Back to top

University of Massachusetts Winter School for Turf Managers

Program Background

The UMass Winter School for Turf Managers is an intensive, 110+ hour certificate program designed to convey concepts essential to maintaining high quality turf, with emphasis on environmental stewardship, input reduction, and fiscal responsibility. This comprehensive, dynamic short course is especially suited for experienced professionals associated with the management of fine lawns and landscapes, golf courses, sports fields, parks, municipal, institutional, or private grounds, or sales and support to these industry segments.

Winter School is an excellent choice for practitioners who seek to expand their knowledge and practical skills. The program is also uniquely suited for those who want to advance in their career, but cannot schedule a two- or four-year program, as well as motivated career changers who want to establish a solid foundation for entering the field of turf management.

A Distinguished History

The 'Massachusetts Agricultural College Winter Greenkeepers Class' circa 1930

The 'Massachusetts Agricultural College Winter Greenkeepers Class' circa 1930

Professor Lawrence S. Dickinson established the 'Winter School for Greenkeepers at Massachusetts Agricultural College' in 1927. The University of Massachusetts Winter School for Turf Managers, as the program is now known, was the first program of its kind and has run continuously with the exception of a three-year hiatus during World War II. The program remains to this day a top source for turf industry professionals, and many UMass Winter School graduates hold positions of responsibility at prestigious fine turf venues throughout the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Current Course Format

Prior to the 2021 session, a typical Turf Winter School was a full-time, in-person program held on the UMass Amherst campus for 6 weeks in January and February, with approximately 32 hours of instruction each week. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Winter School was re-invented as a completely online program for the 2021 session.

Our Winter School in 2023 will once again be an entirely virtual, 110+ hour course taught by UMass Extension Specialists, UMass faculty, and distinguished guest instructors. Virtual instruction offers appealing benefits, including registration cost savings due to reduced overhead, savings on time and travel expenses, and opportunity for those who have previously been unable to attend due to other commitments, travel restrictions or distance the ability to participate from the convenience of their own homes and offices!

For a more introductory, less in-depth, and less intensive turf management certificate course, please take a look at UMass Extension's Green School (note that Green School is offered only in alternating years; the next session is scheduled for the fall of 2022). Also note that the curriculum for the 60+ hour Green School is especially oriented to the care of landscape turf on lawns and grounds, whereas Winter School is more comprehensive and a better choice for advanced lawn care study as well those working with more intensively-managed turf such as that found on golf courses and higher-end athletic fields.

Click to expand the headings below for complete course information and application instructions.