By: John Mascaro

Volume 7 Number 1 - March 2001

In this issue:

  1. No more turf segregation here.
  2. A Super Bowl tour.
  3. Don't look now but your grass is upside down!
  4. GCSAA Show in Dallas.
  5. Sports Turf Manager or what?
  6. Looking back.
  7. Contributions to this publication.
  8. Privacy policies.

No more turf segregation here.

One of the hardest things in life to do is to admit is that you were wrong. Well I have a confession to make. I have been practicing turf segregation. I have been writing a Turf-Tec Digest for Golf Course Superintendents and a separate one for Sports Turf Managers. So in the essence of promoting turfgrass harmony (and also allowing the Golf Course people to see what is interesting to Sports Turf Managers and vice-a-versa) I have decided to combine both newsletters into one.

I feel that by setting a good example, I can help cross the invisible barriers that exist between one group of turf growers and another. Perhaps, we can even allow an exchange of players between the two groups. One day, I would love to see a 325 pound tackle pushing another player backward across a golf green as their cleats tear at the ground. I can also envision a day that a Sports Turf Manager can know the pleasure of seeing his newly mowed infield, receive the daily punishment of ball marks and spike marks from 250 golfers wondering around aimlessly across the infield in search of their ball.

Perhaps there is some common ground here (excuse the pun). We could hold the largest divot contest to see whether a football player or a golfer could tear out more grass with one fell swoop. Or we could hold a closest to the goal mouth competition where a golfer could tee up a ball from the 50 yard line and see if they could drive it between the uprights.

Please notify me if you have any other thoughts regarding this new anti segregation policy. My door is always open, unless you are with one of those "other" turfgrass groups.

A Super Bowl tour.

I had the pleasure of going to the Sports Turf Managers Association's 12th Annual Conference on January 17th - 21st. The show was held in Tampa, Florida which also was the home of the thirty-fifth Super Bowl. While there I was able to go on the tour to see the training camp for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the training fields at the University of South Florida. The highlight was the tour of Roger Dean Stadium, where Super Bowl 35 was played.

Roger Dean Stadium Super Bowl XXXV, Tampa Florida. 2001.

The group was addressed by George Toma and he did a fine job explaining about the renovation of the field. The old field was removed and new grass was installed. The surface that everyone saw on television was actually GN1 (Greg Norman #1) bermudagrass that had been specially grown just for this occasion. The rolled sod consists of "stabilized athletic turf" provided by the Motz group. This stabilized turf consists of biodegradable plastic mesh backing and loosely woven nylon fibers. These fibers are then covered with 2-3 inches of sand and then sprigged into and allowed to grow off site. About a month before the Super Bowl, the sod was harvested and brought in large rolls and unrolled. Topdressing and rolling ensues as well as a very healthy dose of ryegrass overseeding (35 pounds per 1000 square feet broken into two applications). Then two weeks before game time, the field is striped and logo's painted. In fact it is painted about five more times before kickoff to allow all the photo opportunities that are required.

Sports Turf Managers Tour Super Bowl XXXV, Tampa Florida

To top the whole thing off, Tampa received a couple good nights with temperatures below 32 degrees. All in all, the game came off without a hitch (as far as the turf goes). Well what is in store next for this ultra special turfgrass? In fact the turf was removed and they had a tractor pull in the stadium two weeks following the Super Bowl. Anyone want to buy some slightly used grass?

Don't look now but your grass is upside down!

There have been many things that have come along to aid the superintendent and sports turf manager through the years. In my opinion, many people are still missing the most obvious fact that their grass is upside down. Now I do not mean for everyone to go out there and take a sod cutter and remove their grass and turn it over, but I am saying that you people are looking at the wrong side too much.

If grass were a person, the part that eats, drinks and breathes is actually underground. The green part doses help the plant to transform the water and nutrients into food for the plant, and also aids in some forms of respiration, however, the food, water and nutrients have to get into the plant first.

Turf-Tec Moisture Sensor - Read out in percentages. Set the Moisture Sensor at the turf root depth and be sure the readings are between 40% and 25% before you water. This is the only way to have healthy grass roots.

Lets all do a test, first get a shovel and dig a hole about one foot deep in the ground and put your head underground, go ahead I will waitÖ OK now put dirt on top of your head and stomp it down tightly so no air space is left. It is kind of hard to breathe, right? Now, water the ground thoroughly around your nose and mouth and donít let it dry out. Now, how hard is it to breathe? OK, you get my point. The roots on your precious grass plants are being suffocated by lack of air exchange and the small amount of pore space that is available is usually filled with water. This is why the Moisture Sensor is one of my most popular diagnostic tools. You see, the Moisture Sensor tells the amount of water that is in the air space in the soil. If the reading is 50%, there is 1/2 air and 1/2 water. If the reading is 100%, well donít make me bury your head again to prove my point!

