Singapore: The Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF) has confirmed the continuation of its acclaimed Certificate in Greenkeeping (CIG) educational programme.
In partnership with the New Zealand Sports Turf Institute (NZSTI) and with backing from The R&A, the CIG was launched with the specific aim of improving the professional knowledge of greenkeeping staff and providing an educational framework for the golf greenkeeping industry in the region. This will enable greenkeepers across Asia to develop their careers and gain certification.
The CIG programme focuses on the core knowledge and skills required to operate safely and efficiently as a greenkeeper on a golf course, and in a way that protects the turf, prevents damage to the reputation of the course and improves productivity. The CIG is a 12-month programme with five modules.
To date, the courses have attracted students from China, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand with 18 individuals completing the programme. Currently, 31 are part way through and a further 30 waiting to sign up.
Since the success of the inaugural CIG undertaking, further courses have been held in Thailand and Malaysia. Staging of the latest modules has been placed on hold following the imposition of travel restrictions and size of gatherings due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, Richard Walne, President of the AGIF, has pledged that the CIG programme will recommence at the earliest opportunity.
Walne said: “The success of the first intakes and the continued interest from new students has only driven us harder to find ways of continuing. Of course, the safety of all involved is our number one concern. That’s why we’re unable to proceed with the planned programme delivery in June.
“The Confirmation Courses have been delayed until November, when we hope to be able to continue as planned. We will, however, build a contingency that if we cannot travel internationally in November, we will have in place a hybrid learning system.”
Walne said the modified system may include having local mentors delivering the written and practical elements of the Confirmation Courses. That would be complemented by video links to overseas instructors, who would be able to moderate and oversee proceedings.
“This approach will ensure that students who are part way through their modules will be able to complete their programmes,” added Walne.
He said students in Malaysia and Thailand who are part way through their courses will be given extra time to complete their tasks with their mentors and the support of the NZSTI.
Walne said: “We need to do this to make up for the time students spent under lockdown, when they were unable to complete practical tasks on the golf course. The AGIF and NZSTI are continuing to develop and refine modules and develop a back-up plan for delivery which will allow us to continue to provide accredited education for Asian golf courses, including on-course practical work, classroom and remote learning.
“A special thank you to our mentors who have been a key factor in the success of the CIG. Once we are back to normal life, it is the intention of the AGIF to expand the programme to other counties.”