10 episodes

The Turf Zone is a central information and news hub, bringing together professionals from turf associations across multiple states to share things to help you in your business.

Podcast Association The Turf Zone

    • Business
    • 4.0 • 2 Ratings

The Turf Zone is a central information and news hub, bringing together professionals from turf associations across multiple states to share things to help you in your business.

    NESTMA – SYNTHETIC TURF: The Importance of Infill

    NESTMA – SYNTHETIC TURF: The Importance of Infill

    New England Blade – Arthur Eddy, ASLA, LEED AP

    Modern synthetic turf fields are highly engineered systems that are made up of several components. When working in unison, synthetic turf fields can create a safe, high performing athletic surface. Synthetic systems are typically made up of synthetic turf carpet, an infill and sometimes a shockpad.  This article is going to focus on the importance that infills play in the turf system, how to identify issues and how they need to be maintained.

    Infill is part of the ballast that weighs down the turf and fills in between the fibers of turf.  Infills can be made from varying materials whether natural, engineered or recycled products. Along with the turf fibers, the infill is a component that directly interacts with the athlete. Infill can have an impact on how an athlete’s foot reacts to the system, including energy restitution into an athlete’s legs, impact on an athlete’s lower extremity, and how a foot will rotate when making cuts. Appropriate infill levels can also impact the performance of a ball on the field. Infills are carefully mixed and matched with the synthetic turf carpet depending on turf weight, stitch gauge, and fiber completing a system. During installation, systems are typically tested for safety and performance including GMax, Head Injury Criteria (HIC), vertical deformation, rotational resistance, ball roll, and ball bounce.

    Because the infill is typically loose in the system, infill can easily be displaced. For systems to perform correctly, the infills need to remain consistent and typically require a ½” or 12mm reveal of fiber.  The depth of the infill will be related to the original fiber length, so understanding the turf system including fiber length is important for understanding the infill requirements. To maintain surfaces that meet their original performance criteria, grooming on a regular basis can assist with over compaction of infills and appropriate distribution. As a rule of thumb, a synthetic turf field should be groomed approximately every 100 hours of use.

    Unlike a natural grass field, a synthetic turf system does not reveal signs of wear, like turning brown, thinning, or signs of disease. Typically, when a turf field is showing signs of wear it is already too late. A manager of a synthetic system needs to check infills on a regular basis. An infill depth gauge is a tool that can help monitor areas that need to be addressed. Keeping a log of infill depths can allow appropriate action on the field to take place and help to make sure that you are keeping up on the requirements of the manufacturer’s warranty.

    High use areas in fields should be checked regularly. This should occur every other week and before and after grooming. This is critical in the high-use areas as outlined below:



    * Football



    * Goal line

    * Kick-Off Marks

    * Extra Point Line

    * 15 Yard Line

    * Center of the field

    * Between the hash marks





    * Soccer/Lacrosse



    * Penalty Kick

    * Corner Kick

    * Center Mark

    * Goal Mouths

    * Face-off spots







    Typically, synthetic surfaces overlay multiple sports and high use areas coincide with other sports. This is highly impacted by practice and repetition on the field. High use areas (Figure 1) should receive new infill on a regular basis which can be applied with a five-gallon bucket and swept in with a stiff bristle broom.

    Along with safety, the longevity of the synthetic turf is related to infill depths. Fiber can prematurely breakdown when not properly filled. Fiber has memory and when fiber starts to bend at a lower level it exposes the fiber to breaking down at a lower level. When the fiber breaks down, the system no longer can hold infill and the performance and safety of the field can be compromised.

    • 7 min
    NESTMA – Member Spotlight on Brian Schools

    NESTMA – Member Spotlight on Brian Schools

    New England Blade – Julie Holt, Content Director, TheTurfZone.com

    Sports Turf Manager

    Parks and Recreation – Medfield, Massachusetts

    B.S. Sports Turf Management & Business Saint Joseph’s College of Maine

    Sports Field Management Certification, The Ohio State University

     

    How did you get your start in the sports turf industry? During my first year of college, I worked on the grounds staff of the athletic department for a work study program.

    Where did you go from there? Once I got my feet wet with the basics of athletic field management in college, in the summer of 2010, I was hired by the New Hampshire Fisher Cats – AA Affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. This was eye-opening and one of the best experiences of my life. The job helped develop my work ethic and the attention to detail I have today.

    Who helped you the most when you first started out in the sports turf industry? Although my father knew very little about the industry, he was the one to first to get me started. When I was about 10 years old, he told me, “If you want some money, go out and earn it.” He taught me how to use our push lawn mower and that summer I got started with a few customers.