So, take a soil sample, look where the roots are. Next, set the Moisture Sensor at the root depth and be sure the readings are between 40% and 25% before you water. This is the only way to have healthy grass roots. And remember, if the roots are healthy, the green stuff on top will look pretty good too!

GCSAA Show in Dallas.

The Golf Course Superintendents Show February 15th - 17th in Dallas was a great success. I had a booth there and I wanted to thank all my friends that stopped by the booth and told me how well the diagnostic tools were doing for them. It was also good to meet so many new people as well. As for the weather, well lets just say I still have some of that good Texas clay on my shoes that will not wash off. I am thinking of trying to replicate it in a lab and sell it as a replacement for super glue.

I also want to apologize to some people that I saw from a distance while I was in the booth talking with other people. I wish I had a little more time to actually talk with everyone I saw. Perhaps if we didn't get to talk, you can remind me next year and we can go to a local Orlando watering hole and catch up.

If you were not able to go to Dallas, please see the bottom of this newsletter for information on getting a new 2001 catalog. I have added several new products for 2001 and I will be mentioning them in future newsletters.

Sports Turf Manager or what?

I have to pass these words of wisdom to you. The Golf Course Superintendents Association has spent lots of money and time promoting the name "Golf Course Superintendent". You can go to any golf course in the country and ask for the Golf Course Superintendent and they know who you are talking about.

Likewise, the Sports Turf Managers Association is also dedication much time and money to promote the name Sports Turf Manager. However all you Sports Turf Managers still have different titles. I understand that municipalities get kind of crazy about titles and it seems that the more letters in your title, the more money you make, however, if this profession doesn't get unified, the Sports Turf Manager will be lost in the shuffle.

With a common name, comes recognition, with recognition, comes salary increases. I challenge everyone, go to your office supply store, plunk down $6.22 for a sign to hang on your door that says: "Mark Clay, Sports Turf Manager". Also, the next time business cards are printed, add the line under your official city title of "Sports Turf Manager". This will not cost any money at all but it will gain you the recognition you deserve. It also adds 17 new letters to your official title for the accountants to observe.

Looking back.

The January 1965 Golf Course Reporter touts the 36th International Turf-Grass Conference and Show in Cleveland, Ohio. It boasted over 100 exhibitors and 33,000 square feet of display space. Attendance was estimated at over 2,750 people and was held in the Sheraton Hotel. In contrast, this year's 72nd show featured over 700 exhibitors and over 277,000 square feet of display space. The 2001 show estimated its attendance at over 20,000 people.

The GCSAA Historical preservation department put on a great group of displays in several different areas of the convention center to promote its 75th anniversary. I think my favorite two displays were the one that had the West Point Aerifier on display from the Mascaro Steiniger Museum in Penn State as well as other vintage turfgrass equipment. My other favorite display was the one featuring the photo quiz's from Golf Course Management magazine. It was great to see some of those old photographs again and remember hearing my father telling the stories behind them. He was truly a one of a kind!

I am already looking forward to the 2002 show in Orlando.

Contributions to this publication.

I also want to invite all of you recipients of this newsletter that if you wish to contribute any information that you find interesting or exciting, please send it to me and I will include it along with crediting it's source.

Also, if you know another Golf Course Superintendent or Sports Turf Manager that would like to receive the Turf-Tec Digest, have them forward their email address along to me. In addition, I get most of my new product ideas from Golf Course Superintendents and Sports Turf Managers who see a need in the industry that has not been filled. Be sure to look at the new product section on my web site for new additions. http://www.turf-tec.com/Map.html

Privacy policies.

If you received this newsletter directly from john@turf-tec.com, donít worry. I personally acquired your name by researching each golf course and sports facility individually. In addition Turf-Tec does not buy, sell, trade or share their mailing list to anyone. We also have taken security measures to insure that your name will not be passed along to other people. If, however you still do not want to receive this newsletter, simply respond to this email with the words "remove" in the subject line and your name will be permanently deleted from our list.

If you have not received your new free 2001 Turf-Tec Catalog call us toll free (800) 258-7477 or email me at john@turf-tec.com or fill out the online form at http://www.turf-tec.com/form.html

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