Professional Certificate in Turfgrass Management

Professional Certificate in Turfgrass Management

Online Program


15-24 months


30 Units


Learn the latest that every current and prospective manager of turfgrass facilities should know about the biology, chemistry, math, pesticides, irrigation, and soil fertility involved in everyday turfgrass management. Take advantage of experts who work in an area that is home to hundreds of golf courses, sports fields, cemeteries, and other turfgrass facilities. Explore the latest trends in agriculture and sustainability so you can make confident, informed decisions that will provide the best landscape, without breaking the budget or using resources inefficiently.

Designed For

Those who want to further their career in turfgrass management, including:

  • Lawn Care Specialists
  • Golf Course Managers
  • Athletic Field Managers
  • Vegetation and Cemetery Managers
  • Pesticide Technicians

What You'll Learn

  • Efficient and environmentally sensitive management practices for turfgrass facilities
  • Scientific aspects of turfgrass management
  • Physical and biological principles of plant processes
  • How to identify different turf species
  • Technical skills related to the design, maintenance and management of irrigation systems

What You Can Do With This Certificate

Positions are available all over the world in private firms or corporations, government or nonprofit organizations. They might include:

  • Turfgrass Managers
  • Building/Grounds Supervisor
  • Pesticide Technician
  • Lawn Care Specialist
  • Golf Course Superintendent

Program Overview


30 Units

“My Professional Certificate from UCR Extension has helped me in all areas of turfgrass management--from Intern to Second Assistant Superintendent at The Olympics Club in San Francisco, to being the field intern for the New York Mets. It's given me a solid foundation, and I have no doubt that it will continue to help me further my career.”

Tim McAndrew

Field Intern
New York Mets
Flushing, NY

Earning the Certificate

Prior to enrolling, please ensure that you meet the following minimum requirements:

  • High school education or equivalent.
  • No prior college coursework is required.
  • Knowledge of basic mathematical and algebraic calculation, PC use and introductory botany is recommended.

Specialized Continuing Education Credit Available

Continuing education credit is available through the California Department of Pesticide Regulation for:

  • Foundations of Turfgrass Management
  • Turfgass Pests
  • Pesticide Use on Turfgrass and Ornamental Plants

Students seeking credit for select courses from one of the following agencies should contact the agency directly with approval requests:

  • Irrigation Association
  • International Society of Arboriculture Western Chapter
  • Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.

For more information see How to Earn a Certificate

Certificate Courses

Our certificate programs are designed to be flexible, allowing you the option to take just a few courses or to earn the complete certificate. If choosing to complete the certificate, we recommend you get the most out of your experience by following the suggested completion path below.

Quarter 1

Foundations of Turfgrass Management

PLS X415

3 units

Overview of turfgrass management and related fields for aspiring or current turf managers. The course provides:

  • Technical training and helps students identify areas for further study
  • Turfgrass varieties and applications
  • Pest management
  • Fertilizers
  • Soils
  • Irrigation
  • Environmental protection
  • Scientific aspects of turfgrass management
  • Understanding of the responsibilities involved in managing a turf-related facility

Turfgrass Irrigation and Drainage

PLS X420

3 units

The design, installation, maintenance and operation of modern irrigation and drainage systems for large turf areas. Topics include:

  • Cost
  • Quality and quantity of available water
  • Level of turf use
  • Budget considerations
  • Drainage capability
  • Irrigation equipment
  • Different pumping systems

Quarter 2

Turfgrass Species and Applications

PLS X116

3 units

You learn to identify different turf species by observing certain obvious features or keys that are specific to each plant. Topics include:

  • Other plant characteristics, such as growth patterns, color, hardiness and texture that aid in the identification and determination of the best application for each species.
  • Cultural practices for each species
  • Propagation methods, such as seeding, stolonizing and sodding.

Turfgrass Pests

PLS X421

3 units

Preventing diseases, insects, and weeds through the incorporation of recommended cultural maintenance strategies including proper irrigation, fertilization and mowing height. Topics include:

  • Identification and early detection of pest problems
  • The use of integrated pest management practices
  • An update of currently registered pesticides for each pest and the effectiveness of these chemicals
  • Any known tolerances and/or resistances and adverse environmental impacts of pesticides

Quarter 3

Principles of Plant Growth

PLS X115

3 units

Study the physical and biological principles of how plants grow and reproduce. Topics include:

  • Assimilation, metabolism, and regulation of growth and development
  • Function of plant cells, tissues and roots, and their relation to soils
  • Effects of plant hormones on growth and development
  • Mechanisms that protect plants from environmental stressors

Pesticide Use on Turfgrass and Ornamental Plants

PLS X421.5

3 units

You will learn how to manage pests while abiding by federal and state of California laws and regulations regarding the use of pesticides in an integrated pest management program. This course helps prepare you for testing in the Pest Control Advisor License (PCA), a Qualified Applicator License (QAL), or a Qualified Applicator Certificate (QAC). Topics covered include:

  • Different formulations of pesticides
  • Categories of pesticide risks and how they are selected
  • How and when pesticides can be used in an integrated pest control program

Please note:
Pending approval for 18 hours "Other" and 9 hours "Laws & Regulations" through the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. The license categories are PCA, QAL, & QAC.

Quarter 4

Math for Turfgrass and Landscape Managers


3 units

Learn the basic formulas and calculations that apply to a wide variety of tasks in turfgrass and landscape management. Calculations discussed include:

  • Methods of calibration for using pesticides
  • Fertilizers and other materials and basic formulas used in surveying
  • Determining tree failure potential
  • Pipe sizing and friction loss in irrigation and pump efficiency

Introduction to Chemistry for Environmental and Agricultural Professionals


3 units

A general introduction to inorganic and organic chemistry with emphasis on the states of matter, atomic structure, radioactivity, nature of bonding, relationship of bonding to chemical reactivity, reaction types, energy, reaction rates, chemical characteristics of selected series of elements and compounds, and natural products. Illustration through laboratory demonstrations of chemical and physical properties. Includes a review of mathematical concepts. Designed for persons with technical responsibilities in environmental management or agriculture who either lack a background or need a refresher in chemistry.

Quarter 5

Management Skills for Turfgrass and Landscape Managers

PLS X417

3 units

An introduction to the broad array of skills required managing turfgrass or landscape facility. You will prepare both operational and capital budgets for a facility in your area of interest. Topics include:

  • The methods and importance of recordkeeping
  • Purchasing and inventory control
  • Personnel
  • Project management
  • Risk management
  • Regulatory compliance

Soil Fertility and Fertilizers

PLS X422

3 units

Physical and chemical properties of soils and fertilizer materials are examined. The roles of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, as well as minor and trace elements involved in plant growth are explored. You will learn how to correct soil fertility problems through:

  • Soil testing
  • Applying soil amendments or commercial fertilizers.
  • Improving irrigation quality

“I have spent my career in turfgrass education, and applied research with University of California Cooperative Extension. My research focus has been in the broad area of the introduction of low water-use, warm-season turfgrasses to California. My philosophy for the students in the Professional Certificate classes is "Knowledge Equals Success."”

Michael Henry

Environmental Horticulture Advisor (Emeritus)
University of California Cooperative Extension
Riverside and Orange, CA

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