A look at what's inside...
Byner talks team building and perseverance
Wisdom from the researchers
2016 OTF scholarship recipients
Sod installation in "The Shoe"
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE OHIO TURFGRASS FOUNDATION | WINTER 2016-2017
3958 NORTH HAMPTON DRIVE
POWELL, OHIO 43065
OUTGOING PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
FROM THE DESK OF THE DIRECTOR
SCORE ONE FOR BUILDING A TEAM
SHARING WHAT'S WORKED FOR THEM
FIELD MANAGEMENT AND THE ENVIRONMENT
MOWING AT HIS OFFICE AGAIN
FROM THE RESEARCHERS
CELEBRATING AMONGST FRIENDS
OHIO GREEN INDUSTRY ADVOCACY DAY 2017
in this edition
Fry Straka Global Golf Course Design
Moraine Country Club
DR. JOHN STREET Ohio State University
Director of Education
OHIO TURFGRASS FOUNDATION
Columbus Parks & Rec.
Imm. Past President
Toledo Country Club
Grasshopper Property Maint.
Green Velvet Sod Farms
Outgoing PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
Volunteers are the key to the Ohio Turfgrass Foundations success. The board and several other volunteers recently spent time reviewing the focus of our association. Four areas of focus have been identified from the planning session. Sub committees are being formed to focus on membership, advocacy, education and the trade show. In the near future you may be contacted to volunteer for one of these committees. Please consider serving if you are called upon, or if you have a passion for one of the four areas, contact a board member so we can get you on board.
As I transition into my new role as past president, I want to thank Ryan Gregoire for his many years of service and dedication to OTF. Ryan and his wife Kelly, went above their call of duty to help OTF get back on track a few short years ago. Their continued support of OTF is something we all should strive to emulate.
Change is inevitable on the board since terms expire and we move thru the ranks of the executive committee. Jeff Bisker has decided not to continue on with another term. Thanks Jeff for your service. You will be missed.
We have a few new faces that I would like to welcome to the board that include Ryan DeMay from the City of Columbus, Chad Kellogg from Grasshopper Property Maintenance and Jason Mahl from Moraine Country Club. These gentlemen will bring plenty of fresh new ideas to the table that will help continue the advancement of our mission.
I would also like to thank Brian Laurent, Laurel Naegele and Cindy Vaughn for their support. These individuals work tirelessly behind the scenes to make the board members look good. Thanks so much for organizing everything, preparing for our events and reminding us when and where we are supposed to be.
I wish everyone a great 2017 and pass the presidency to Jason Straka with full confidence that OTF with thrive under his direction.
OTF Immediate Past President
Brian J Laurent
OTF Executive Director
FROM THE DESK OF THE DIRECTOR
After a whirl-wind of a winter that included participation in ONLA's MGIX, the national Sports Turf Managers Association conference and show, the Golf Industry Show, a long-range planning session, the Sports Field Short Course and Golf Turf Spring Tee Off and finally, a visit to GCSAA headquarters in Lawrence, Kansas to present and participate in their Chapter Leaders & Executives Symposium...I'm finally able to look back and reflect on the year that was and look forward to this year and those beyond.
Some of 2016's accomplishments include a few meaningful items...
Early in the year, the board approved the first payment towards a loan received from the Ohio Turfgrass Research Trust (OTRT). Long before myself and many current board members were involved with the organization, OTF asked for and received a loan from OTRT to assist with operational expenses. We're pleased to begin paying off this debt!
Speaking of OTRT, this 501c3 charitable arm of OTF realized significant growth in 2017! Thanks to a few very generous donors (see page 22), the fund has grown to nearly $300,000 which will eventually be used to help fund the research, education and scholarship interests of our members in perpetuity.
At the end of our fiscal year, the board and a group of members engaged in the first strategic and long-range planning meeting in nearly a decade. During this day and a half session, we were able to prioritize a few key goals and objectives which will serve as a road map for our organization. The group identified the following priorities:
Conference & Show; continue to enhance the value of this event and make it the can't miss gathering for turf professionals in Ohio and beyond
Education; enhance our educational offerings and lean toward a 50/50 split of information provided by university personnel and industry practitioners
Increase awareness of careers in turf
Shape the public perception of the industry
Strengthen relationships with policy makers
Membership; through continued growth comes added value for our members and as an industry
As we work through the budget process and discuss appropriate use of our resources, these priorities will guide our allocation of time and money.
