MARIETTA - The putting green outside the Washington County Career Center isn't there just so students and administrators can work on their short games.
The regulation-size green was designed and installed last year by students in the landscape and turf management program.
That was a learning experience in and of itself, but the green's continued presence provides an opportunity for them and future students to learn about a particular aspect of the industry, said Jason Lipot, landscaping and turf management instructor.
"I consider a putting green the Cadillac of good turf management," he said. "We take care of it as if it was Augusta National."
Students graduating from the program this year started work on the green in the fall of 2010, designing it and putting a budget together for approval by the career center administration. Demolition of the spot where a playground once stood was conducted by students in the school's forestry and natural resources class, who removed several yards of blacktop, concrete and pipe.
Local businesses chipped in, with Greenleaf Landscapes providing a slinger truck to distribute the gravel and soil for the base of the green and Judy Adamson with the Marietta Country Club giving technical information and advice on the construction process.
Students also installed an irrigation system, a sand trap and chipping area, along with brick pavers and a fountain that fill out the space. Lipot said the project is a reflection of the variety of skills students learn in the program.
While multiple students in landscape and turf management and other programs worked on the project, Lipot described the six seniors graduating this year as its backbone - Stephen Baxter, Aaron Brooks, Tyler Buck, Christopher Cox, Cory Dick and Casey Wagner.
"I'm real proud of it. I'm real happy with what we were able to accomplish," said Brooks, a senior from Warren High School.
The end of construction didn't mean the end of work on the green. Lipot said the surface is mowed almost daily, and students have learned how to deal with diseases, such as when a case of snow mold killed a segment of the sensitive bent grass on the putting surface.
"There's a lot more to it than just building it and growing grass," said Baxter, a senior from Belpre High School.
Lipot said he lets his students putt on the green as an incentive, such as when they're ahead of schedule on something.
"They put a lot of work into it. This is their reward," he said.
The green - only the second at a career center in the entire state, Lipot said - made its debut to the community outside the career center at April's open house. Afterward, the parent of a local golf team member approached Lipot about allowing the girl, not a career center student, to practice putting on it and he agreed.