SportsTurf

August 2017

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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www.sportsturfonline.com 35 August 2017 // people wait, or say, "pull carts only" to help the grass out. I can hear the golf superintendents now, "I have 180 acres to take care of and this guy just has 100,000 square feet!") and you would be right. I take care of my pitch just like I was han- dling putting greens. Greens are mowed between .90 and .130 inches; the pitch is mowed between .500 and 1 inch. I keep this pitch at .700 inch for the whole year (bluegrass); the players do not like changes any more than golfers do. I think of it as if the speed and smoothness of the pitch has to be the same as a putting green to relation to the ball size; both games are played on the ground. Where I think supers have a harder time than I do is the people they work for, 300 chiefs bet- ter known as club members. Maintaining golf courses is not easy and superintendents have a lot to do. Keep in mind supers today are asked to do more with less, just like a lot of sports turf managers. But members do not care if you have less to work with; they say "just make it better." When golfers watch golf on TV they often think their courses should be like the ones they see. If they only knew most of the time the course does not even play like that all the time. Even I may have 30 games on TV no one compares this pitch to someone else. We all have heard of armchair quarterbacks; many golf club mem- bers bring the whole chair out when they play golf. Each day you hear it's too slow, too fast, too wet, too dry, too long, too short, too soft and any other thing they can think of when their golf game is bad. When the golfer plays well the golf course is great. At least in my case management cannot just go across the street and see another pitch and compare the grass to grass. To compare more things golfers have spikes we have cleats, golf has traffic patterns we have heavy use areas. Golf season starts early spring to late fall; some sports fields will start late win- ter (February) and runs into late winter (January football) soccer will run into early December. My season started February 27 on the practice pitch on dormant grass. Some golf courses will try to put as many rounds as they can, sports fields will try to have as many games as they can. We have lights golf courses usually do not. Now we can see about the day-to-day things. I mow this pitch with a reel mower 2-4 times a week depending on the event; greens may be mowed every day and fairways, tees collars and short rough 3-4 times and regular rough 1-2 times. I have a weekly plant heath program that will include foliar feeding and a granule package just like greens. I will punch holes 13-14 times a year to pull cores and the others will be some kind of solid tine; greens may be done once a month and fairways two times tees and collars 2-3 times and main rough maybe not at all. l will also divot the pitch with green sand and seed just like fairways and tees. I will topdress once a month just like greens. Tees may be once month and most of the time fairways not at all unless the golf course has a big budget. I do have to deal with weeds, insects, dry spots, wet spots and all the same environmental factors a super does. I have shade issues but I cannot cut down or trim it to help with that problem; the stadium overhangs have to stay, I have asked! I have one goalmouth that only receives 3 hours of full sun each day. And no, I do not have grow lights. Most professional teams will have some kind of practice facility, but I have one grass pitch for two teams. For the year this pitch will have more than 250 practices on it. The only thing I can compare this to is a nonstop driving range tee. If I am lucky I will have one day a rest a week where I can get things done. Keep in mind athletes have habits, if it works do not change it just like golf- ers. In other words, why move to the other side of the pitch to do that workout just do it there every day? On that pitch I will put 50 lbs. of seed down in middle every 2 weeks just to keep up and it works. Practice tees will receive the same to keep up with the worn out areas. I want to try one last time to show you why this is not easy. I have a soccer-designed sta- dium, but I am asked to have football and rugby commercial shoots and anything else you can think of to make money. But I have saved the best for last, the concerts. For 3 days this July I will have thousands of people jumping up and down to the beat of the drum on the grass. The pitch will also have a 25 by 25 mixer set in the middle 6 inches of the ground; that spot will not see sun- light for 3 days. The pitch will have pallets of beer, rock rack cable ramp and cables all not letting the sunlight go through. But the best is I will have a 3-story tower with four 6,000-pound weights to hold it down and a larger number of speakers (I was afraid to ask the total weight). The best part is I do have a protective hard plastic cover 2.5 inches thick that is placed over the entire pitch to help protect it. This year it will be down for 4 and half days. When it is taken off at least the whole pitch is some kind of yellow. There is only one thing I can compare this to, which is bleachers that are on the course for tournament, but at least those are not in the field of play or on your greens. These experiences are just mine and I have never worked at a public golf course and those turf managers have a completely different way of doing things. They are open 7 days a week and can have up to 50,000 rounds a year most country clubs are open 6 days a week and have only 20,000 rounds. As for my pitch I try to just have events on the weekends but some sports fields will have events all week long. At the end of the day both jobs are fun and not easy to do. We all want to have the best grass possible, and best playing conditions. /ST/ MOST PROFESSIONAL TEAMS WILL HAVE SOME KIND OF PRACTICE FACILITY, BUT I HAVE ONE GRASS PITCH FOR TWO TEAMS. /////////////////////

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