Finally, I'd like to thank our immediate past president, Tim Glorioso, for his many years of dedicated service to not only OTF, but to the industry as a whole. Few individuals have volunteered as much time and energy as Tim has to their local and state associations.
As a result of Tim's time and effort, these organizations are better now than they were when he started, which is all you can ask as a leader! Thank you, Tim.
Wishing you all the best for a successful 2017!
I am honored and humbled to accept the presidential reigns from Mr. Tim Glorioso, Golf Course Superintendent of the Toledo Country Club.
I’d like to thank Tim for his many years of service to the turf and golf industry. His leadership helped continue to build OTF back up to a position of financial strength and industry relevance after the recent economic downturn. He is a true gentleman and professional, and it has been a pleasure to serve with him. Kindly thank him for his leadership and dedication when you have the opportunity, for it is men and women volunteers like him who make our organization great.
I am looking forward to building on the foundation that Tim, our board, and OTF Executive Director, Brian Laurent have recently laid. Last month, the OTF Board, staff and several key members participated in a strategic planning retreat at the Mohican Conference Center. The retreat was key in forming and prioritizing goals to help better serve you, our members.
Based on that retreat and the work undertaken over the past few years, we have developed several new and exciting initiatives, including launching our own best management practices program. Termed B.E.S.T., which is short for Buckeyes for Environmentally Sustainable Turf, the program is being geared toward certifying individual properties and turfgrass managers alike. Look for more information about B.E.S.T. in the coming months ahead, with a launch in late 2017.
We are also in the midst of reinventing OTF/OSU Field Day, expanding our Spring Tee Off, engaging new Ohio State ATI professors Drs. Zane Raudenbush and Ed Nangle, as well as growing our educational offerings at our annual conference and show, via digital media and at regional events throughout the state.
There will be many more opportunities throughout the year for you to participate and grow with, give back to, and benefit from an energized Ohio Turfgrass Foundation. We look forward to having you and creating a successful year to remember.
Please be sure to reach out to me with any questions, ideas or concerns. I welcome your feedback and look forward to hearing from you. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jason A. Straka
Ohio Turfgrass Foundation
A former professional athlete remembered for one of the most deflating plays in Northeast Ohio sports history delivered a message that resonated with industry professionals throughout the state at the 50th annual Ohio Turfgrass Foundation Conference & Show in Columbus.
Earnest Byner, a running back who spent seven of his 14 NFL seasons with the Cleveland Browns, served as the keynote speaker presented by Syngenta. Byner alluded to the most noteworthy play of his career, a fumble on the 3-yard line in the waning stages of the 1987 AFC Championship game against the Denver Broncos, twice during his speech, once with an opening photograph and again in his closing thoughts.
“Everybody fumbles,” he said before leaving the stage. “Everybody can heal. Everybody can grow. Everybody can teach.”
A large part of Byner’s healing and teaching process involves speaking and interacting with groups such as OTF members. Instead of recapping the dynamics of the fumble, Byner used the bulk of his presentation to impart team-building lessons. His speech proved easily relatable because of the challenges industry professionals are facing identifying and retaining reliable employees.
Giving a presentation in Ohio meant numerous Browns references, and the combination of mentoring from older players and internal competition helped the franchise establish itself as a postseason regular during Byner’s first stint with the organization from 1984-88. The franchise sustained success because older players such as Mike Pruitt and Gary Danielson worked with younger players competing for the same jobs such as Byner and Bernie Kosar. The situation is akin to golf course superintendents empowering talented assistant superintendents to elevate a facility rather than viewing industry newcomers as threats.
Even similar-aged Browns engaged in fierce competition. Byner and fellow running back Kevin Mack both eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards in 1985, and Frank Minnifield and Hanford Dixon developed into of one football’s best cornerback tandems. Imagine the productivity increases if turf leaders can nudge employees to respectfully compete amongst themselves on a regular basis.
“Find yourself a competitor, even if that competition is from within,” Byner said. “Find something that can drive you, challenge you, motivate you to take you to the next level.”
