NC Greenkeeping at SCQF Level 5

The National Certificate (NC) in Greenkeeping at SCQF level 5 is a flexible, practically orientated qualification which has been designed to provide candidates with a range of occupationally relevant skills, understanding and experience.

The mandatory Units will equip candidates with:

  • practical skills
  • knowledge of greenkeeping and related practices
  • research and presentation skills
  • written and oral communication skills
  • knowledge that will allow candidates to undertake duties on a modern golf course

This is a specialist qualification available in a small number of colleges.

Why deliver this qualification

This is an occupationally-specific qualification at an introductory level recognised by Lantra and the sector in general. The NC provides candidates with the opportunity to develop industry links and contacts through work placement and course visits.

The delivery of the qualification is at the discretion of individual centres. There is a flexible framework of options to meet local requirements.

Delivery approaches are likely to include:

  • tutor-led delivery (combinations of college or work-based teaching and mentoring)
  • facilitated student enquiry (including the use of the internet and virtual learning environment (VLE) based resources and learning packs)
  • experiential learning through work placement (guided and supervised by an employer)
  • visits to local golf courses and industry related events, eg Scotsturf
  • visiting industry speakers

The Course presents opportunities for integration with other landbased qualifications and provides a progression route for candidates to HNC/SVQs.

The NC is recognised by industry and mapped to the National Occupational Standards (NOS).

Who does this qualification suit

The qualification is primarily aimed at:

  • young people who have recently left school
  • mature ‘adult returners’ who have decided to re-enter education
  • potential candidates whose first language is not English

This NC provides the framework and flexibility to meet the needs of these quite different groups. The flexible optional Units allow interests and specialisms to be developed, leaving candidates in a much better position to develop their career.

The Course also develops broader Core Skills in Communication, Working with Others and Problem Solving.


There are no specific recommended entry requirements. Entry to the qualification is at the discretion of the centre.

It may be appropriate for candidates whose first language is not English to undertake SQA’s ESOL Course and attain an English qualification at SCQF level 5.


For candidates achieving a good range of Units, opportunities exist for progression to:

  • HNC/HND in Golf Course Management
  • HNC/HND in Golf Management
  • Employment. Successful candidates will be equipped to apply for a greenkeeping position in Scotland, the UK or Europe. Some colleges have students in employment all over the world. For example, recent placements and full-time employment for candidates have included: St Andrews Links Trust, Gleneagles, Loch Lomond, The Belfry and other internationally recognised courses in Spain and Sweden.


Centres with devolved authority are eligible to seek approval through their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority will have to come forward for approval and should contact the Business Development Team for guidance in completing the combined CA1/SA1 form.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA's general requirements as outlined in the guide to approval.

Centres would require suitable access to relevant plant/equipment and appropriate facilities to deliver the practical components. Links to local golf clubs would be beneficial.

How to assess

Assessment Support Packs (ASPs) are available for selected Units. They have a critical role in ensuring that delivery of Units is linked to greenkeeping. ASPs reinforce the practical aspect of the Unit specification, as well as reinforcing a common standard across centres.

ASPs are available to download from SQA’s secure website.

Qualification content and delivery tools

Qualification structure

Group Award code: G9D6 45 (72 SCQF credit points)
SCQF level: 5

NC Greenkeeping at SCQF level 5 (119 KB)

Course Overview and Skill Development Summary

NC Greenkeeping at SCQF level 5 (746 KB)


The NC is made up of nine mandatory Units (54 SCQF credit points) and a minimum of three optional Units (18 SCQF credit points).

Mandatory Units:

Golf Course Construction: An Introduction — F6TL 11
Sportsturf Industry: Soils and Rootzones — F6TM 11
Sportsturf Nutrition — F6TN 11
Turf Grass Identification and Production — F6TP 11
Golf Course Maintenance — F6TR 11
Plant Husbandry: Common Disorders — D878 11
Turf Maintenance Machinery — F6TS 11
Golf: Club Procedures, Etiquette and Rules — D0PT 11
Sportsturf Industry: An Introduction to Health and Safety — F6TT 11

There are 15 optional Units. A minimum of three credits are required though centres and candidates are free to choose other additional Units from the framework.

Optional Units:

Pesticide Application — F2B2 34 (1 credit)
Golf Course Design and Layout — F6XM 11 (1.5 credit points)
Work Experience — D36H 11 (1 credit)
Environmental Issues: Sportsturf — F6TV 11 (1 credit)
Draining Sports Surfaces — F6V3 11 (1 credit)
Irrigating Sports Surfaces — F6V4 11 (1 credit)
Tractor Operations 1 — D900 10 (1 credit)
Tree and Shrub Planting — D903 10 (1 credit)
Skills for Customer Care — F38W 10 (1 credit)
Work Environment Maintenance — F6T1 10 (0.5 credit)
Soft Landscaping: An Introduction — DX13 10 (0.5 credit)
Golf Course Tournament Preparation — F6TX 11 (1 credit)
Numeracy — F3GF 11 (1 credit)
Information and Communication Technology — F3GC 11 (1 credit)
Communication — F3GB 11 (1 credit)

Other information

NPTC offers a regulatory Pesticide Application qualification which leads to a licence. The Pesticide Application Unit included in this NC (SCQF level 7) was designed to prepare candidates to undertake the test required for the NPTC licence.