BSc (Hons) Sportsturf Science + Management

About the course

This course is eligible for applications from 8 September 2018 with a start date of September 2019.

The course is delivered at University Centre Myerscough and awarded by the University of Central Lancashire. The course focuses on sportsturf science and management. It covers high levels of technical knowledge in science, management and technology across a range of sportsturf issues. Current research is applied to develop a strategic approach to the management of all sportsturf surface types, including the best sportsturf surfaces often associated with world class locations such as Wimbledon Tennis Club, Lords Cricket Ground, Ascot Race Course and Royal Birkdale Golf Club.

Subjects studied include plant and soil science, turf grasses: cultivation practices in sportsturf, construction, drainage, and irrigation and machinery management. In year three students undertake a major research project within a chosen specialist area of agronomy or sportsturf management.

The course also aims to develop transferable and personal skills that are important for employers at this level. These include communication, time management, work prioritisation, critical analysis and report writing. Successful completion of this course should provide opportunities within a wide and varied sportsturf industry, which requires both high levels of educational understanding and practical experience.

Applicants wishing to top-up from a Foundation Degree or HND into the final year of the BSc (Honours) course will need to demonstrate skills in research methods and plant science at Level 5 to enable them to progress smoothly onto the programme. Those applicants whose previous programme of study has not covered research skills or plant science at the appropriate level will be asked to complete bridging modules "Research Methods" and “Environmental Plant Physiology” which may be taken during the summer prior to entry onto the course. These modules may be studied on-line.

Course modules

Year 1

Essential Plant and Soil Science

Plants and soils have a very close relationship. This module will look at the biochemistry and physiology of plants and how these are affected by the plants environment. You will consider the characteristics of the soil environment and how these impact on plant growth and land use. The mechanisms by which plants can express the genetic information coded in their DNA and pass this on to the next generation will also be explained.

Sportsturf Mechanisation

This module aims to examine the relationship between labour and machines used in the sportsturf sector. The module investigates the basic principles of the machinery and the principles of internal combustion engines and the transmission of power. The module will also explore the safe operation and management of modern machines and equipment. Procurement and management of machinery, equipment necessary for the maintenance of quality sportsturf surfaces. The module will explore the sources of machinery and equipment and review current developments within machinery and equipment technology. Options for machinery and equipment finance will be evaluated for the sports turf facility. Design of storage facilities will be covered.

Turfgrass Establishment and Management (Double module)

This module aims to develop underpinning knowledge and skills necessary to manage playing surfaces. A range of sportsturf maintenance practices for a variety of surfaces will be examined and appraised. The theory of cultural practices for a wide range of sports surfaces will be described and discussed alongside the role of the modern greenkeeper or grounds manager. This module also covers diagnostic skills, pathology knowledge and understanding of pest, disease and weed management expected of professional practitioners in sportsturf. The module will address good practice, evaluate recent developments and consider issues of sustainability for the sports surface manager.

Academic and Professional Skills

This module develops the students’ key academic, professional and transferable skills in order to help the transition from further to higher education; from more dependent to more independent modes of learning.

Business Management

This module introduces key areas of management activity such as human resource management, leadership, marketing and finance to allow students to develop further knowledge and skills to improve future employability in land based industries.

Year 2

Environmental Plant Physiology

To introduce you to the dynamic process of plant growth, metabolism and reproduction, and to encourage an independent approach to learning. Specific objectives are to use practical sessions to ensure competence in carrying out experimental work, in recording results, and in writing reports in scientific format, to ensure that you can use IT packages to analyse data; to expose you to original scientific literature.

Groundsmanship and Greenkeeping (Double module)

This module aims to develop underpinning knowledge and skills necessary to design and manage a range of turf and non-turf surfaces used for a range of sports. It aims to develop the student’s ability to produce appropriate designs for either a golf course or multi-sports sports ground which meet the needs of the client and site. The module also provides students with clear understanding of the methodology and process of performance quality testing for a range of sports turf surfaces. The management techniques and operations required to maintain a range of sports turf and non-turf surfaces used for sport will be discussed and analysed. Responsible facility management will be discussed including use of resources, waste management and wider issues of sustainability and resource efficiency. Actual or potential environmental issues on a sportsturf facility and appropriate management solutions will be identified.

Industry Project

You will use the skills developed in earlier modules to identify a suitable industry related project. Through planning, executing and then reporting on the project outcomes, you will be encouraged to use the industry project to develop your own personal skills as well as professional working relationships with industry contacts. Theories and skills of project management will be developed through supporting lectures.

Sports Surface Construction, Drainage and Irrigation Design

This module aims to give the student a thorough understanding of the mode of action of different construction and drainage systems their related benefits and disadvantages. The module will explore the design concepts of the range of natural turf and artificial sports surface construction and drainage systems currently available. The choice and selection of available materials for building sportsturf areas and golf courses will be evaluated. The design and installation of automated irrigation systems for golf courses and sportsgrounds will be discussed and evaluated. Aspects of effective project management; planning, monitoring and evaluation will be discussed.

Research Methods

Experimental design and data analysis are core themes in this module. It will introduce concepts of statistical testing and further develop skills in presenting and interpreting results of scientific investigations. The module will give students vital skills in formulating research questions and designing an effective experiment.

Year 3

Applied Plant Science and Biotechnology

This module will review recent advances in plant breeding, including plant tissue culture and molecular techniques, with an emphasis on specialist industry applications. Students will also develop their skills in carrying out laboratory analysis, using original scientific literature, communicating scientifically and learning independently.

