Demand for professionals in the turfgrass management industry is growing and Cobleskill is on the leading edge of training individuals for this profession. The Turfgrass Management programs at SUNY Cobleskill provide a blend of applied sciences and theory with an embedded internship to prepare students for careers in turfgrass management. The programs stress principles and practices for establishing and maintaining golf/sports in an environmentally sound manner.
Turfgrass Management, Associate in Applied Science (AAS)
Golf Turf, Bachelor of Technology (BT)
Sports Turf, Bachelor of Technology (BT)
SUNY Cobleskill’s Turfgrass Management program prepares students for a wide range of jobs in the green industry. Blending both theory and applied sciences in small hands-on laboratories, students graduate from the SUNY Cobleskill turfgrass program pursuing jobs in many avenues of the turfgrass industry.
The College has excellent turfgrass facilities including fairway turf plots composed of creeping bentgrass and low mow Kentucky bluegrass that are used for research and student projects. There are also two USGA golf greens used extensively for turfgrass management labs. Students gain additional practical experience on the College’s athletic fields and lawn areas and at the Cobleskill Country Club, which is located only a few minutes from campus. Moreover, the Plant Sciences Department offers more than 75 supporting courses enabling students to gain knowledge in many areas of horticulture.
In the classroom, students will develop supervisory and problem-solving skills with an emphasis placed on construction and maintenance of golf courses/sports fields, as well as preparation for tournaments, games, and championships. A focus on facilities' financial management also prepares students to handle the business aspects of the industry.
SUNY Cobleskill’s curriculum provides the training necessary to meet the challenges of golf course, sports turf, lawn care, and park maintenance professionals. Career opportunities are prevalent at prestigious golf course and athletic complexes. Sod production, sales and service, and research are other options pursued by SUNY Cobleskill graduates.
Students in the bachelor degree programs are required to complete an extensive 600-hour internship prior to graduation. Students will have the opportunity to complete their internship at many world-class PGA and LPGA host courses or major league stadiums.
The Glen Oaks Club, Old Westbury, NY
Josh interned at The Glen Oaks Club, a private golf and country club located in Old Westbury, NY (Long Island). Glen Oaks received the Club of The Year award from the Metropolitan Golf Association in 2015 for “its outstanding efforts in charitable acts and endeavors in golf” and it will host The Barclay's golf tournament in 2017, a PGA Tour and FedEx Cup event. As an intern Josh worked under Craig Currier, a Cobleskill Alum and one of the top superintendents in the golf course industry and superintendent for the two U.S. Opens held at Bethpage State Park. During the internship Josh experienced all aspects of golf course maintenance; large and small equipment operation, pesticide and fertilizer application and scheduling, proper irrigation practices, irrigation system installation and repair, equipment maintenance and turfgrass establishment. The best part of Josh’s internship was “being able to personally work with and learn directly from such a knowledgeable, experienced and highly regarded Golf Course Superintendent, who also happens to be a Cobleskill graduate.”
Whistling Straits, Sheboygan, WI
Tyler interned at Whistling Straits, a top 22 golf course in the country and is known worldwide for hosting four major golf tournaments on a course that is only seventeen years old. While Tyler was an intern, Whistling Straits was host to the PGA Championship. Part of Tyler’s responsibilities involved running small crews on daily tasks such as mowing, raking bunkers, making sure the course was at championship level, and also scouting for turf diseases and weeds. According to Tyler, the best part of his internship was “learning how to run a championship course for the summer leading up to the PGA Championship.” After graduation Tyler will work as an Assistant Superintendent at St. George’s Golf and Country Club on Long Island.
Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
Connor interned with the Washington Nationals Baseball Club as a member of the grounds crew at Nationals Park in Washington, DC. As a groundskeeper the job was always changing based on what the field needed which provided new and exciting challenges. Connor was able to work on nearly every aspect of a major league baseball field while there including mowing, hand-watering, clay repairs, painting, and anything else related to baseball field maintenance. Besides preparing for baseball games, Connor was also able to work with a number of events taking place at the stadium including corporate outings, commercial shoots, and concerts making sure the field would still be playable after the damage the concerts caused. One of the most interesting parts of the summer was being a part of the build and tear down of the stages for both Taylor Swift and Zac Brown Band. In order to be ready for quick repairs and in-game responsibilities Connor had the best seats in the stadium right behind home plate during games. Connor plans to continue his career “in the major leagues” next summer.
