We asked those in charge of undergraduate turfgrass management programs at some universities across the country for reports on whether their students had secured jobs in the industry. Here are the responses we received:

2013 job market for turf program graduates

We asked those in charge of undergraduate turfgrass management programs at universities across the country for reports on whether their students had secured jobs in the industry. Here are the responses we received:

Delaware Valley College (PA)

Dr. Doug Linde reports: “The only senior that I have that is interested in sports fields is graduating in December 2013 because he took a full semester off to intern with the Philadelphia Eagles (something that is not too common but a great idea if it doesn’t lead to any serious issues with finishing the degree in a reasonable time). All of these students have worked on multiple golf courses over three or four summers, which is the main reason they had no trouble landing a full time job after graduation. In fact, I had to advise a few of these students to work less so that they could take full advantage of their opportunity to get a degree.

“Since Del Val is located so close to many golf courses, it’s common for students to hold a part-time job during the semester. I usually recommend they not work during the semester since they essentially have a full-time job in going to college. Many have also worked or volunteered at pro tournaments. 

“Here are the May 2013 Del Val College turf management bachelor of science degree graduates, 100% of whom had jobs secured by January 2013 for starting work in May; (Kelly, Ridington, and Taylor are on our NCAA D III golf team that I coach. In fact, this year eight of the 10 players on the team are also my advisees since they are studying turf management.):”

·         James            Bryson, assistant-in-training, Merion GC

·         Kevin Keezer, assistant supt., Bear Trap Dunes GC, MD

·         Tim Kelly, assistant supt., Manasquan CC, NJ

·         Jesse Ridington, graduate intern, Saucon Valley CC

·         Kevin Taylor, graduate intern, Oak Hill CC,  NY                       

Oklahoma State

Dr. Greg Bell reports: “We only have one student graduating this spring and I believe that he already has a position waiting for him. In the 15 years that I have been the turfgrass teaching professor here at Oklahoma State we have graduated 132 turf management students and all of those students who were actively pursing a turfgrass position during their last semester have had a position or an offer of a position waiting for them when they graduated.

Rutgers University

Dr. Bruce Clarke reported that Yuanshuo (Henry) Qu, a turf undergraduate student within the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, received the “Plant Science Excellence Award” for 2013. This award is given to the undergraduate student in Plant Science with the highest GPA.  Henry’s GPA is 3.8.

Five Rutgers students will graduate in May or next fall. Erik Taylor, Jay Ewan starting an assistants position at Merion golf club in Philly after graduation), Tyler Astor, Henry Qu will be working the summer at Plainfield CC in NJ as an intern), and Kevin Rundstrom working at Hidden Creek golf club, near Atlantic City, as an assistant.

Kirkwood Community College (IA)

Troy McQuillen, turf instructor, reports: “Here are some statistics from my graduating class. I currently have 45 full-time students enrolled in the 2-year Golf Course and Athletic Turfgrass Management Program. These students will complete a total of 68 credit hours earning them an A.A.S degree (Associates of Applied Science).”  

These students will be returning back for a 2nd year: Eight 1st year students pursuing both golf and sports turf local internships; 12 1st year students pursuing both golf and sports turf out-of-state internships; and four 1st year students taking full-time summer classes and will pursue an internship later.

Of the students receiving degrees, nine have secured full-time employment; three are transferring to 4-year institutions; and six will be working seasonally or taking a second internship to gain experience.

And then there are 3-4 students who are still confused about what they want to do with their lives.

“When I meet with students about their careers there are so many factors that influence their future after graduation. Many of the students attend our college because most of them like to stay local. There are limited full-time job opportunities in Iowa and even more limited when students stay in Eastern Iowa. The good news is that graduated students that want to stay in our area are willing to be patient for the full-time jobs to open. 

“Our students have had a lot of success with out-of-state job opportunities. Most of them develop a relationship during their internship and then are welcomed back for a 2nd internship or full-time employment. 