    My mentor was Jason Chisholm at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine. While I was a work-study student, Jason invested his time showing me how to properly care for a baseball field.  He taught me the basics of mowing practices, infield skin and lip management, irrigation repairs, fertility, equipment maintenance, and even basic budgeting. Jason lit a fire in me that prepared me for my next job with the NH Fisher Cats. Working with Head Groundskeeper Eric Blanton, and later Shaun Meredith, expanded my knowledge of baseball field management. I was amazed at how much work goes into a baseball field of this caliber. I spent 14-16 hours a day caring for ONE field and it didn’t seem like work to me.

    What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?

    “Work hard and do your best.”

    “If you enjoy what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

    “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.”

    What’s your favorite thing about your current position?  I love that every day is a new adventure with new challenges. Being the only full-time maintenance worker, I have to juggle many duties which can sometimes be overwhelming. Making it a game, full of challenges, is the best way I have been able to successfully attack my job.

    What recent project(s) have you completed? For the past 11 years I have been building a maintenance department from the ground up. It has been both challenging and fun. Luckily, I work for an amazing department that is fully behind me in improving the current fields that we have right now. They also realize that having the proper equipment means everything in keeping our fields in the best shape possible. 

    What’s your favorite/most useful:

    Equipment? Toro 4500 D Mower – I’d be lost without it.

    Product? The right grass seed, the proper fertilizer, and the best field paint.

    Technology? RainBird IQ SYSTEM – water conservation strategy.

    Can you share a bit about your family life and what you enjoy doing in your free time?  When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time with my beautiful wife and young family outside. We like to travel to Maine to see our families and spend time at the beaches as much as we can.

    What advice would you share with people starting out in sports turf management today? The best advice I could give would be work very hard and get dirty.

    What have you enjoyed most/find most beneficial about being a NESTMA member?

    • 5 min
    Turfgrass Council of North Carolina – Better Planning and Execution Through Weather App Adoption

    Turfgrass Council of North Carolina – Better Planning and Execution Through Weather App Adoption

    North Carolina Turfgrass – Brad Jakubowski, Instructor in Agronomy, Center for Turfgrass Science

    Keeping an eye on the weather is something professional turfgrass managers have ingrained into our systems. Can I mow today? We check our phones for the most recent forecast. Should I spray today? We monitor dewpoints, humidity and temperatures. Will I pull the tarp prior to today’s game? We study the weather radar. There is a tremendous amount of weather information out there and nearly all of us have some form of a weather app on our phones or a link to our favorite weather website to help us make day-to-day management decisions. Let’s take a journey, to see what is out there and what information will help us make the best weather-based decisions possible.

    Which app is the best?

    Honestly, there is no one best app so it is important to find an app or a number of apps that provide you the most reliable and quickly available information.

    Basic Information that is important to have available with the least number of clicks would be:



    * High and Low Temperatures (including overnight lows)

    * Dewpoint

    * Relative Humidity

    * Short-Term Weather Forecasts



    Intermediate Information includes:



    * Radar (Base and Composite Reflectivity)

    * Satellite Imagery

    * Severe Weather (especially lightning).



    Advanced Information would be:



    * Echo Tops

    * Vertically Integrated Liquid

    * Digital Storm Accumulation

    * Forecast Discussion



    Basic Information

    When looking for basic information, it is best to have most or all important data on the first screen or within one or two clicks from the first screen. That is often a good way to judge how well your app will benefit you over time. As an example, The National Weather Service includes much of the basic data (Figure 1). At a glance, you can get a good idea of what is happening now and what will happen in the immediate future. High and low temperatures provide a quick mental image of how the day (and night) may influence your maintenance plans, while winds, dewpoint and relative humidity provide a quick insight on irrigation requirements, disease potential, and infield skin management requirements.

    It is beneficial to see both relative humidity and dewpoint together. Viewing only either limits your view of the big picture. For example, a relative humidity of 65% with dewpoints over 70 degrees indicate that less time may be spent watering the infield skin and instead used to scout for diseases. The same relative humidity with dewpoints under 40 may indicate a majority of the day should be dedicated to watering the skin and irrigating.

    Intermediate Information

    When making game-time decisions such as tarp pulls or field evacuations due to severe weather, radar becomes an important tool. There are numerous good weather radar apps available. Many are free, some require an annual fee of $US 10 to 50. Many of the fee-based apps offer expanded functionality, precision and overall quality of information. Regardless of cost, radar app selection should prioritize the type of reflectivity the radar images are based upon. There are two types, Base Reflectivity and Composite Reflectivity. Each time a radar transmitter spins, it sends out a microwave ‘sweep’ at different elevations to get a complete picture of all atmosphere elevations. A Base Reflectivity image represents only a single sweep of the radar transmitter. This means that near the transmitter the radar ‘sees’ low in the storms and as distance increases the beam rises and can overshoot the core of heavier precipitation. Many High-Resolution (Hi-Res) radar images feature only Base Reflectivity sweeps.