Some of Byner’s vivid Cleveland memories stem from practices against a defensive front that included stalwarts such as Eddie Johnson, Chip Banks and Clay Matthews. To earn bragging rights against the unit, and more importantly improve as a professional, Byner regularly devised ways to enhance his skillset. Attendees erupted into laughter when Byner described how he used strolls through a Northeast Ohio mall as opportunities to practice evading tacklers. Perhaps an attendee or two in the crowd has tried something similar with mowing patterns.
Johnson died of colon cancer in 2003, and Byner became solemn when discussing the gritty linebacker. Although he never met Darian Daily, the Cincinnati Bengals head groundskeeper and ardent OTF supporter who died unexpectedly this past August, Byner said the stories he heard from Daily’s colleagues sparked memories of Johnson.
“Darian Daily … sounds like he was a hell of a guy,” Byner said. “Like Eddie, gone too soon. Magnificent job of passing on the wealth of information that he accrued. Most people don’t want to do that. Most people want to hoard it, keep it for themselves. He was a good man. We’re blessed to have good men like Eddie Johnson and Darian Daily that have blessed our lives. You should use the information, use the energy that they shared with us.”
Personal bonds contributed to the Browns’ on-field success, with players cooking gumbo together, gathering at TGI Fridays after Thursday’s hard practices and meeting for dinner following victories. As convenient as it might be to head in opposite directions following work, Byner described why teams in the turf industry can benefit from spending more time together. “Part of that team mentality is growing to love each other,” he said.
Based on his conversations with OTF leaders and show attendees, Byner, a Tennessee resident and avid golfer, left Columbus with an optimistic snapshot of Ohio’s turf industry. “I hear there are a lot of good things going on in the industry, a lot of new products, a lot of new things are happening,” he said. “To me, that’s exciting.”
Leaders from all segments of the industry greeted Byner throughout the opening hours of the tradeshow, some inevitably telling Byner how they were in Denver’s Mile High Stadium on Jan. 17, 1988. The most enduring image of Byner’s career is a photo of him dropping to his left knee on the goal line as teammates chased the ball behind him. By building strong connections with teammates, Byner flourished following the fumble, playing 10 more NFL seasons and winning a Super Bowl with the 1992 Washington Redskins.
Everybody who attended the keynote address has experienced an awful day at work. Hearing how Byner handled his worst professional moment made everybody in the room stronger.
Score one for
building a team
worked for them
Sharon Golf Club’s Frank Dobie, Double Eagle Club’s Todd Voss and Oakland Hills Country Club’s Steve Cook shared proven lessons from more than 120 years of combined industry experience in a memorable joint presentation at the 50th annual Ohio Turfgrass Foundation Conference & Show.
Speaking to a room filled with turf managers seeking similar longevity, their presentation, “Tried and True – Lessons Learned Through Experience,” represented an example of the engaging peer-to-peer learning and dialogue established in Columbus. Dobie and Voss, the general manager and COO, respectively, at a pair of highly regarded Ohio clubs, and Cook, the director of agronomy at a suburban Detroit gem that has hosted 11 USGA championships, including the 2016 U.S. Amateur, addressed the human elements of the business.
Dobie’s tenure at Sharon has exceeded 50 years, a spectacular achievement when considering the politics involved in club management. He attributes a large part of his longevity to effective communication, which he said remains “as important of a tool today” as when he started at the Northeast Ohio club.
Dobie’s “Tried and True” approach toward effective communication includes six steps:
1. Concise monthly newsletters;
2. Weekly senior staff meetings;
3. Roundtables with other superintendents;
4. Lunch with members;
5. Taking golf lessons from Sharon’s pro;
6. Playing golf with members.
The six steps lead to a common purpose. “The first line of attack is to make sure (members) have the facts,” he said.
Voss, like Dobie, is a longtime agronomist holding a position offering an all-encompassing view of his club. Being elevated to Double Eagle’s COO provides “a whole new perspective” on golf’s role at a club, and Voss has become more lenient when making turf-related decisions such as allowing carts on the course on soggy days.
“Is the damage really that bad?” he said. “I look at things a little bit differently than I used to. Now I look at it like, I’m going to lose dinner revenue, drink revenue, possible overnight revenue” if carts aren’t allowed on the course.
