Cheong Champions AGIF’s Certificate in Greenkeeping

Jack Cheong.

Singapore: Veteran Royal Selangor Golf Club Course Superintendent Jack Cheong has given a glowing endorsement for the Asian Golf Industry Federation’s (AGIF) Certificate in Greenkeeping (CIG) programme.

Speaking during the latest webinar in the AGIF’s on-going Sustainability Series, Cheong said the CIG is helping to improve general greenkeeping standards across the region.

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.

With support from Jacobsen, Jebsen & Jessen, John Deere, Syngenta and Toro, the CIG has not only enabled greenkeepers across Asia to develop their careers, but also to 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.

Past President of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Malaysia, Cheong, who has acted as a mentor for members of the greenkeeping staff at Royal Selangor, said: “The Certificate in Greenkeeping is great. The curriculum gives all the basics, covering every major aspect of how to properly grow grass and what are the things that affect it.

“The great thing I saw from two of my assistants who attended the CIG course was their enthusiasm for the projects they had to do and the questions they needed to answer. To me, the biggest thing is that it forced them to think about different things. It’s made them think about why things are done in a certain way – and how it will affect other aspects.”

Holder of an MBA from Australia and a degree in Golf Course Operations from the United States, Cheong urged more clubs to support their course superintendents in signing up for the CIG programme and other AGIF seminars and demo days related to turf management.

“I think these events provide a great opportunity not only to listen to what the speakers have to say, but also to ask questions. I ask a lot of questions – sometimes too many! But that’s how we all learn,” said Cheong, who has spent more than 14 years as Course Superintendent at the venerable 36-hole Royal Selangor venue, overseeing major renovations of the courses and being among the first to plant TifEagle on the greens in Malaysia.

One of the region’s most respected ‘guardians of the turf’, Cheong’s webinar tackled the topic: Attaining the Suitable Green Speed for Your Facility, Your Members and Guests.

Sponsored by The Toro Company, the webinar included discussion and questions from attendees.

To view the webinar, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlDT8yBOUW4

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