Olds College Students Celebrate Top Ten Finish in International Turf Competition

Four Olds College students ventured to San Antonio, Texas to participate in the Turf Bowl, a skills and knowledge based competition for undergraduates in Turfgrass related programs.  The Olds College team, has been sponsored by Syngenta Canada since it's first showing in 2015. 

Team members from the fourth year Bachelor of Applied Science – Golf Course Management students;  Robert Balcom, Fergus Butt, Michael Davis and Andre Lens, finished an impressive 8th place, tops among participating Canadian and American post-secondary institutions. In addition to the team from Olds College, the top ten included teams from Penn State, Michigan State, Purdue University, Rutgers University, and Auburn University, who took home first place in the competition.

The Turf Bowl is knowledge and skills based competition that evaluates the student’s expertise in areas that are essential to Golf Course Superintendents and Managers.  The exam features a written case study, as well as a wide variety of multiple choice, short answer and identification questions covering agronomy, business and financial management. The Turf Bowl was held at the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) Golf Industry Show conference, and featured 55 teams from 28 post-secondary institutions, most of which came from the United States. 

Image: Left to right: Robert Balcom, Andre Lens, Fergus Butt, Michael Davis

“In preparation for the Turf Bowl, the team had put a special focus on researching products, species and challenges of warm season growing environments. These are not always relevant to our northern climate so this information is not covered deeply in classes.” Faculty Advisor Jason Pick commended the team on their work ethic in preparing for the event.

“The Olds College team now in its third event, prepared for the competition with a training program created in our online Moodle learning platform. Breaking up the study guide and delegating to areas of strength,  we had weekly video conference meetings to ensure we were approaching each category strategically”  Faculty Advisor Jason Pick remarked. “They worked together for months to prepare, and I think their dedication is reflected in their results.” We are so grateful for the sponsorship by Syngenta Canada, specifically Marie Thorne and David Kypers for supporting the our Olds College team  through this investment in education. 

About Olds College: Olds College is the premier Canadian integrated learning and applied research community specializing in agriculture, horticulture, land and environmental management. Olds College first opened its doors in 1913, and now includes programming that covers Animal Sciences, Horticulture, Land & Water, Fashion, Business, Hospitality & Tourism, and Trades & Apprenticeships.  To learn more about the turf program: 

LINK - Turf Science Certificate 
LINK - Turfgrass Management Diploma
LINK - Golf Course Management Applied Degree

For more information on Olds College, please visit: www.oldscollege.ca