“Students that are employed full-time are taking assistant, 2nd assistant or assistant in training positions. Most students feel prepared for the job, but would like additional assistant level training before jumping into a head position.”

Mt. San Antonio College (CA)

Brian Scott, professor of horticulture, reports on his students’ accomplishments, 2012-13:

Fleur Nooyen:

·         Street Tree Seminar, Inc. Scholarship Award recipient, December 2012.

·         MSAC Faculty Association Career Technical Education Scholarship recipient, Mt. San Antonio College, June 2012.

·         Don Angelbeck Scholarship Award, Agricultural Sciences Department, Mt. San Antonio College, June 2012.

·         2012 Outstanding Academic Achievement Award, Agricultural Sciences Department, Mt. San Antonio College, June 2012.

·         Sports Turf Managers Association Student Challenge bronze medal winner, Long Beach, January 2012.

Fleur has had many of her landscape design and installation projects receive awards and honors by a number of prestigious organizations.  

Kevin Marsh was recently named an assistant superintendent at Arrowhead Country Club in San Bernardino, CA. He has shown an extremely high aptitude for turfgrass management. He is also one of those young men who are always willing to help out whenever there is a need. His future will be extremely bright in the golf industry, until he wises up and has even a brighter career in sports turf!

Kay Hoevel:

·         Was recognized by the Mt. SAC Ag Sciences Department as the 2012 Outstanding Student in Irrigation and Landscape Construction 

·         Received Certificates of Achievement in Sports Turf Management and Landscape and Park Management. 

·         Was hired as a consultant for a local Lawn Bowling association

Kay’s world was literally revolutionized by becoming a member of the Mt. SAC Turf Team over the past 2 years. She has seen a part of the industry she never realized existed and is now very passionate about sports turf management and plans on working it into her consulting business.

David Plascencia:

·         EcoTech Services, Inc. Glendora
Project Manager/Water Conservation Specialist/ Landscape Designer

·         Manages water conservation programs for public water agencies. Projects include: irrigation audits, weather/ET-based central control system irrigation retrofits; high efficiency nozzle retrofits; drip conversions; and native/drought tolerant landscape designs and installations.

·         Showcase projects have been integrating ET Water Central Control system at Mountain View School District in El Monte, Designing the landscape for Walnut Valley Water Districts Pump Station, and he is currently designing a 5,000 sq. ft. conservation garden at Ledesma HS in El Monte.  

Danielle Booth received the CANER Scholarship and the Street Tree Seminar Scholarship and was accepted by Cal Poly Pomona to begin fall 2013. At her current place of employment, she was promoted from recreation supervisor to recreation specialist.

Joel Balsiger was offered a position as a sports turf manager at a local private high school.  Unfortunately, he had to end up declining the position due to the possibility of transferring to Oregon State University. Joel has been an outstanding student here at Mt. SAC.  He has been taking care of the turf plots and Dr. Kent Kurtz Memorial Stadium for the past year now, and doing an excellent job.  His attitude is positive and he has a tremendous work ethic.

Kelly De La Peza has been involved with the design and installation of several landscape projects with Fleur Nooyen. Kelly is a full time mom and a part time student who has sacrificed an incredible amount of time to explore turf management as a career. 

University of Connecticut

Dr. Jason Henderson, assistant professor, reports on UConn’s graduating turfgrass and soil sciences students in 2013:

Baccalaureate Degree Students (4-yr): Ryan Carey, Burning Tree CC, Greenwich, CT; Brian Conlon, Greenwich CC, CT; Ryan Gauvain, owner/operator Oak Hills Landscape and Design, Litchfield, CT; David Gunn, second assistant superintendent, Seawane Club, Hewlett Harbor, NY; Nicholas Jennings, undecided.

Jeremy LaClair, graduate school; Wayne Lagasse, assistant superintendent, Fox Hopyard GC, East Haddam, CT; Elliot Linstrum, grounds crew, Boston Red Sox; Thomas Martel, undecided; Anthony Minniti, The Creek (private golf course), Locust Valley, NY.

