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5 Minutes With... Bruce Davies

Tuesday 20, Oct 2020

The Australian Sports Turf Managers Association has created a segment to help the turf industry stay connected.  With many events postponed due to current challenges, the opportunity to meet new and catch up with familiar friends and peers across the turf industry is limited, so we’re keeping connected and to ensure that turf managers can get to know members from other areas of the industry, other States and other countries, to help promote the professionals and the hard work put into the industry.

Today we spend 5 minutes with... Bruce Davies, Turf Lecturer - Canberra Institute of Technology. 

Bruce has been in the turf industry since beginning his apprenticeship at parliament house in 1983.  He has completed a Diploma of Horticulture, Batchelor of Adult Education and Masters in Agriculture (Turf Management).

Provide a quick overview of your facility (staff, turf varieties managed, current role and length of time at your club/facility.)

I have been working with Canberra Institute of Technology as a teacher of Turf and Horticulture for about 30 years.  About half of my teaching is with Turf apprentices, the other half being in the horticultural sectors across the areas of Irrigation, Pesticide application, Soils, Nutrition, Pests, Diseases and Weeds.  Within the teaching gardens we maintain a wide array of turf species/varieties, across three golf holes, tennis courts, turf plots and aesthetic lawns.


2020 has been one out of the box especially in light of the global pandemic – how have your operations had to change and adapt from past years and what has been the most challenging aspect for your as a superintendent/sports turf manager?

Our operations  like most have had to adapt in recent times due to Covid.  Teaching was originally suspended before all being put online.  The online concentrated on the theory part of the training and gradually we have brought students back on to campus to do the more practical components of the training.  We will have students back on campus full time for the last term of the year.   The most challenging part of the adjustments has been learning to communicate with students online and then when students have returned being able to find teaching spaces large enough to accommodate the 4m square rules.


Best piece of advice you have received about the turf management profession and who gave it to you?

That "Turf Management is as much an Art as a Science",  Steve James - Turf teacher during my apprenticeship.


Talk about a recent or current project you have undertaken at your facility and what it means for the club.

We are continually reconstructing our turf surfaces, as part of the construction units the students need to complete.   Putting green No1 has just been sewn and the tennis courts had a new net installed and marked up by the 2nd/3rd year turf students.  Irrigation systems of all turf areas have just been tested and adjusted by the 1st year students as we move into the warmer months.  


Tell us one thing about yourself that your fellow turf practitioners might not know about you (eg: hobbies/achievements in sport etc).

My hobby is to volunteer with the NSW RFS.  I am a remote area fire fighter and enjoy nothing more than being dropped into remote bush by helicopter.


What piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?

Make the most of the opportunity to find out about all areas of the industry.  Talk to different people, work on different surfaces.  This broad knowledge and experience will take you further in  your career.


What do you like doing in your spare time?

In my spare time I enjoy, bush walking, surfing, canoeing and watching AFL.


Thanks for taking 5 minutes with us Bruce!

Click the names below for our 5 Minutes With others in the turf industry.

Matt Oliver, Dave Cassidy, Jay Infanti, Tony McFadyean, Luke Armstrong, Toby Lumsden, Bruce MacPhee, Cameron Hall