Groundsperson

Greenkeeper

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A groundsperson, or greenkeeper, looks after sports grounds like golf courses and cricket, football and rugby pitches.

Salary range: £17,000 to £48,000

How to become a groundsperson

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • specialist courses run by a professional body

University

You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in:

  • sports surface management
  • sportsturf management
  • horticulture

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More information

College

You might find it helpful to do a qualification before looking for work. Course subjects include:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Sports and Amenity Turf Maintenance
  • Level 2 Certificate in Practical Horticulture Skills
  • Level 3 Diploma in Horticulture

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

More information

Apprenticeship

You may be able to get into this job through an intermediate apprenticeship as a sports turf operative.

You could specialise in working on golf courses through an intermediate or advanced golf greenkeeping apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information

Work

You may be able to find work as an assistant groundsperson without qualifications. You could then work your way up by getting experience and studying on the job.

Other routes

You could take qualifications with an industry body like the Institute of Groundsmanship. They offer courses at different levels in turf surface maintenance and management.

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the Institute of Groundsmanship for professional development and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You’ll find more advice about careers and training as a groundsperson from the Institute of Groundsmanship.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work well with others
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • customer service skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

You may need a driving licence for some jobs. 

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

You may:

  • prepare land for laying turf (grass)
  • roll and mow grass
  • mark lines on pitches or greens, cut holes and move markers
  • remove water and rake ground
  • apply turf treatments to control weeds, fungal diseases, pests and turf problems
  • install and maintain equipment
  • operate equipment like strimmers and ride-on mowers

Working environment

You could work at a school, in a park or on a sports field.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to supervisor, team leader or head of section.

You could get training from the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG).

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