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Course Topics and Instructors

University of Guelph Faculty and Industry Professionals share their knowledge, research, passion and expertise to maximize your exposure to the latest research and most recent issues encountered by turf managers working in the field. Turfgrass performance, resource planning and environmental stresses are discussed.

“The instructor makes it very difficult not to share his passion and I felt I am walking away with some of this.”


Review the topics and instructors who participate in the TMSC:

Turfgrass Soils – 12 Hours

Cheryl FitzGibbonThis topic covers the importance of soil as a growing medium for turf grass and will cover the physical, chemical and hydrologic properties and management of soils as they pertain to turf grass.

Cheryl FitzGibbon, School of Environmental Sciences

Cheryl specializes in soil science, turf soil management, resources planning, management and environmental issues. She also works in the fields of computer assisted design and information technology.

Cheryl passed on a lot of information in a short time. The soil sample was a good idea because it aided me in relating to some of the information that will be of use in my work.
– participant, TMSC 2016

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Turf Identification and Management – 22 Hours

Identify the growth characteristics and physiology of turfgrasses, and how these impact the practical uses of various turfgrass species. Learn how turfgrass systems are managed to provide utilitarian, aesthetic and safe recreational turf surfaces. Major emphasis is on the integration of grass species, mowing, nutrient management, and thatch management to produce turf suitable for golf, sports and lawns.

Eric Lyons

Dr. Eric Lyons, Associate Professor, Department of Plant Agriculture

Eric specializes in nutrient management, stress physiology and plant competition in sports field, golf course and landscape turf. In addition Dr. Lyons oversees extensive testing of new emerging products for turfgrass managers. Dr. Lyons also is involved in curriculum development for turfgrass professionals at the University of Guelph and with industry partners.

Visit Dr. Lyons’ website:

Eric was an amazing instructor, he kept our attention by keeping the learning experience focused and fun. His knowledge and understanding have shown me how much more I need to learn and understand in respect to my chosen field. What I have learned from Eric will only help to make a better turf worker. I thank him for his professionalism, knowledge, and his crazy sense of humour. We all need more teachers like this. Again many thanks.”
– participant, 2016 TMSC

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Disease Identification and Management – 17 Hours

Dealing with turfgrass diseases is one of the more difficult aspects of turfgrass management. Under intensive management, turfgrasses are subjected to very stressful environmental conditions that predispose them to diseases. Disease-causing agents, the environmental conditions that allow diseases to flourish, and techniques to prevent and manage turf diseases are discussed.Tom Hsiang

Dr. Tom Hsiang, Professor, School of Environmental Sciences

Tom teaches courses on turf diseases and tree diseases. His research includes studies on diseases of woody plants and turfgrasses, particularly snow molds. More information on turfgrass diseases and research projects is available on his website:

“I said I needed to have a better understanding of what it was I was seeing under foot, now I do. I need more in field time to refine my new skill sets, but thanks to Tom, I feel far more confident about taking on that challenge. His guidance will surely help me in this process.”
– participant, 2016 TMSC

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Weed Identification and Management – 8 Hours

Evaluate the practical aspects of cultural, mechanical and chemical methods of weed control in turf with emphasis on alternative weed management options as well as conventional weed management techniques.

Erica Gunn, B.Sc.Agr. (Environmental Biology), with an area of emphasis in Pest ManagementErica Gunn

Upon graduation, Erica started working as a Research Technician at the Guelph Turfgrass Institute (GTI). Over the years she has worked on various research projects in the lab, field and greenhouse. More recently, Erica has worked in the GTI fields for the Manager of the Research Plots. In the winter months, Erica facilitates an online course for Open Learning and Educational Support in the Managing Golf Courses Certificate program.

I actually learned quite a bit about weeds and how they may interact with turf.  I will be taking this information back to my job with renewed interest.  I found Erica to be a great teacher with a quirky sense of humor.
– participant, 2017 TMSC

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Insect Identification and Management – 10 Hours

You will learn about the insect pests of turfgrass including their identification, biology, scouting methods and control. Insect pests that will be examined include all the white grub species, hairy chinch bugs, sod webworms and cutworms, weevils, crane flies and ants.


Integrated Pest Management – 10 hours

This section draws on information you learned in the disease and insect section of the course. You will learn general and specific techniques for monitoring turf pests and record keeping. You will be able to prioritize your turf monitoring, determine monitoring frequencies and become acquainted with thresholds. By learning to use key plants in the landscape to signal pest activity, you will be able to better time pesticide applications and overall, reduce pesticide use.

Katerina Jordan

Katerina Jordan, Associate Professor, Dept of Plant Agriculture.

Dr. Katerina Jordan teaches courses in turfgrass management, integrated pest management and biological control of plant diseases. Her research focus is on root pathogens of turfgrasses and other crops and maximizing sustainability of turfgrass management practices.

Visit Dr. Jordan’s website:


“I absolutely loved her passion and enthusiasm!  I never really thought I would be that interested in bugs, but I found that I had no choice but to get caught up in it.  I am also a big enthusiast of finding different methods to combating our natural pests with more “natural” methods.  These were definitely two topics I enjoyed very much and I believe will help me in my new position at work.”
– participant, 2017 TMSC

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Equipment – 6 Hours

The equipment section discusses selection and maintenance of the various types of equipment used in turfgrass management as well as the direct impact equipment has on turf. Sean JordanEmphasis will be placed on efficient use, calibration and instructing staff in safe operation.

Sean Jordan, T.Ag. Sessional Lecturer, Diploma in Turfgrass Management Program.

Sean is a Technical Agrologist with a wide range of experience in turfgrass management, construction and renovation.  Sean has taught in the DTM program and TMSC since 2005.

Very informative about the equipment choices and ways to present them to the people that we answer to! I took some key points from this class that will aid me in the future. Thank you!”
– participant, 2017 TMSC

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Construction & Drainage – 6 Hours

Explore the role of the golf course architect and their involvement with golf course construction from concept to grassing. Examine the different construction materials, construction techniques and costs associated with building golf features such as greens, tees, and bunkers paying particular attention to the importance of drainage within these features.

Cam Tyers, B.A., L.A.T.  – Cam Tyers Design Inc.

Headshot - Cam Tyers, smiling, suntanned face with short curly graying hair

Cam Tyers has been a golf course architect for over 19 years.  He started his own business, Cam Tyers Design Inc. in 2010.  Before that he spent 13 years working with renowned Canadian architect Doug Carrick.

Cam has been a guest lecturer at Durham College, Niagara College, and the University of Guelph for the past 4 years.   He is also instructing the design course in the Turf Diploma program.  As an architect, he is always looking for new ways that design can grow the game of golf and keep pace with the changing demographic of today’s golfer.

An avid golfer, Cam enjoys sharing his love of the game and course design and construction with his students.

Great information! A lot of people take drainage for granted when it is a very important part of construction and management. Thank you!
– participant, 2017 TMSC

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Irrigation – 6 Hours

Study irrigation practices, products and trouble shooting of golf, municipal and commercial irrigation systems.

Gary Taylor – GT Irrigation Services

Gary Taylor

Gary has been involved in the irrigation industry for the past 35 years, beginning his career maintaining irrigation systems, to site foreman, irrigation design (residential, commercial and golf), service and sales, to an independent irrigation consultant. Gary has a BComm and currently provides irrigation and pumping design to the golf, municipal and commercial markets as well as project management and water management services.

This session helped me to understand much more of what is involved in the overall business of irrigation and how it not only works, but how we can better implement usage of our equipment and practices.”
– participant, 2017 TMSC

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Landscape Management – 4 Hours

Trees and natural areas are important components of all landscapes. This section of the course looks at the interactions between trees and turf and how to best select and manage woody plants for use on golf courses, parks and residential landscapes.
Also included is information about the management of natural areas that may be found in various managed landscapes including parks and golf courses.

Mike Van Beek, B.Sc. (Agr)

Mike Van BeekMike retired after 26 years of instruction in the Seneca College Golf Course Technician program. Currently he teaches part-time in the University of Guelph Diploma in Turf Management program. For the past 30 years, Mike has owned and operated a small landscape design and installation company specializing in residential installations. Mike is a member of the Ontario Turfgrass Research Foundation committee.

I believe the landscaping on a golf course can be a very important aspect to consider. Mike may have had a short session, but he did give some great points to keep in mind.”
– participant, 2017 TMSC

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