Greenkeeping course set to continue

AGIFin Training & Education

The Singapore-based Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF) has said in a statement they will continue their Certificate in Greenkeeping (CIG). The development comes after the educational programme was abruptly halted by the coronavirus outbreak.

The certification programme is being run in partnership with the New Zealand Sports Turf Institute (NZSTI) and the backing from the Royal and Ancient Golf Club (R&A) in Scotland.

The Certificate in Greenkeeping aims to improve the knowledge of greenkeeping staff and providing an educational framework for the golf greenkeeping industry in the region, the AGIF said.

"This will enable greenkeepers across Asia to develop their careers and gain certification."

"The programme focuses on the core knowledge and skills required to operate safely and efficiently as a greenkeeper and in a way that protects the turf, prevent damage to the reputation of the course and improves productivity."

The CIG is a 12-month programme with five modules and to date has attracted participants from China, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, with 18 completing the programme.

The AGIF said there are 31 participants enrolled in the course stalled by Covid-19 and that a further 30 were awaiting to sign up.

AGIF president Richard Walne, who pledged to recommence the programme at the earliest opportunity, said: "The success of the first intakes and the interest from new (prospective) students has driven us to find ways of continuing."

"Of course, the safety of all involved is our number one concern. That's why we're unable to proceed with the planned programme delivery in June."

"The confirmation courses have been delayed until November, when we hope to be able to continue as planned. We will, however, build a contingency that if we cannot travel internationally in November, we will have in place a hybrid learning system."

Walne said the modified system may include having local mentors delivering the written and practical elements of the confirmation courses. That would be complemented by video links to overseas instructors, who would be able to moderate and oversee proceedings.

"This approach will ensure that students who are part way through their modules will be able to complete their programmes," added Walne.

Walne said students in Malaysia and Thailand, who are part way through their courses, will be given extra time to complete their tasks with their mentors and the support of the NZSTI.

"We need to do this to make up for the time students spent under lockdown, when they were unable to complete practical tasks on the golf course."

"The AGIF and NZSTI are continuing to develop and refine modules and develop a back-up plan for delivery, which will allow us to continue to provide accredited education for Asian golf courses, including on-course practical work, classroom and remote learning."

"A special 'thank you' to our mentors who have been a key factor in the success of the CIG. Once we are back to normal life, it is the intention of the AGIF to expand the programme to other countries," he added.