Notable Internship Sites
The College has excellent turfgrass facilities including fairway turf plots composed of creeping bentgrass and low mow Kentucky bluegrass that are used for research and student projects. There are also two USGA golf greens used extensively for turfgrass management labs. Students gain additional practical experience on the College’s athletic fields and lawn areas and at the Cobleskill Country Club, which is located only a few minutes from campus.
SUNY Cobleskill Turfgrass Management programs are highly respected by industry employers with graduates working as superintendents at many top golf courses throughout the United States. Decades of successful graduates working in the field offer a network of internships and job opportunities to students who enroll in the program.
Jeff Madison, 2003
Jeff currently serves as the golf course and facilities superintendent at The Edison Club in Rexford NY, a private 27 hole premiere country club employing 150 individuals annually. Jeff is responsible for managing and maintaining 300 acres of golf course and facilities which includes upkeep of the clubhouse, pool, and clay tennis courts. After graduating from Cobleskill Jeff worked for several country clubs as an intern, assistant superintendent, and superintendent before coming to his current position at The Edison Club – a club he worked for while in high school.
“Cobleskill gave me the tools necessary to be able to go into the Golf Course Management field running, and be successful at a young age. Cobleskill laid a foundation that allowed me to immediately start building a career before I even left school. Besides all of the invaluable information I was given through my professors, and hands on training at Cobleskill, I learned the importance of networking. There is an unbelievable resource of Cobleskill Alumni, and people connected to the programs Cobleskill offers out there that are eager to support fellow Cobleskill grads and students. If you don’t tap in to their knowledge and connections you’re doing yourself an injustice.”
Matt Falvo, 1999
Matt currently serves as the Director of Golf and Grounds at Turning Stone Resort and Casino, a premier four-season destination resort in Upstate New York. Turning Stone was named “Most Excellent Golf Resort” in 2010 by Condé Nast Johansens and the Academy of Country Music named Turning Stone “Casino of the Year” in 2009. As director Matt is responsible for coordinating 100 employees to oversee the daily maintenance on 72 holes of golf, resort grounds, landscaping at 13 gas stations, grounds maintenance for a 175 site RV park and an indoor winter garden.
“My experience at Cobleskill not only prepared me for my career, but it also prepared me for life outside of my career. I gained skills that cannot be taught. Through interactions with fellow students, professors, internship supervisors, and coworkers, as well as other college staff, I earned a "degree" in people and social skills that I did not even sign up for. The course work at Cobleskill gave be a basis for understanding what I do.”
Debbie Unger, 2000
Deb serves as the Director of Turfgrass at Randall's Island Park Alliance in New York City. Randall’s Island Park Alliance provides New York City residents with the unique opportunity of access to 70 sports-fields, Icahn Stadium which meets International Amateur Athletic Federation specifications, gardens, pathways, education programming, and several music festivals in an urban setting. Deb is responsible for managing 20 employees to maintain the athletic fields and event lawn along with providing oversight on island wide projects.
“Cobleskill provided me with sound agronomic background that has enabled me to branch to any division in the grass growing industry. My education at Cobleskill coupled with my field experience has shown proven success on Randall's Island.”
Roger Meier, 1999
Roger serves as the Director of Golf Course Maintenance for the PGA of America at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, KY. Roger is responsible for overseeing the complete golf course maintenance operation for members and guests at Valhalla Golf Club along with managing budgets including capital in excess of 3 million annually. He also works with the PGA of America, the largest sports organization in the country, in long range strategic planning to continue to position Valhalla as a Top 100 facility and host major championships.
"Cobleskill was a very close knit community especially within the turfgrass management program. The small intimate classroom settings allowed for greater learning environments and relationships with University professors. The most important thing that I learned from Cobleskill was to maximize experiences and placing myself in the right facilities to maximize the golf course experiences early on in my career. The exposure and learning through internship placements was a huge part of my success!"
Adam Holligan, 2007
Adam works as the Athletic Grounds Supervisor for the Plumeri Sports Complex, a shared facility with The College of Saint Rose and the city of Albany, N.Y. Parks and Recreation Department. The complex is made up of four fields including a softball field, baseball field, all-purpose field, and an artificial turf soccer/lacrosse field. Adam is in charge of overseeing the grounds staff and the daily maintenance of the four fields and grounds that make up the Plumeri Sports Complex. After graduating from SUNY Cobleskill, Adam worked as a groundskeeper for the University of California, Berkley Athletic Department before joining The College of Saint Rose Athletic Department.
"Cobleskill laid the groundwork for where I am now through the classroom learning, hands on learning, internships, and connections I made there. I learned practical skills like the proper use of machines, plant and disease identification, fertilizer application, etc. This allowed me to have the confidence to pursue work in the field which further built my turfgrass management skills."