Certificate in Greenkeeping’s Prestige Gathering

Attendees at the CIG’s Progression Course in India at Prestige Golfshire Club.

Bengaluru, India: India’s first Certificate in Greenkeeping (CIG) cohort gathered at Prestige Golfshire Club for their Progression Course.

Four months after undergoing their Introductory Course at Karma Lakelands on the outskirts of Delhi, 23 students congregated in Bengaluru for the second stage of the acclaimed Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF) educational programme.

Attendees represented a total of 21 clubs in India and one each from Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka.

Richard Walne, Chairman of the AGIF’s CIG committee, said: “From the outset, it was the aim of the Federation and The R&A to raise course maintenance standards across Asia via the CIG.

“That’s why we were delighted to make our debut in India in December last year – and to have such an overwhelming response. We’re thrilled to be back for the second phase of the programme.”

To tee-off the week, Benjamin McLean, Golf Course Superintendent at Prestige Golfshire Club, gave the students a guided tour of the club’s maintenance shed and shared his experiences about the machines in use. He also discussed the use of fertilisers and chemicals and answered questions from the attendees.

As Bengaluru has not had any rain for more than five months now, water and Growing Degree Days (GDD) were among the topics of interest that students discussed with the tutors outside the curriculum.

“The students are all very eager to learn and thirsty for knowledge,” said Walne, highlighting that one of the unique features of the CIG programme is that it exposes students to different environments with the Introductory, Progression and Confirmation courses held at different venues in different parts of the country.

“Other than the presence of two agronomists from the New Zealand Sports Turf Institute (NZSTI) to provide face-to-face lessons, when on site at these golf courses, students get to learn from the respective host superintendents on how they manage their golf courses. This is an invaluable part of the programme.”

Walne said that the AGIF and NZSTI work with the respective venues to ensure that the CIG training does not disrupt golfers at the host clubs being able to play on their courses.

“The support we get from all these superintendents is fabulous. We greatly appreciate that they take the time to share their experiences with our students and allow us to access different parts of the golf courses for learning purposes. It adds an extra dimension to the CIG programme,” said Walne.

In partnership with The R&A and with programme delivery from the NZSTI, the CIG was launched in 2018 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.

As well as India, the CIG programme has already made its mark in Malaysia, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.

Golf Course Superintendent Benjamin McLean gave a guided tour of the Prestige Golfshire Club venue.

The total number of students who have enrolled in the programme has broken through the 165-barrier with individuals from clubs in 12 countries – Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Malaysia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the UAE and Vietnam.

Supported by The R&A and Education Partners Jacobsen, Jebsen & Jessen, John Deere, Syngenta and Toro, the CIG programme is crafted for golf course staff who may not have formal education related to the knowledge and skills required to operate safely and efficiently as a greenkeeper on a golf course.

The blended workplace learning allows students to apply the technical skills and processes learned to a variety of turf situations under the supervision of a qualified workplace supervisor.

The Introductory and Progression courses are both held over five days while the Confirmation Course is staged over three days.

The Confirmation Course for the first cohort in India is scheduled to be staged in Pune in the final quarter of 2024. Plans to launch a second CIG class in India are also under discussion. Clubs and individuals interested in attending should email PK Ong at

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