Sports Turf Association (WA)

Promoting education and training for the WA sports turf industry.


The 2020 Turf Industry Awards Night

Although the state of WA covers a very large, almost one third portion of the Australian continent, our turf industry is relatively small as compared to the other states and territories. In the past, yearly cohorts of apprentices and part time students enrolled in Turf Management at South Metropolitan TAFE (previously known as Challenger TAFE) have generally numbered in the mid-teens to low twenties. This year’s graduating class however was particularly blessed to count 29 students. In acknowledging that we would have a fairly large graduating attendance we started the hunt for a venue that could comfortably host more than one hundred people in the room, especially if COVID-19 physical distancing guidelines applied. When the Swan Yacht Club’s function room was put forward as a possible site, it was immediately agreed to be an ideal venue. Overlooking the river in East Fremantle, the recently refurbished yacht club provided the right setting to host delicious dining and drinking pleasure and also the presentation capabilities for our speakers. The SYC staff, likewise, were a pleasure to work with and catered to our needs very professionally and proficiently. 

In my opening address I welcomed the Western Australian turf industry community to the evening as together we celebrate the 37th anniversary of the awards night since the inaugural CH Bailey and Sons Perpetual Shield was presented to Jim Clements in 1982. 

Once again, the room was full of familiar faces as many of our sponsors for the evening were businesses that have contributed towards this event year after year. Personally, I view this as a living testament and validation of the industry’s commitment and faith in the future of the industry and its new generation of tradesmen. Those ever-generous sponsoring businesses (in alphabetical order) are:

Baileys Fertilisers, Bayer CropScience, Globe Australia, Greenacres Turf Group, Lawn Doctor, Living Turf, MowMaster, Nuturf, Rosher, State Wide Turf Services, T-Quip, Turfcare WA and Western Irrigation.

Guest Speakers

The guest speaker for the night was Mr Dave Cassidy, superintendent at The Cut Golf Club, in Dawesville, located on the spit just south of Mandurah. 

Dave, a quintessential Aussie, spoke very relaxed and straightforward as he inspired the apprentices about where his career has taken him over the years since he graduated. With an array of outstanding images from idyllic beginnings on the central coast of NSW, over to legendary and iconic golf courses in Scotland and then to a surreal and luxurious course for the rich and famous in Barbados. Next move was an ultimate challenge in heat, dust, irrigation and staff management in the non-English speaking world of Doha in Qatar before settling back in Australia and Mandurah to relative normalcy. Dave had the audience entranced on where a career in this industry can take you, literally.


Following Dave was an opportunity for Matt Wolfe to present to the audience his journey from first graduating and receiving the CH Bailey and Son Perpetual Shield last year and then through the process of being a candidate and interviewed via Zoom before ultimately winning the award as Australian Sports Turf Graduate for 2019. Matt began his career in his hometown of Albany alongside his father Brett as together they were part of the team maintaining and managing the sports fields and parks for the City of Albany. Upon completion of his apprenticeship, Matt was excited to move up to Perth and begin a new career in sports field management with Green Options, where he would be based at the Lathlain Ovals, home base for the West Coast Eagles football club. His new employment excitement was unfortunately short lived because at the same time COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown hit Western Australia and businesses such as Green Options were forced to rationalize their workforce. The dreaded “Last on – First off” rule applied, and Matt was relegated to the bench and a subsequent return to familiar grounds in Albany working for his uncle’s stables and horse training facility. Matt is now back in Perth where he has found success working for Perth Racing at the Ascot and Belmont courses under the supervision of Chris Nation. A job that combines Matts career aspirations for intuitive and science lead sports turf management and his shared family involvement in horse racing.

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Please note that upcoming events may be affected by COVID-19 restriction 

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