Voss emphasized politics “make changes in this career.” Personal adaptations acquired through experience have allowed Voss to wade through precarious situations. “Pick and choose your battles,” he said. “My experience tells me some politics aren’t worth fighting. We get so passionate about growing grass and it’s so precious. It’s like a commodity. We can’t waste it, we can’t hurt it. Most of us are maintaining somebody else’s property with somebody else’s dollar. Yes, we want the best for that. With the experience, I have learned, why fight it? Sometimes it’s easier to say, ‘OK.’”
Cook’s extensive experience has allowed him to develop a holistic approach to managing turf and, more importantly, people. Younger members of his staff use soil moisture meters to determine turf conditions, but Cook told attendees a balance must exist between the science and art of golf course maintenance. “I can’t feel or smell that soil moisture meter,” he said. “I can walk on our greens and tell you what the moisture content is in them. Getting that feel is important.”
To keep employees fresh for the rigorous work of maintaining championship turf, Cook promotes developing outside interests. For Cook, this involves mountain climbing, a passion he took to an extreme last year when he scaled a 22,000-foot peak in the Himalayas. He said employees return to work “fresher” when given opportunities to pursue outside interests. Community service – even during Oakland Hills’ busy season – is another staple of Cook’s management and morale-boosting program. “When guys come back from summer community service, they are so much more motivated,” he said.
After revealing their “Tried and True” lessons, the trio fielded questions and the discussion quickly shifted to motivating more young people to pursue careers in the industry. Despite the reputations of their clubs and mentoring programs, Voss, Dobie and Cook have recently encountered struggles attracting interns because of decreasing enrollments in turfgrass science programs.
Superintendents fortunate enough to secure an intern must provide individual attention to create a meaningful experience for the student, according to Voss and Dobie. Voss, for example, meets with interns each Wednesday to discuss “whatever they want to talk about.”
Cook received a pair of interns in 2016 because of the U.S. Amateur, but he considered their presence an anomaly. “We basically don’t get any,” he said. Cook, though, has developed an alternative method for luring young workers to Oakland Hills.
“We are trying to get 18-, 19-, 20-year old kids who are kind of searching for something and might not know what they want to do,” Cook said. “We try to get them for six months or so and then help them get into a turf program through a scholarship at the club or through paying for part of their schooling. We maybe keep them for two or three years.
“The advantage to that is that maybe we get a kid who doesn’t know anything and we can train them. Maybe by the third summer they can get a spray license and maybe we can get them to Michigan State’s two-year program or Penn State’s two-year program or Ohio State’s two-year program, whatever that might be. We have found pretty good success with that the last three years. We have had two people like that every year who fill a six-month role for us, which is much better than a 90-day role.”
Heads nodded as Cook described his way of handling a major challenge facing the industry. Perhaps he’s in the early stages of adding to the “Tried and True” list.
Field Management and
Written by David Gardner, Ph. D., The Ohio State University
Portions of this article originally published in Sportsfield Management Magazine http://www.sportsfieldmanagementmagazine.com/
Field managers have the difficult job of maintaining uniform, dense and aesthetically pleasing stands of turfgrass under conditions of very intense traffic. During the process of managing an athletic field, the application of fertilizers is essential in order to improve the growth and performance of the turfgrass. In addition, while we may not necessarily wish to do so, it is often necessary to apply pesticides in order to control weeds, insects, or diseases that may infest athletic fields. In sports turf the issue of having uniform, vigorous and well maintained turf goes beyond just the aesthetics. It’s also a safety issue. So while we may not wish to apply pesticides (they do, after all, cost money) they are often necessary tools that we use in our efforts to achieve the goal of an attractive, uniform and safe playing surface.
Pesticides, by definition, are products that are designed to “control” something (a weed, an insect, or a disease). Because of this, the use of pesticides is controversial. There is concern that pesticides may have effects that are caused by either acute or chronic exposure that may result in health problems.
These concerns range from the short term effects of exposure including dizziness and headaches to long term effects such as potential carcinogenicity. In some parts of the country, the application of pesticides may be restricted or banned, either on school property or in some cases to any amenity turf within a jurisdiction.
