphasis on alternative weed management options as well as conventional weed management techniques.


Erica Gunn, B.Sc.Agr. (Environmental Biology), with an area of emphasis in Pest Management

Upon graduation, Erica started working as a Research Technician at the Guelph Turfgrass Institute (GTI). Over the years she has worked on various research projects in the lab, field and greenhouse. More recently, Erica has worked in the GTI fields for the Manager of the Research Plots. In the winter months, Erica facilitates an online course for Open Learning and Educational Support in the Managing Golf Courses Certificate program.

In Insect Identification and Management, you will learn about the insect pests of turfgrass including their identification, biology, scouting methods and control. Insect pests that will be examined include all the white grub species, hairy chinch bugs, sod webworms and cutworms, weevils, crane flies and ants.

Integrated Pest Management draws on the information you learned in the disease and insect section of the course. You will learn general and specific techniques for monitoring turf pests and record keeping. You will be able to prioritize your turf monitoring, determine monitoring frequencies and become acquainted with thresholds. By learning to use key plants in the landscape to signal pest activity, you will be able to better time pesticide applications and overall, reduce pesticide use.


Katerina Jordan, Associate Professor, Dept of Plant Agriculture

Dr. Katerina Jordan teaches courses in turfgrass management, integrated pest management and biological control of plant diseases. Her research focus is on root pathogens of turfgrasses and other crops and maximizing the sustainability of turfgrass management practices.

The equipment section discusses the selection and maintenance of the various types of equipment used in turfgrass management as well as the direct impact equipment has on turf. Emphasis will be placed on efficient use, calibration and instructing staff in safe operation.


Sean Jordan, T.Ag. Sessional Lecturer, Diploma in Turfgrass Management Program

Sean is a Technical Agrologist with a wide range of experience in turfgrass management, construction and renovation. Sean has taught in the DTM program and TMSC since 2005.

Explore the role of the golf course architect and their involvement with golf course construction from concept to grassing. Examine the different construction materials, construction techniques and costs associated with building golf features such as greens, tees, and bunkers paying particular attention to the importance of drainage within these features.


Cam Tyers, B.A., L.A.T. – Cam Tyers Design Inc.

Cam Tyers has been a golf course architect for over 19 years. He started his own business, Cam Tyers Design Inc. in 2010. Before that he spent 13 years working with renowned Canadian architect Doug Carrick.

Cam has been a guest lecturer at Durham College, Niagara College, and the University of Guelph for the past 4 years, instructing the design course in the Turf Diploma program. As an architect, he is always looking for new ways that design can grow the game of golf and keep pace with the changing demographics of today’s golfer.

Study irrigation practices, products and troubleshooting of golf, municipal and commercial irrigation systems.


Gary Taylor – GT Irrigation Services

Gary has been involved in the irrigation industry for the past 35 years, beginning his career maintaining irrigation systems, to site foreman, irrigation design (residential, commercial and golf), service and sales, to an independent irrigation consultant. Gary has a BComm and currently provides irrigation and pumping design to the golf, municipal and commercial markets as well as project management and water management services.

Scholarships and Awards

This $500 scholarship will be awarded to the participant who exhibits both leadership and academic proficiency as chosen by fellow classmates, subject to approval by course instructors. The scholarship will be awarded at the course banquet and the recipient’s name will be affixed to a plaque which hangs in the foyer of the GTI.

The Ontario Golf Superintendents’ Association awards a scholarship ($1300 in 2018) and membership in the OGSA to the student with the highest overall class mark. The student must be a resident of Ontario and be employed at a golf course in Ontario. No application is necessary for this scholarship.

The OGSA also has 3 Assistant Superintendent awards (Hugh Kirkpatrick Bursaries) – TMSC students must have a ‘Class C’ OGSA membership to apply.

The Professional Lawn Care Association of Ontario offers two awards to the two top students with the highest overall marks at the annual Turf Managers’ Short Course. Both award recipients must work in the professional lawn care industry.

Sports Turf Canada offers a $1000 Robert W. Sheard Scholarship annually. TMSC participants may apply if they are Canadian citizens and have worked for a Sports Turf Canada employer.

The Western Canada Turfgrass Association offers monetary awards to students enrolled in an accredited Turfgrass Management Program or equivalent. Application deadline is in January each year.


Required fields are indicated by .