    Composite Reflectivity stitches together all elevation scans,

    • 10 min
    Mississippi Turfgrass Association – When Doing Good is Good Business

    Mississippi Turfgrass Association – When Doing Good is Good Business

    Mississippi Turfgrass – Neal Glatt, CSP, ASM

    Almost every organization is facing unprecedented difficulty in recruiting and hiring employees today. Whether the hesitancy to return to work is due to elevated unemployment benefits, lack of vaccination adoption, inconsistent childcare, or family health concerns, the labor problem remains. Quite simply the standard job offering isn’t sufficient to move the needle anymore. Here’s how to change the outcome and do good in the process.

    In an effort to find workers, many entry-level jobs have prominently advertised wages starting at $15/hour. Others have created giant signs touting signing bonuses of $250. Some have proclaimed retirement matching. But none of these are compelling anymore.

    What is compelling is creating an opportunity for people to find the skills they need to literally change their lives for the better. People will sign up for an established program of mentorship that will help them achieve their potential and realize their dreams. Jobs that enable people to thrive will always find willing applicants, and it’s possible to implement in any organization.

    The clothing retailer Old Navy has made a commitment to hire 20,000 underprivileged youth by 2025, representing a full 5% of all new hires. Their program, called This Way ONward, has been in existence since 2007 and is active in 576 cities across the US. Through the program, Old Navy works with community partners like the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to provide youth with job mentoring opportunities. Managers interview youth and are directed to “hire for potential, not credential.” What’s more, youth receive post-hire support through coaching from managers, a job coach, and experienced peers.

    The results? 10-year alumni of the program have found stable employment 72% of the time compared with 55% of their peers. 68% report a significant increase in self-confidence, enabling success in life. And Old Navy hired more than 2,500 youth last year for jobs that may have otherwise been unfilled. Clearly, doing good for the community is good business.

    But can small teams adopt the same approach without huge budgets and years of experience? Absolutely. The first step is to make a commitment to coaching others. Investing an hour per week of time with each person is a prerequisite to successfully mentoring staff. When time and space is given towards coaching conversations without daily work pressures, a real human connection can be established, and people can start to thrive.

    What do coaching conversations sound like? I prefer to start with hopes and dreams. What’s your dream job? What do you want your life to look like? What do you want to provide for your family? What do these look like in six months and one year and five years and ten years? People usually don’t have all the answers upfront and they often change over months and years, but these are the motivations we’ll use to fuel growth.

    Next, I try to collaboratively build individualized action steps which consider the person’s unique talents, benefit on-the-job outcomes, and lead toward realization of their goals. For this step I use specialized assessments to provide self-awareness and idea generation. As a result, the coaching is always relevant, well-received, and applicable.

    Finally, we shift to driving accountability by setting short-term commitments and ensuring that success is realized. When obstacles arise, I guide mentees through self-reflection to overcome them in the future. This is where skill training tends to enter, either directly or through third-party resources. When priorities change, we rework the process.

    It can be an awkward process to start, but as one of my direct reports recently told me,

    • 7 min
    Maryland Turfgrass Council – When Doing Good is Good Business

    Maryland Turfgrass Council – When Doing Good is Good Business

    MTC Turf News – Neal Glatt, CSP, ASM

    Almost every organization is facing unprecedented difficulty in recruiting and hiring employees today. Whether the hesitancy to return to work is due to elevated unemployment benefits, lack of vaccination adoption, inconsistent childcare, or family health concerns, the labor problem remains. Quite simply the standard job offering isn’t sufficient to move the needle anymore. Here’s how to change the outcome and do good in the process.

    In an effort to find workers, many entry-level jobs have prominently advertised wages starting at $15/hour. Others have created giant signs touting signing bonuses of $250. Some have proclaimed retirement matching. But none of these are compelling anymore.

    What is compelling is creating an opportunity for people to find the skills they need to literally change their lives for the better. People will sign up for an established program of mentorship that will help them achieve their potential and realize their dreams. Jobs that enable people to thrive will always find willing applicants, and it’s possible to implement in any organization.

    The clothing retailer Old Navy has made a commitment to hire 20,000 underprivileged youth by 2025, representing a full 5% of all new hires. Their program, called This Way ONward, has been in existence since 2007 and is active in 576 cities across the US. Through the program, Old Navy works with community partners like the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to provide youth with job mentoring opportunities. Managers interview youth and are directed to “hire for potential, not credential.” What’s more, youth receive post-hire support through coaching from managers, a job coach, and experienced peers.