Given the concerns over the application of pesticides and potential consequences to users and to the environment, it should be the goal of every athletic turf manager to apply pesticides responsibly, only when needed and in a manner that minimizes the risk of potential harm to end users and the environment. The focus of this article is on the environmental fate of pesticides after application and management strategies that can minimize the risks of off target movement.
What Happens to Pesticides Applied to Turfgrass?
In an ideal world, after application a pesticide would go just to its intended target or be taken up by the plant, do its job and then dissipate or break down into harmless materials.
In reality, there are several competing processes that affect the fate of a pesticide. Above the soil surface pesticides may be degraded by sunlight (a process known as photo-decomposition), be transported from the target site in flowing surface water (runoff), volatilize and be lost to the atmosphere or be carried away by the wind (via drift). In the soil there may be chemical reactions that decompose the pesticide, or it may bind to soil particles and organic matter, or it might leach and potentially contaminate groundwater. When bound to soil particles pesticides can be degraded by soil microbes. The importance of each of these fate processes is complicated and depends on the chemistry of the pesticide and its interaction with environmental conditions at or after application, including temperature, soil water content and soil type.
For a majority of our pesticides, the most important processes that govern fate are sorption of the pesticide on to soil particles followed by microbial degradation. However, leaching and runoff are potentially significant avenues of loss.
The potential for leaching losses depends on the interaction between the pesticide applied and the soil type. Leaching and runoff losses are potentially higher when you use water soluble pesticides. On the other hand, preemergence herbicides (as an example) tend to be water insoluble compounds thus significant leaching is unlikely to occur. Soil type also has an effect. Sandy soils will allow more rapid vertical flow of water thus making leaching potential higher compared to a clay soil.
When a particular pesticide has chemical properties suggesting a leaching hazard there is a section on the label (environmental hazards) that will talk about the risks and management practices to be used or areas to avoid with the product.
Many of the pesticides that we use in turf have low leaching potential. In fact, with some of the insecticides to control grubs, it can be a challenge to get the pesticide past the thatch and into the soil. Instead of leaching, most pesticides applied to turf tend to adsorb to soil particles or organic matter associated with the soil or thatch.
The extent of binding to the soil particles depends on, among other things, the chemical properties of the pesticide. Glyphosate, for example binds very tightly to soil and is very unlikely to leach or runoff. When this adsorption occurs the pesticide is then broken down by soil microbes (Figure 1).
The pesticide is bound to the soil and there are microbes that move in the film of water surrounding the soil particle. When they come into contact with the pesticide they degrade it. This microbial degradation is initially fairly quick, but then as the concentration of pesticide goes down it takes longer for the microbes to come into contact with the remaining pesticide, which is why the degradation curve flattens out with time.
The rate at which the pesticide is broken down is referred to as the half-life, and this is a measure of the pesticide persistence. Half-life of a pesticide varies considerably depending on product applied, temperature, soil moisture, and prior pesticide usage.
The longer a product persists the more likely it is to move off site to cause environmental contamination. Volatilization does occur but most pesticides are not lost this way.
An easy way to avoid volatilization losses is not to apply pesticides that are known to be volatile (for example, some ester forms of broadleaf herbicides) during hot and/or dry weather.
Drift occurs when wind carries the application of the pesticide away from its intended target. Of course, an easy way to avoid drift is to not spray when it is windy. You can also adjust spray pressure or change nozzles in a way that makes the spray droplets larger and thus less likely to be carried away by wind.
While not an avenue of environmental fate, this is something that can happen to pesticides and one that causes controversy for the turfgrass industry.
We know that most pesticides bind tightly to soil and/or organic matter and under conditions found when, for example, playing golf, that the potential for the pesticide to come back off of the treated surface (dislodge) and contaminate socks or clothing is low. However, some pesticide can dislodge from the treated surface and in sports where there is considerable contact with the turf surface, such as football or soccer, there is an enhanced chance of this occurring (Figure 2).
The amount of pesticide that dislodges is low, so the concern is not for effects from acute toxicity but rather long term effects such as potential for increased risk of certain cancers. Assessing risk due to chronic exposure, where an organism is exposed to very small amounts of a particular substance over the course of a very long period of time is very difficult to do.
