DTM*1500 Turf Communication Skills

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The following description is for the course offering in Winter 2020 and is subject to change. It is provided for information only. The course outline distributed to the class at the beginning of the semester describes the course content and delivery, and defines the methods and criteria to be used in establishing the final grades for the course.

The course provides students with the skills to develop good written and oral communication skills. Practical examples enable students to speak and write effectively in the field of turfgrass management. The course also includes an introduction to group management skills and students will be required to work independently and meet in focus groups and complete work outside of scheduled class time.


Teaching Assistant:

Credit Weight:


Course Level:

  • Diploma

Academic Department (or campus):

Department of Plant Agriculture



Semester Offering:

  • Winter

Class Schedule and Location:

Please refer to WebAdvisor for class schedule and location.

Learning outcomes:

By the end of this course, students should be able to:
  1. Conduct independent and group based research and develop skills in translating complex principles from academic literature into comprehensible summaries designed for communication with stakeholder groups through written and oral mediums.
  2. Identify key principles in personal branding, recruitment, interviewing, business etiquette and professionalism in the turfgrass industry.  
  3. Develop skills to deliver clearly constructed arguments through oral presentations highlighting solutions to real-world issues in turf management.
  4. Create and maintain a professional blog which effectively transfers information to a variety of stakeholders in the turfgrass industry.
  5. Develop skills to research and produce professionally written business reports which analyze and provide solutions to relevant turf industry issues.
  6. Demonstrate the ability to engage fully in team tasks, interacting with integrity and respect, contributing to quality work and demonstrating personal responsibility and accountability to peers.
  7. Understand the value of industry engagement, connectivity, community involvement, outreach activities and the importance of developing a personal professional network.


Lecture Content:

Lecture Topics:

  • Student and instructor introductions, discussion of course outine, tips on accessing resources, introduce student/instructor expectations
  • Developing a professional resume and cover letter
  • Professionalism: Business etiquette and the professional environment
  • Successful strategies for hiring and interviewing
  • Business communications in the modern world. Managing your personal brand, verbal and non-verbal communications, email etiquette, conducting formal and informal encounters/conversations
  • Social media as a communications tool
  • Writing skills for the business world
  • Communicating with staff: training, conducting meetings, disciplinary actions, employee reviews, conflict resolution, etc.
  • Steering difficult conversations
Labs & Seminars:
  • Guest speakers from the industry - to be announced during semester
  • Online discussions
  • Practicing impromptu speeches
  • Working effectively in groups
  • Group Case Study presentations
  • Individual business report presentations
  • Discussions on assigned readings and/or video materials

Course Assignments and Tests:

Assignment or Test Contribution to Final Mark Learning Outcomes Assessed

Class Participation

20% 1, 3, 6, 7
Blog - Citizen Journalism


1, 4, 7

Resume and Cover Letter Assignment

10% 2, 7

Business Report Outline

10% 1, 3, 5, 7
Business Report


1, 3, 5, 7

Business Report Presentation

15% 1, 3, 7

Group Presentation


Final examination:

There is no final examination for this course.

Course Resources:

Required Texts:


Recommended Texts:

Current Turf Industry Articles and Trade Magazines (Article)

  1. Golf Course Industry - https://www.golfcourseindustry.com/
  2. GolfDom - https://www.golfdom.com/
  3. Turf and Recreation - https://www.turfandrec.com/
  4. Golf Course Management (GCM) - https://www.gcmonline.com/
  5. OnCourse (OGSA) - https://www.ogsa.ca/SideMenuPage/ONCourse.aspx
  6. Greensmaster (CGSA) - https://golfsupers.com/en/communication/greenmaster
  7. Michigan State Turfgrass Information File (TGIF) - http://tic.msu.edu/tgif

Resources to Develop and Improve Writing, Editing and Review Skills

  1. Canadian Press Stylebook (http://www.thecanadianpress.com/books.aspx?id=182)
  2. Oxford Concise Dictionary (www.askoxford.com)
  3. Online Writing Laboratory at Purdue University (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/)
  4. The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White

Professional Industry Associations

  1. Canadian Golf Course Superintendent’s Association (CGSA): http://golfsupers.com/
  2. Sports Turf Canada (STC): https://www.sportsturfcanada.com/
  3. Landscape Ontario (LO): https://landscapeontario.com/
  4. Ontario Golf Superintendent’s Association (OGSA): http://www.ogsa.ca/
  5. Golf Course Superintendent’s Association of America (GCSAA): http://www.gcsaa.org/

Turf Industry Blogs

  1. Jason Haines" Turf Hacker Blog - http://www.turfhacker.com/
  2. Westmount Greens Department Blog - http://westmountgreens.blogspot.ca/
  3. Turf Hugger - www.turfhugger.com
  4. A collection of various turf blogs can be found here - http://gcmbloggingworld.blogspot.ca/
  5. A collection of GCSAA member blogs can be found here: https://www.gcsaa.org/about-gcsaa/membership/membership-benefits/member-...

Resources to help develop "Citizen Journalism" (Blog) Skills

  1. A primer on citizen journalism from Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizen_journalism
  2. An excellent column on the merits of blogging versus column writing. http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2007/01/i_feel_so_lazy_.html
  3. A lengthy YouTube tutorial on WordPress by an independent blogger: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWYi4_COZMU&feature=related
  4. What makes a good blog? http://www.43folders.com/2008/08/19/good-blogs

Resources To Help Develop Presentation Skills

  1. Learn from the best - Tips from Toastmasters http://www.toastmasters.org/MainMenuCategories/FreeResources/Toastmaster...
  2. A video on using your voice effectively http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OclPRzUaeE
Lab Manual:


Other Resources:

Valuable industry websites

Turf Industry blogs

Field Trips: N/A

Additional Costs: N/A

Course Policies:

Grading Policies:

Submission information and marking rubrics will be included with assignments as they are circulated in class. All late assignments are subject to a penalty of 10% per day up to a maximum of 50%.

Course Policy on Group Work:

Each student is responsible for participating in organizing, planning, discussing, and executing assignments both in-class and outside of class.  Students will be subject to a peer-evaluations for their participation in groupwork.

Course Policy regarding use of electronic devices and recording of lectures:

Electronic recording of classes is expressly forbidden without consent of the instructor. When recordings are permitted they are solely for the use of the authorized student and may not be reproduced, or transmitted to others, without the express written consent of the instructor.

Other Course Information:

University Policies

Academic Consideration

When you find yourself unable to meet an in-course requirement because of illness or compassionate reasons, please advise the course instructor in writing, with your name, id#, and e-mail contact. See the academic calendar for information on regulations and procedures for Academic Consideration:

Academic Misconduct

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University of Guelph students have the responsibility of abiding by the University's policy on academic misconduct regardless of their location of study; faculty, staff and students have the responsibility of supporting an environment that discourages misconduct. Students need to remain aware that instructors have access to and the right to use electronic and other means of detection. Please note: Whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct is not relevant for a finding of guilt. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before submitting it. Students who are in any doubt as to whether an action on their part could be construed as an academic offence should consult with a faculty member or faculty advisor.

The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the University Calenders:


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