October 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.spor 28 // October 2017 T his month in "The SportsTurf Interview," we meet Michael Buras, CSFM, Grounds Director for Longwood Cricket Club, Chestnut Hill, MA. Buras received the Sports Turf Managers Association Dick Ericson Founder Award in 2015, for raising the level of professionalism in the sports turf industry, and won the 2008 STMA Field of the Year for Sporting Grounds. He is a 1997 graduate of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst turf program. Spor tsTurf: Do they still play cricket at Longwood Cricket Club? What's the history of the club? Buras: Longwood was founded as a cricket club in 1877. They had some excellent teams that competed against top teams throughout the Northeast. The fi rst head groundsman was also the captain of the cricket team. In 1878, the club added its fi rst lawn tennis court. From there the club transitioned to all tennis, with no major cricket matches after 1930. As one of the world's oldest tennis clubs, many prominent tennis tournaments were at Longwood. The National Doubles, Davis Cup and U.S. Pro brought some of the greatest tennis champions of the day to the club, from the eras of Tilden and Budge to McEnroe and Sampras. ST: Are there clay and hardcourt tennis surfaces as well as grass? What else do you maintain? Buras: Longwood has 25 grass and 19 clay tennis courts. In 2005, the club removed a 7,500-seat tennis stadium with the club's only hard courts. This allowed for the construction of six more clay courts. The clay courts are like a baseball infi eld skin. Maintaining the grass courts is like managing a combined sports fi eld and golf green. There is intense traffi c in a small area on low cut grass. The crew specializes in turfgrass and manages many gardens and trees on the property. ST: What keeps you busy during winter? Buras: Winter often seems busier than the tennis season of April 15 through November 5. Capital projects, hiring, continuing education and professional turfgrass associations keeps me occupied. Grass court managers meet every other winter for specialized education and networking. The New England Regional Turfgrass conference hosts the seminar in Providence, RI. Attendees come from the United States and abroad to share their expertise. ST: I read where you are a part of a UMass turf research project. What can you tell us about that? Buras: Research on lowcut (.312") turfgrass is being conducted at UMass. Professors Scott Ebdon and Michelle DeCosta are studying wear tolerance of various species. These include Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, fi ne fescues, velvet, creeping and colonial bentgrasses. They built three grass tennis courts at the Joseph Troll Research Center. Heavy play on these courts is making conditions for measurable wear. This is the fi rst grass tennis research in the United States. A grant from the New England Regional Turfgrass Foundation made this possible. The results will assist anyone managing short cut, cool season grass. ST: What are the most important things to do to keep grass tennis courts in great shape? Buras: Care of a grass tennis court is like the care of a top sports fi eld. The lower cut of the tennis court grass does introduce extra challenges. The biggest is water management. Damp grass is not safe for play. Dry soil allows for better ball bounce. Keeping the surface dry while maintaining plant health is always a fine balance. Grass court soils are generally somewhere between a sandy loam and a clay loam. We strive for compaction to have good ball bounce. Thatch also affects ball bounce. Too much and the courts are soft, too little and the courts wear out faster. Again, balance is necessary to maintain quality playing conditions while keeping healthy grass. Most tennis foot traffi c is in a confi ned area THE SPORTSTURF INTERVIEW: MICHAEL BURAS, CSFM Longwood Cricket Club, Chestnut Hill, MA

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