All course information is listed within this syllabus.

TURF 436W: Case Studies in Turfgrass Management (3 credits). A writing-intensive course that uses case studies as a means of learning to solve turf and soil problems. The course focuses on recognizing problems, analysis of problems, formulation of solution strategies, developing plans of action, and evaluating the results of management actions.

Prerequisites: TURF 235 and (TURF 434 or TURF 435)

Recommended Preparation: TURF 238 and TURF 425


Instructor for TURF 436W

Peter Landschoot, Ph.D.
Professor of Turfgrass Science
Director of Graduate Studies in Agricultural and Environmental Plant Science

Department of Plant Science
413 Agricultural Sciences and Industries Building
University Park, PA 16802

E-mail: Use Canvas Inbox


  • B.S. Agronomy, The Pennsylvania State University
  • M.S. Agronomy, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Ph.D. Plant Pathology, University of Rhode Island
  • Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Plant Pathology, Rutgers University

Professional Background

  • Assistant Golf Course Superintendent, The Country Club of Rochester, 1977–80.
  • Assistant Professor Turfgrass Science, The Pennsylvania State University, 1989–94.
  • Associate Professor Turfgrass Science, The Pennsylvania State University, 1994–2003.
  • Professor Turfgrass Science, The Pennsylvania State University, 2003–present.
  • Professional Societies: Crop Science Society of America, American Phytopathological Society, International Turfgrass Society, and American Society of Horticultural Science.
  • Editorial Service: Associate Editor Plant Disease (APS), Senior Editor Plant Disease (APS), and Co-editor International Turfgrass Research Journal (ITS); Associate Editor Applied Turfgrass Science (CSSA).

Course Overview

Case Studies in Turfgrass Management is a 3-credit, advanced course for students with an interest in turfgrass science and management. The objective of this course is to provide students with an understanding of the processes involved in solving turfgrass and soil problems at the managerial level. Using real-life scenarios provided by the instructor, students will learn to recognize problems, analyze problems, identify issues that need to be addressed to correct the problems, formulate a set of strategies for solving the problems, implement a plan of action, and evaluate the results of the action plan. Once these processes have been assimilated, students will be assigned cases that involve challenging turf and soil problems. Students will then write and submit reports that identify the problems in the cases, analyze the problems, identify issues that need to be addressed, formulate strategies for solving the problems, select the most feasible solutions and develop an action plan, and evaluate outcomes. Students will be evaluated through reports, exams, quizzes, and class participation.

Course Requirements

All students must first complete five lessons involving an orientation case, referred to as the Oak Hill Case. These lessons are designed to walk you through the problem-solving process and help you formulate a plan of action. Each student will contribute to a discussion on the Oak Hill orientation case and be tested on the concepts presented in the modules. Your instructor will assign two more cases to each of the 10 teams. You will be informed of the cases that you will be working on next to your name in "People" in Canvas. Once you have been assigned your cases, you will interact with other team members and share ideas and/or information about the cases. Each individual team member will then write and submit two reports (one for each assigned case) containing the following components:

  • A brief description of the problems provided in the case
  • A detailed analysis of why the problems are occurring (factors that led to the existence of the problems)
  • Identify the issues that need to be addressed to correct the problems
  • Propose strategies for addressing issues and correcting the problems
  • Develop an action plan for implementing the strategies you have selected
  • Devise a means of evaluating the results of your action plan

Towards the conclusion of this course, you will develop your own case study and construct a report that covers all the components listed above for the other case reports. This is referred to as a Topic Case and can involve an internship experience, a work-related experience you are experiencing at present, or even a case that is fictitious. The only limitations are that the case will be original (not copied from a previous class or given to you by a classmate) and that it must fit into the problem-solving format used in the orientation and assigned cases.

More details on writing reports are listed in the "Case Report Format" document.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of TURF 436W, students will have:

  • improved their abilities to exercise judgment and assess options in turfgrass management.
  • improved their abilities to work with teammates to solve problems and make decisions on turf and soils related issues.
  • improved their abilities to describe and defend problem analyses and management decisions in writing.
  • a greater understanding of turf management principles and considerations involved in a wide array of turfgrass management systems.

Course Schedule

For due dates, refer to the Course Summary on the Syllabus page in Canvas.

Course Materials

Although there is no required textbook for this course, links to the supplemental reading material will be provided and assigned for specific lectures and cases.


The total number of points for the course is 550.

2 Assigned Case Reports, 1 Topic Case Report

Before submitting reports for the two assigned cases, each team member will use their team discussions to communicate with other team members about each case. While each individual will be responsible for writing his or her own report, team members are expected to share thoughts, ideas, and information regarding their cases. Each student will post to their team discussions, his or her ideas and information for each case examined.

Individual reports must be submitted by the due date. The sections of these reports will include:

  • a brief description of the problems or situation
  • a detailed analysis of the problems
  • a bulleted list of issues emerging from the analysis that needs to be addressed to correct the problems
  • a detailed set of strategies proposed for addressing problems
  • an action plan (preferable as a table) for implementing the strategies selected
  • a brief description of how you plan to evaluate the action plan

Reports for your two assigned cases and your topic case.

Up to 15 points will be awarded by the instructor for each of the two assigned cases, and up to 10 points for the topic case, for a total of 40 points which will account for 40% of your final course grade.

