GROWING up helping her parents in their Wellington Point garden turned out to be a career eye-opener for Tahlia Bruce.
Ms Bruce is now one of TAFE Queensland's few female greenkeepers, and is on par for a bright future after landing an apprenticeship with Wynnum Golf Club.
"I'm not a girly girl and I decided that a career working outdoors was what I wanted when I was 11 years old after getting immense satisfaction from helping my mum and dad out in the garden," she said.
"During an education expo at high school my eyes were opened to the career opportunities in horticulture - the kinds of jobs and places I could work were exactly what I was seeking. So, after discussing it with my family, I began studying towards the job of my dreams."
While she was still in school, Ms Bruce armed herself with certificates in landscaping and horticulture from TAFE Queensland.
"During high school, I learnt about landscaping, paving, planting and drawing plans, which set me up for specialising down the track," she said.
After graduating, she enrolled to study a Certificate III in Sports Turf Management, where she learnt how to use the specialised machinery and equipment to manage golf greens and cricket pitches.
"I gravitated towards turf management because I enjoyed using the machinery and learning about all the different grass breeds used for playing surfaces, as well as the techniques used to keep it fit for purpose," she said.
Head Greenkeeper at Wynnum Golf Club, Jason Adams, a TAFE Queensland graduate, said Ms Bruce played a vital role in helping to manage the course.
"She works in a team of six and we maintain every aspect of the golf course - from mowing greens each day, tees three times a week and fairways twice a week, as well as all the other maintenance our course requires - so there is plenty of work that constantly needs doing," he said.
As a testament to her passion, enthusiasm and skills, Ms Bruce was nominated for the 2019 Turf Graduate of the Year during her apprenticeship, where she finished in the top three.
Ms Bruce said she was proud to be working in a job she loved.
"Each day, I'm working with a great bunch of people to keep our fairways, roughs and greens manicured so our members have a challenging but enjoyable round of golf," she said.
"It's always a great feeling when members compliment us on how good the course is looking and how well it's playing."