Doug Soldat

Dr. Doug Soldat

Department of Soil Science
263A Soil Science
1525 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI  53706

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Paul Koch

Dr. Paul Koch

Department Plant Pathology
Russell Laboratories
1630 Linden Drive
Madison, WI  53706

Information for Prospective Students

Is a career in Turf and Grounds Management right for you? Choosing an enjoyable and rewarding career is a difficult decision. The following questions should help you decide if a career in Turf and Grounds Management would be to your liking:

  • Are you prepared to continue your study of the basic sciences (mathematics, chemistry, physics and biology for example) to gain knowledge of soil science, horticulture, agronomy, plant pathology and agricultural engineering as they apply to turf and grounds management?
  • Are you willing to undertake field training while attending college?
  • Are you interested in continuing education necessary in a changing technical field?
  • Do you receive personal gratification from physical labor and accomplishments that you can see?
  • Do you enjoy working outdoors in all types of weather and appreciate the beauty of your surroundings?
  • Are you willing to work as many hours per day as it takes to get a job done?
  • Are you willing to assume a variety of responsibilities that range from record keeping and budgeting to equipment repair and tree pruning?
  • Do you desire leadership and supervisory responsibilities?
  • Do you enjoy working with people as well as equipment?
  • Are you self-motivated?

If you answered “yes” to most, if not all these questions, chances are excellent that you are up to the challenges of a career in turf and grounds management.

Across all our turfgrass educational offerings, a strong emphasis is placed on professional work experience. Students gain knowledge of equipment operation, landscape construction, drainage, pesticide use and application, irrigation, fertilization and other crucial practices. Students usually work full-time in the summer and part-time during the school year. Placement for summer employment is virtually guaranteed thanks to support from the program’s alumni. Alumni include a network of golf course superintendents, lawn care managers, landscape managers, and sales personnel for companies specializing in turf products. Additionally, faculty are able to place students through other professional contacts across the nation and internationally.

The cornerstone of the UW-Madison Turfgrass Educational Programs is the O.J. Noer Turfgrass Research and Education Facility. The facility is adjacent to UW’s championship golf course-University Ridge. Proximity to the UW-Madison campus provides students full access to both facilities and the opportunity to significantly enhance the quality of their educational experience. The Noer facility has research and demonstration plots that are used for teaching purposes, as well as a fully video-equipped classroom. Turfgrass laboratories are held at the Facility to conduct hands-on exercises that stress understanding of the latest turfgrass technology.

Educational Options in Turf and Grounds Management

Education in Turf and Grounds Management at the University of Wisconsin-Madison offers an opportunity to get involved in a lucrative and highly respected profession. The program offers a unique opportunity for students who want a broad education as well as a specialty. Turf and Grounds Management incorporates the principles embodied in soil science, horticulture, plant pathology, entomology, landscape architecture, ecology, business management and public relations to prepare you for a highly successful career.  Graduates have little difficultly obtaining positions as golf course superintendents, assistant golf course superintendents, lawn care specialists, turf product sales personnel, institution grounds supervisors, athletic field managers and landscape specialists. We over several different educational options to help you achieve your specific career goals.

Click the boxes below to learn more about the options:

+Four-Year Degree

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Why pursue a four-year degree? The answer to this question lies in the broad-based, highly-respected education that a four-year degree offers. Many two-year schools offer excellent technical training in turf and grounds management. However, they lack the additional two years of education that provide a well rounded education. Four-year college students first receive a strong background in the social, mathematical, communication, physical and biological sciences. This is the foundation which students use to progress to advanced courses related to turfgrass management.Since the four-year degree is so widely recognized, the graduate has a variety of options for employment, increased flexibility to change careers or to pursue advanced degrees and further expand employment opportunities. Four years of college education provides even footing with other professionals in our society. Golf course superintendents who wish to become certified by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) are required to have four years of college education.

+Graduate Education (Master's and Doctorate)

Research assistantships are available to qualified students. These assistantships offer financial support while students pursue their degree. Funding for the assistantships is provided by organizations such as the Wisconsin Turfgrass Association, the United States Golf Association and the O.J. Noer Turfgrass Research Foundation.The UW Turfgrass program is currently working to establish graduate fellowships in the five departments that make up the Turfgrass Program. In the summer of 2000 the first fellowship was dedicated to Dr. Wayne Kussow at Summer Field Day. Contact Dr. Soldat or Dr. Koch to see if graduate education is right for you.


Do You Provide Financial Assistance?

Yes we do.  Over $13,000 in scholarship money is available to support student tuition and housing costs from a variety of turfgrass associations, including:

  • Wisconsin Turfgrass Association
  • Wisconsin Golf Course Superintendents Association
  • Wisconsin Sports Turf Managers Association
  • Wisconsin Sod Producers Association
  • Minnesota Golf Course Superintendents Association

Many state and regional turfgrass associations outside of Wisconsin and Minnesota also provide scholarship support.  You are encouraged to explore other scholarship offerings from your local turfgrass associations.

How to Apply

To apply for a scholarship please click here to fill out the form.

Scholarship Timeline

Scholarship application deadline is earlier so that students receive their awards BEFORE classes start.

Step Deadline
Applicant completes online scholarship application form. September 1st
Program mails scholarship award letter to recipients. Letter shows:
– amount of scholarship(s)
– any tuition remainder the applicant must pay
October 1st
Applicant completes online enrollment form and pays:
– enrollment fee
– any tuition remainder stated in the scholarship award letter
October 15th

Note: scholarship winners will not receive checks.  Instead, the scholarship award amount(s) will be deducted from their tuition.

For More Information

More information on scholarships and how to apply for them will be provided in the monthly email updates.

Please contact Dr. Paul Koch or Dr. Doug Soldat for questions related to potential scholarship support.