Most of us are familiar with the tense competitions held among the world’s top golfers on those splendid stretches of green grass. Less well known is the contest among students learning how to make those lawns what they are.
But last week, four University of Maryland students came out on top in a national matchup aimed at rewarding the best of the new generation of raisers and tenders of the verdant carpet upon which that dimpled white ball rolls hole-ward.
The university said the championship was its first in 20 years of competing in the annual Collegiate Turf Bowl, which was held this year in Orlando.
One of the tests in the competition requires identifying types of turf grass. Also necessary is an intimate knowledge of the golf course intruders, such as weeds and insects.
Other contest components include an essay and a written test.
The competition, sponsored by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, is intended to probe the students’ knowledge and abilities not only in grass and farm land, but also in business and environmental management, communication and leadership.
The winning quartet included three undergraduates who are studying golf course management through the university’s Institute of Applied Agriculture. They are Brian Hogan, Matthew Park and Brent Waite.
The fourth competitor was Ryan Higgins, an undergraduate who is studying turf and golf course management in the university’s Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture.
First place carried a $4,000 prize, the university said.