Raymond Platt, Hampshire CC, NY; Jordan Wells, undecided; Gregory Zlotnick, construction and landscaping, CT.

Associate of Applied Science Degree Students (2-yr): Billy Hamilton, employed in the Green Industry (employer unknown); Jake Provencher, employed in the Green Industry (employer unknown); Eli Desrochers, undecided.

Mineral Area College (MO)

Chad Follis, horticulture instructor: “I actually don’t have any students heading from our community college to the workforce.  The graduates are all transferring on to 4-year schools. Over the summer they will be working on internships and none of them had a problem finding internships in turf.”  

Purdue University

Across both semesters (students get out of sequence or need an extra semester), we have averaged 11 per year for the past 10 or so years. That is different than our “enrollment” which has been as high as about 90 10 years ago.

May 2012 graduates in the Purdue University College of Agriculture were fortunate to experience greater success in the employment market. Ninety percent of the May graduates had gained employment or were continuing their education as of February 15, 2013. This represents a 4% point increase. Our May graduates acquired post-graduation internships; these positions were sought by 3% of all graduates of the College. Of the May graduates, 25% continued in programs of education, an increase of 2%. Of these, 77 enrolled in graduate schools and 26 in professional schools.

There was a decrease of 4% in the number of students still seeking employment. Sixty percent of our May graduates are employed or continuing their education here in Indiana.-Cale A. Bigelow PhD, associate professor agronomy-turfgrass science

Penn State

Dr. Andy McNitt, professor of soil science-turfgrass, and coordinator for the turfgrass science undergraduate program: “Below is a partial list of our graduates. We had 38 BS students in turfgrass management this year and another 14 from our 2-year program. This is only our resident students and doesn’t include our online certificate or degree programs. I have found that there is a strong market for entry level positions. On average, our graduates have had three job offers each. Of course they must be willing to relocate. What is apparent however is that while entry level jobs seem plentiful, compared to a decade ago, and upward mobility is much slower.”
George Peters, Pittsburgh Pirates; Phillip Manglitz, Rolling Rock Club, Ligonier, PA; Marcus Von Hertsenberg, Penn State Beaver Stadium Grounds Crew; Andrew Swigart, West Shore CC, Camp Hill, PA; Nick Marini, Butler CC, Butler, PA.
Eric Michael Sosnowski, Toftrees Golf Resort, State College, PA; Jake Leadbetter, Gilliland Landscape, Clearfield, PA; David Krizauskas, C/Maj, Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps; Colton Spaid, Fox Chapel GC, Pittsburgh; Chris Pelczar, Sebonack GC, Southampton, NY.

Mike Urich, Lancaster (PA) Barnstormers; Mike Scheyd, National Golf Links of America, Southampton, NY; Jeff Cuthbertson, Windview Athletic Fields, Middletown, DE; and Zack Longenecker, Oakland Raiders.
Two-year graduates:

Craig Acton, Coppinwood GC, Uxbridge, Canada; Aaron Archambault, Quaker Ridge CC;
Benjamin Burrill, Merion GC; Gregory Coughlin, Hong Kong GC; Franklin Dodd, New Castle CC.
Matthew Fisher, Century CC; Mitchell Guy, Trump International GC, Scotland; Nicholas Huttie, research technician in the Department of Entomology at Penn State; Joseph Kohut, Saucon County CC; Christopher Konow, Black Hall CC, Old Lyme, CT.
Justin Lantz, Kennett Square G&CC; Keenan Lilyquist, Sebonack GC; Logan Murphy, Pinehurst Resort; and Ben Spencer, Priddis Greens G&CC, Priddis, Canada.
Washington State

Washington State University during the 2012-2013 academic year will have a total of seven turf majors graduate. In the fall we had one student with a turf job; this spring we have three students, two with turf jobs and another doing an internship at a golf course near home. And finishing up in August there are three students, two already have turf jobs and the other is not sure though he did an internship last year with the Washington Nationals. Graduation is not until August so he has some time.-Bill Johnston, professor of turfgrass science