All students enrolled in this course are responsible for reading all of the 20 assigned cases and must complete all quizzes associated with all these cases. Students will also be responsible for learning the material covered in modules associated with these cases.

Team Participation

Students and the instructor will use the team discussions to discuss the problems, analysis, strategies, action plans, and other topics related to the orientation and assigned cases.

Overall participation will be evaluated by the frequency, intensity, and appropriateness of student work on the cases and posting to team discussions.

Up to 3 points will be awarded by the instructor for posting appropriate questions and information to the discussions for the orientation case and each assigned case, for a total of 9 points for the three cases.

Team Selection Bio and Case Quizzes

Your first assignment will be to complete a brief Team Selection Bio sheet containing the following information: your name; location of your place of work or home (city, state, country); work experience, positions held and length of time; and specific interests in turf golf, sports turf; lawn care, and your primary agronomic interest (i.e. soil physical properties, diseases, fertility, construction, etc.). An example of a Team Selection Bio sheet is provided within the Oak Hill Case (Week 1) module under "Activities."

The Team Selection Bio is worth 1 point towards your final grade. The information contained in your bio sheet will be used by the instructor for placing students in teams.

Each of the 20 assigned cases must be read by all students. After reading each case, you must complete a 10-question quiz on topics associated with the case. You can take as much time as needed to complete the quiz and can refer back to the case for information; however, you can only take the quiz once.

Each quiz is worth 10 points, for a total of 200 points which will account for 20% of your final course grade.

3 Exams

Exams will be based on course content, mostly from modules associated with the orientation case and the assigned cases. Each exam will be announced ahead of time, and each exam will be worth 100 points. The three exams together will account for 30% of your final grade.

Using is a 24/7 tutoring service that provides students with assistance in coursework, test preparation, research, writing, and more for various subjects. The tutors are subject-matter experts, and each student will have personalized one-on-one sessions with them. Students can schedule their own tutoring appointments to engage in interactive sessions that include a whiteboard and chat feature. The service can be utilized on any device that has Internet access. Students are encouraged to use the service throughout the semester.

You can access this service by selecting from your course navigation menu. Here you can select your subject, enter a question, and begin your tutoring session.

Reminder: Please keep in mind that you can use the free services to assist you in preparing for your assignments and understanding key concepts. You may NOT use this service during graded assignments, quizzes, or exams. Students AND instructors have access to transcripts from tutoring sessions.

Grading Policy

The following table is the grading criteria for the course.

Grading Criteria
Requirement Cumulative Point Value Weight
Team Participation and Team Selection Bio 10 10%
Quizzes 200 20%
Exams 300 30%
Case Reports 40 40%
TOTAL: 550 100%

The following table is the grading scheme for the course.

Grading Scheme
Letter Grade Percentage
A 100% – 92%
A- < 92% – 90%
B+ < 90% – 87%
B < 87% – 83%
B- < 83% – 80%
C+ < 80% – 75%
C < 75% – 70%
D < 70% – 63%
F < 63%

Please refer to the University Grading Policy for Undergraduate Courses for additional information.

NOTE: If you are planning to graduate this semester, please communicate your intent to graduate to your instructor. This will alert your instructor to the need to submit your final grade in time to meet the published graduation deadlines. For more information about graduation policies and deadlines, please see "Graduation" under World Campus Student Resources.

Online Students Use of the Library

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Technical Requirements

This course is offered online and it is assumed you possess the minimum system requirements and computing skills to participate effectively. A list of technical requirements is listed on World Campus' Penn State Technical Requirements page.

Minimum Skills

  • You should have an understanding of basic computer usage (creating folders/directories, switching between programs, formatting and backing up media, accessing the internet).
  • You must be able to conduct word processing tasks such as creating, editing, saving, and retrieving documents.
  • You must be able to use a web browser to open web pages, download files, and search the internet.
  • You must be able to use an e-mail program to send and receive messages and to attach and download documents/files.
  • You must be able to download and install programs or plug-ins from the internet.

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Accessibility Information


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Penn State Policies

Login Policy

Students are expected to log in regularly to keep up to date with announcements, discussions, etc. The class will progress at a regular pace throughout the semester and there are specific due dates and times for assignments, etc.

Course Availability

Your course will be available to you beginning the first day of class and will remain open for one year. After one year the course will close.

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Please read the academic integrity guidelines for the College of Agricultural Sciences.

A lack of knowledge or understanding of the University's academic integrity policy and the types of actions it prohibits and/or requires does not excuse one from complying with the policy. Penn State and the College of Agricultural Sciences take violations of academic integrity very seriously. Faculty, alumni, staff, and fellow students expect each student to uphold the University's standards of academic integrity both inside and outside of the classroom.

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Copyright Notice

All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor's express permission is strictly prohibited. University Policy AD40, Recording of Classroom Activities and Note-Taking Services, addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University's Code of Conduct, and/or liable under federal and state laws.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

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In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus' disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.

Accommodations for Military Personnel

Veterans and currently serving military personnel and/or spouses with unique circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployments, drill/duty requirements, disabilities, VA appointments, etc.) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to the instructor in the case that special arrangements need to be made.

Use of Trade Names

Where trade names are used, no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by World Campus, Outreach and Cooperative Extension, the College of Agricultural Sciences, or The Pennsylvania State University is implied.

Subject to Change Statement

Please note that this Course Syllabus is subject to change. Students are responsible for abiding by such changes.

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