Greenspace Professional Practice

It is very important for professionals to have an appreciation of ethical and sustainable business operation concepts and be able to apply them. In this module students will build upon the principals of strategic planning and corporate social responsibilities to address business auditing tasks, such as re-branding and re-modelling, incorporating company policies; planning; project management; communication and negotiation with clients. They will also critically analyse a range of contemporary issues within horticulture and associated green industries.

Research Project (Double module)

Students will be given the opportunity to design and carryout a piece of investigative research into a topic that interests them. This will allow them to demonstrate the skills that they have developed throughout the course including the abilities to design an original investigation, to work independently, and to produce a coherent and critical report.

Rootzone Technology

This module examines the development and use of artificially constructed rootzones for the production of quality surfaces for a variety of sports. An evaluation is made of a range of rootzone formulations for various uses, their constituents, their physical and chemical properties and the influence on these from a variety of management systems and environmental conditions.

Sportsturf Specification for Construction and Maintenance

Evaluation of design options cost and maintenance implications of sports turf construction and drainage specifications for surface development.

Entry requirements & additional information

Entry requirements

5 GCSE passes at Grade C (4) or above (including Maths and English or equivalent)

Plus 104 UCAS Tariff points from one or more of the following:

• 3 A-levels (A2) at C or above

• BTEC/C&G Level 3

• 4 Scottish Highers at C or above

• 4 Irish Highers at C or above

• International Baccalaureate at 24 points

AS levels, BTEC Subsidiary Diploma and Scottish Intermediate 2s may be used to contribute to entry requirements but they are not sufficient for entry on their own. Alternative equivalent qualifications will also be considered positively.

Applicants who believe they may be eligible for Accreditation of Prior Certificated and/or Experiential Learning (APCL/APEL) for certain modules will be considered on an individual basis.

Applicants for whom English is a second language must be able to demonstrate proof of International English Language Testing System (IELTS) at level 6.0 (with no component score lower than 5.5) or equivalent.

All offers may be subject to successful interview

Learning and assessment

Learning Environment:

Learning activities on the course are diverse, including lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical sessions and workshops.

Students are expected to undertake extensive independent study and research to support lectures, seminars and assessments. Group work and group presentations form an important part of the course. Students will have access to specialist IT hardware and software, an on-line learning environment and reference facility.

Assessment:

Students will face a variety of assessments including a combination of coursework and unseen examinations. The coursework assessment methods will include technical reports, portfolios, group and individual presentations, laboratory/practical reports and extended project work. The students may be required to produce work in a range of formats, such as the production of leaflets or research posters.

Additional Information:

The Department has a close working relationship with a large number of industry bodies and sports clubs and so teaching is supported with a range of guest speakers, visits to top class sporting venues and trade shows. We are supported by Ransomes Jacobsen Ltd, Bernard Grinders and Co and Kubota UK. The course is accredited by the Institute of Groundsmanship.

There will be the opportunity to apply to become an R&A scholar and receive a bursary and support from the R&A. Currently 30% of our students receive an R&A Scholarship.

The course utilises the College sports facilities: 9 hole golf course, winter games pitches, warm up areas and full size third generation artificial football pitch for teaching, practical activities and scenario based exercises.

The College has research active subject specialist staff and there is an opportunity to be involved in current industry research projects during the course.

What work experience can I get?

There is the option to intercalate and take a gap year to work in the industry anywhere in the world. This enables students to gain experience in a real working environment as well as increasing employment prospects. Virtually all our students undertake periods of seasonal industry experience each summer at a range of prestigious golf clubs and sports grounds, eg: St Andrews, Wimbledon AELTC, Queenwood Golf Course, The Belfry. The College staff help to facilitate such periods of employment where possible.

Progression

On successful completion of the course, students may apply for masters level subjects either taught or by research at other institutions.

Careers

The course aims to provide a programme of Sportsturf related education which will enable degree holders to analyse key academic themes in the subject area and critically evaluate the wide range of management issues within different sectors of the industry, which will therefore prepare them for a successful career in the UK or overseas. The course is designed with the intention that its graduates will be able to function effectively at a managerial level within the Sportsturf industry. Modular content emphasises the importance of career development and planning throughout.

Examples of possible careers include:

Sportsturf Agronomist/Consultant

Head Groundsman

Head Greenkeeper

Golf Course Manager

Local Authority Grounds Manager

Lecturer/Researcher

Industry Sales & Marketing Professional

Professional accreditations

This course is fully endorsed by the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) and recognised as the qualification of choice for those seeking careers within the sportsturf industry such as grounds and stadium managers.

Myerscough College is a Golf Course Training Committee (GTC) approved centre and has a close working relationship with the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) and with The R&A

Special requirements

Extra Costs:

Additional costs for items that are essential for the course:

· £10 – Lab coat

Additional costs for opportunities and items that are optional for the course include:

· £100 - Camera

· £80 - Waterproofs and safety boots

Sportsturf studies

There are fantastic opportunities both in the UK and overseas for people who are trained and qualified in sportsturf. Careers exist at all levels, from assistant groundspersons and greenkeepers to managers of international sports facilities such as Premier League Football Clubs and the major elite Golf Courses. Our courses will equip you with the skills that are necessary to build, maintain and manage quality turf surfaces to a high standard.

Students learn the science behind how grasses grow, as well as soils, drainage and a wide range of maintenance practices. You will gain an understanding of the demands of sport and what players need or expect from turf surfaces. You will be taught how to provide these conditions all year round and in all weather conditions.

Our Partnership with UCLan

All our Higher Education programmes are awarded by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). Myerscough College is an Associate School of the University of Central Lancashire, a dynamic, vibrant and contemporary university located in Preston city centre. UCLan is one of the largest universities in the UK with world-leading and internationally excellent research areas. It offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses.