SRUC

HNC Golf Course Management

Campus: SRUC Elmwood, Fife

"I valued the opportunity to have one-to-one conversations with lecturers whenever I wanted to reach out. This gave me a sense of belonging, and a feeling of being valued and cared for as a student. The teachers are very friendly, patient and accommodating."

After doing a degree in Agriculture and Crop Science in his home country of Zimbabwe, Tizayi Sithole became interested in golf course development.

The 44-year-old signed up to study for an HNC in Golf Course Management at SRUC’s Elmwood campus – where he was named Student of 2021 by his classmates.

Tizayi, who spent three years studying at SRUC, said: “I valued the opportunity to have one-to-one conversations with lecturers whenever I wanted to reach out. This gave me a sense of belonging, and a feeling of being valued and cared for as a student. The teachers are very friendly, patient and accommodating.”

As part of his course, he went to America on the Ohio International Internship Programme where he learnt about golf course management and agronomy, and volunteered at the TPC Sawgrass Player Tournament.

He has also just completed a one-year internship at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club in Florida, USA.

In Zimbabwe he works with local greenkeepers to help maintain existing golf courses which are facing financial challenges.

“I have learnt about the construction process from the ground up and I have learnt the importance of function in relation to architectural design,” he said. “The golf courses we have renovated and built were never extravagant, but they are coming back to life and becoming a beacon of hope for the survival and existence of golf in my country.

“I have also initiated, and am the secretary general of, the Zimbabwe Golf Course Superintendents Association, which holds educational seminars with service providers on how best to use their various products in the maintenance of golf courses.”

He wants to continue his education by doing an HND, followed by a Masters in Turf Management.

“I want to become a turf grass guru in golf course maintenance so as to offer accessible and affordable consultancy services in underprivileged communities,” he said. “Living in a mid-income town, I have seen struggling golf courses closing down and some being turned into residential sites by councils, but there are a few left that require immediate intervention.

“My goal is to spread the education of greenkeeping to most golf courses in my country, and Africa at large, and avoid the closure of golf courses due to negligence and a lack of experienced greenkeepers and create financially stable and sustainable golf courses for the future.”