Otago Polytechnic turf management students at The Hills last week for the New Zealand PGA, from left Arnold Witteveen, Conner Drake, Hayden Walker, Brook Murphy, Hamish Ross (background), lecturer Gary Smith, Jarrod Kean, Mach Maine, Scott Hansen, lecturer Bob Steel and Kingsley McConnochie. Photo by Olivia Caldwell.
Otago Polytechnic students Robbie Reid and Mike Scott were
grounds-keeping at the Queenstown Events centre last week
when the England Cricket test side played the New Zealand XI.
In all, 13 grounds-keeping interns took care of two of the
most important turfs in the area.
Otago Polytechnic sports turf management students arrived
from Cromwell to manicure The Hills golf course and the
Queenstown Events Centre for the New Zealand PGA tournament
and four-day English cricket match respectively.
Those at The Hills rose every morning at 4.30am and finished
their day's work work at 8.30pm, when the golfers were eating
It is the only two-year internship course offered in New
Zealand and the programme's manager, Gary Smith, said the
sporting frenzy provided a great opportunity for the interns.
''We are exposing these young guys to some top venues.''
Mr Smith said the work was a ''two-way'' thing for the
students and the venue managers, as the more hands on board
He said the class of 13, all males, learned from some of the
''These people are really focused, passionate guys and it's a
great opportunity to be working alongside them.''
Mr Smith has been involved in the sports turf management
industry for 30 years and running the course since it started
He said the course had a ''learn while you earn'' aspect and
to be a good grounds-keeper not only involved knowing grass,
but also how to communicate well.
Students taking the programme have had opportunities at the
New Zealand Golf Opens held at Gulf Harbour and The Hills,
two PGA's, both at The Hills, and one-day international
Mr Reid, of Christchurch, said the week had been a dream job,
as he had watched preparation at the Queenstown Events Centre
for the cricket.
His duties involved removing the covers in the morning,
gluing his eyes to the cricket from 1.30am until 6pm and then
throwing the covers on.
However, those at The Hills rose early to get ahead of the
professional golfers, who teed off about 7.30am every