Making Successful Careers Grow in the Sandhills

The SCC Golf Course Management Program

With 38 golf courses within ten miles and a climate that allows for hands-on learning with cool and warm season grasses, the SCC Golf Course Management program is highly regarded in the industry. Part-time employment, co-ops and internships at local courses lead to experience and, for most graduates, job offers.

Students learn how to cope with pests and turf diseases, course design and construction, golf course maintenance equipment, irrigation design and repair, fertilizer application, issues related to the physical management of golf courses, the business aspects of course management, and approaches to problem solving that allow students to deal with the wide range of challenges faced by golf course superintendents.

Graduates are also prepared to take the North Carolina Pesticide Applicator’s Examination.

For additional information contact Associate Professor, Michael Ventola, Program Coordinator at (910) 695-3941 or

The Landscape Gardening Program at SCC

The Landscape Gardening Department at Sandhills Community College is one of only 20 two-and four-year colleges in the nation that is fully accredited by the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP).

The curriculum emphasizes intensive, practical, hands-on training in applied horticulture to reinforce classroom lecture on theory and technique. Course work includes plant propagation, greenhouse and nursery plant culture, turf management, plant identification, arboriculture, diseases and pests of plants, and landscape planning, maintenance, and construction.

Academic classes are held in Steed Hall and students apply laboratory experiences in the five greenhouses and the thirty-two acre Sandhills Horticultural Gardens. The hands-on training reinforces the information received through classroom lectures on horticultural theories and techniques.

Students participate in field trips across North Carolina and to other states, which helps expand education and allows them to make important contacts within the industry.

Students can graduate with a certificate which can be completed in two semesters or an Associate in Applied Science degree that takes six semesters to complete. Degree-seeking students reside for a period of time in Steed Hall during their Work-Based Learning experience. They participate in a paid Work-Based Learning experience the last semester of their second year with an outside employer.

Graduates take the North Carolina Pesticide Applicator’s Examination and the North Carolina Certified Plant Professional Examination.

Re-accreditation by the NALP occurs every seven years and the program recently underwent the process.

“We found that the program has a long history of success and has tremendous support of the local community, industry and alumni,” said one of the accreditation team members. “Your campus is beautiful and the program’s facilities are some of the finest in the country and are a source of pride for the college and community.”

Competing Nationally

The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) offers a National Collegiate Landscape Competition each year. SCC students have been attending the competition for 23 years.

In March, the students plan to travel to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah for the 2017 competition. They raise money to attend through the fall and spring plant sales, Christmas tree and wreath sales and other projects.

Considered the largest collegiate competition event in the country, students compete in events and attend workshops that are directly related to the skills they’ll need to succeed in the industry: 3-D landscape design, irrigation techniques, hardscape installation, plant identification, business management, and many more topics.

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