    The results? 10-year alumni of the program have found stable employment 72% of the time compared with 55% of their peers. 68% report a significant increase in self-confidence, enabling success in life. And Old Navy hired more than 2,500 youth last year for jobs that may have otherwise been unfilled. Clearly, doing good for the community is good business.

    But can small teams adopt the same approach without huge budgets and years of experience? Absolutely. The first step is to make a commitment to coaching others. Investing an hour per week of time with each person is a prerequisite to successfully mentoring staff. When time and space is given towards coaching conversations without daily work pressures, a real human connection can be established, and people can start to thrive.

    What do coaching conversations sound like? I prefer to start with hopes and dreams. What’s your dream job? What do you want your life to look like? What do you want to provide for your family? What do these look like in six months and one year and five years and ten years? People usually don’t have all the answers upfront and they often change over months and years, but these are the motivations we’ll use to fuel growth.

    Next, I try to collaboratively build individualized action steps which consider the person’s unique talents, benefit on-the-job outcomes, and lead toward realization of their goals. For this step I use specialized assessments to provide self-awareness and idea generation. As a result, the coaching is always relevant, well-received, and applicable.

    Finally, we shift to driving accountability by setting short-term commitments and ensuring that success is realized. When obstacles arise, I guide mentees through self-reflection to overcome them in the future. This is where skill training tends to enter, either directly or through third-party resources. When priorities change, we rework the process.

    It can be an awkward process to start, but as one of my direct reports recently told me, “Our coaching conversations are by far my favorite pa...

    • 7 min
    Arkansas Turfgrass Association – Better Planning and Execution Through Weather App Adoption

    Arkansas Turfgrass Association – Better Planning and Execution Through Weather App Adoption

    Arkansas Turfgrass – Brad Jakubowski, Instructor in Agronomy, Center for Turfgrass Science

    Keeping an eye on the weather is something professional turfgrass managers have ingrained into our systems. Can I mow today? We check our phones for the most recent forecast. Should I spray today? We monitor dewpoints, humidity and temperatures. Will I pull the tarp prior to today’s game? We study the weather radar. There is a tremendous amount of weather information out there and nearly all of us have some form of a weather app on our phones or a link to our favorite weather website to help us make day-to-day management decisions. Let’s take a journey, to see what is out there and what information will help us make the best weather-based decisions possible.

    Which app is the best?

    Honestly, there is no one best app so it is important to find an app or a number of apps that provide you the most reliable and quickly available information.

    Basic Information that is important to have available with the least number of clicks would be:



    * High and Low Temperatures (including overnight lows)

    * Dewpoint

    * Relative Humidity

    * Short-Term Weather Forecasts



    Intermediate Information includes:



    * Radar (Base and Composite Reflectivity)

    * Satellite Imagery

    * Severe Weather (especially lightning).



    Advanced Information would be:



    * Echo Tops

    * Vertically Integrated Liquid

    * Digital Storm Accumulation

    * Forecast Discussion



    Basic Information

    When looking for basic information, it is best to have most or all of the important data on the first screen or within one or two clicks from the first screen. That is often a good way to judge how well your app will benefit you over time. As an example, The National Weather Service includes much of the basic data (Figure 1). At a glance, you can get a good idea of what is happening now and what will happen in the immediate future. High and low temperatures provide a quick mental image of how the day (and night) may influence your maintenance plans, while winds, dewpoint and relative humidity provide a quick insight on irrigation requirements, disease potential, and infield skin management requirements.

    It is beneficial to see both relative humidity and dewpoint together. Viewing only either limits your view of the big picture. For example, a relative humidity of 65% with dewpoints over 70 degrees indicate that less time may be spent watering the infield skin and instead used to scout for diseases. The same relative humidity with dewpoints under 40 may indicate a majority of the day should be dedicated to watering the skin and irrigating.

    Intermediate Information

    When making game-time decisions such as tarp pulls or field evacuations due to severe weather, radar becomes an important tool. There are numerous good weather radar apps available. Many are free, some require an annual fee of $US 10 to 50. Many of the fee-based apps offer expanded functionality, precision and overall quality of information. Regardless of cost, radar app selection should prioritize the type of reflectivity the radar images are based upon. There are two types, Base Reflectivity and Composite Reflectivity. Each time a radar transmitter spins, it sends out a microwave ‘sweep’ at different elevations to get a complete picture of all atmosphere elevations. A Base Reflectivity image represents only a single sweep of the radar transmitter. This means that near the transmitter the radar ‘sees’ low in the storms and as distance increases the beam rises and can overshoot the core of heavier precipitation.

    • 10 min

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