After finishing Year 12, Harry began working as an apprentice at the Indooroopilly Golf Club in Brisbane, where he was part of a team maintaining the course. As part of his role, his manager required him to study while working in order to formalise his training.
“I hadn’t considered studying until I began working at the golf course. But my manager always sends his apprentices to TAFE Queensland to become qualified,” says Harry.
“As soon as I started the Certificate III in Sports Turf Management (AHC31316), I knew I’d found my calling and since then I haven’t looked back.”
While studying, Harry learnt foundation skills in health and safety, turf establishment and maintenance, irrigation systems, and how to use machinery specific to sports grounds.
Helping Harry master his craft were TAFE Queensland Grovely’s campus facilities, which included an actual golf green, cricket pitch and turf plots allowing students to learn about different types of grass and soils used on sporting grounds.
“The facilities at Grovely were great. We could practise mowing on the golf green and learn everything about chemical handling and application, all in the one location. The library was also really handy for learning the theory components and getting assignments done,” continues Harry.
“The certificate III combines hands-on training and theory well. We were in class for three of four days a week and then we’d do practical work out on the campus fields one or two days each week.”
As Harry’s passion for his profession grew, so did his desire to learn more about golf course management, leading him to explore further training from within Australia and around the world.
His teachers put him in touch with Ohio State University’s Turf Management Program, which was the perfect way to advance his sports field management knowledge and give him internationally accredited skills specific to golf courses.
Helping Harry on his journey were his TAFE Queensland teachers, who encouraged him to apply for the program.
“Both of my teachers were very supportive when I told them I was heading over, we had a good chat just before I left and we’re still in contact. They’re well known in the industry, give great advice and have a heap of connections all over the world,” says Harry.
“Now I’m in the United States I’ve been placed with the Walpole Country Club in Massachusetts after which I’ll move to the Sea Pines Resort in South Carolina,” he said.
The Ohio State University Turf Management Program is connecting Harry to a network of golf course superintendents who each teach him techniques specific to golf greens, fairways and roughs.
As part of the program, he also attends Professional Golf Association (PGA) events to see how players and spectators use every facet of the course, rounding out his knowledge further.
“The certificate III has helped me massively, I wouldn’t have been selected for the Ohio State program without it and it’s extremely difficult to get anywhere in this industry if you’re not qualified,” continues Harry.
“I’m now learning about areas that I didn’t particularly understand when I was starting. Most importantly, I’m putting my knowledge into practice while learning how to manage some beautiful courses.”
After he completes the Ohio State University Turf Management Program, Harry hopes to one day be a golf course superintendent and use his skills to travel around the world, but he’s also open-minded about where his career will take him.
“In five to ten years’ time, I’ll hopefully have enough experience to be an assistant superintendent. But a certificate in sports turf management isn’t limited to golf course work so, I’ll see what happens,” concludes Harry.