Some of the pesticides we use have been implicated as being carcinogenic and when this happens, the label either changes or the product is removed from the market. However, there are pesticides registered for turf that have been implicated as potentially causing chronic health concerns. An example is 2,4-D. In some locations the use of this pesticide is banned by local ordinance. While some studies have implicated 2,4-D, the overall results are inconclusive, which is why the product remains registered.
The important thing to remember, with any pesticide, is to carefully follow the label in order to minimize the risk of exposure to the end user of the turf. In most states you are allowed to use a treated surface once the pesticide has dried.
Current research in the area of dislodgeable residues on athletic turf suggests that the most significant risk of exposure occurs within 7 days following application of the pesticide. However, this is going to vary depending on numerous factors (product choice, weather after application, etc) and some products will persist and present a potential hazard for a longer period.
Using this as a guideline, an easy way to minimize the risk of exposure due to dislodgeable residues is to either 1) not use or minimize pesticide use during the season of play or 2) when they must be used, schedule the application in such a way as to maximize the amount of time before the field is used again.
Another step to take, as long as it does not decrease the effectiveness of the pesticide, is to water it in immediately after application.
Preventing Unwanted Environmental Contamination with Pesticides
Factors then that contribute to the potential to cause unwanted environmental contamination include the product used, the soil type, characteristics of the site and management practices (Table 1).
If a pesticide is highly water soluble, does not bind tightly to soil, or is persistent then it is more likely to move from its intended site to cause contamination. If the pesticide is applied to sandy soil or soil that is low in organic matter then the chances of leaching increase compared to application of the same product to a clay soil or one high in organic matter.
If the site of application has a shallow water table or is near surface water, this increases the chances of contamination. Also, if certain pesticides are applied to sloping land then this increases the chances of runoff losses.
Finally, management decisions can affect pesticide fate. If a pesticide is misapplied, over-applied, or not timed correctly then the chances of unwanted contamination can increase.
Many studies were funded at universities throughout the 1980’s to the early 2000’s. Most of these studies showed that leaching losses in turf were fairly minimal. However, studies did identify that runoff losses could, in some cases, be significant.
However, researchers have also found that management practices that improved infiltration rates could reduce the chances of runoff loss of pesticides and fertilizers. Specifically, they found that practices such as core cultivation and vertical mowing could drastically reduce the amount of pesticide recovered from runoff water.
Thus, in order to increase the chances that the pesticide is not going to cause unwanted environmental contamination due to runoff, you should promote practices that increase infiltration rates on the surface.
The organic matter associated with turfgrass thatch and soil can then do a significant job of binding and microbes can then break down the pesticides. You also should follow the label exactly, including paying attention to the section on environmental hazards, which will alert you to any potential problems that the product could cause.
You can also do your part to reduce the use of or avoid products that have chemical or physical properties that make them more likely cause unwanted contamination. Remember to avoid application of pesticides near slopes (on parts of the property surrounding the fields), particularly if the infiltration rate is low and the pesticide is highly water soluble. Also, avoid application where the water table is shallow.
In summary, the objective of any pesticide application should be to improve the playability or aesthetics of the turf surface. Most data that has been collected form university pesticide fate studies support the responsible use of pesticides.
Some data and results have called for changes in certain products or with management practices and in many cases these have been addressed.
It is important to use pesticides appropriately and in a manner that minimizes their risk of use (Table 1).
Really, the challenge for the sports turf industry and the green industry in general is to continue to make the case for the responsible usage of pesticides.
Figure 1: Many pesticides after application will become bound to soil particles and then degraded by microbial organisms. This microbial degradation is at first rapid, because of the higher concentration of pesticide present. Over time the degradation becomes slower. The ½ life of a pesticide is a measure of how long a pesticide persists and is the number of days it takes for half of the remaining pesticide to be degraded.
Figure 2: Although the amount is very small, pesticides can dislodge onto clothing, feet and equipment after application. This is most likely to occur within days of making the application. Thus, in order to minimize the risk of this occurring, avoid the use of pesticides on the field during the season of play. When necessary, schedule the application in order to allow as much time as possible to elapse before the field is to be used again.
Table 1: Factors that increase the chances that a pesticide will cause unwanted environmental contamination
Near shallow water table
Low organic matter
Misapplied or over -applied
Near surface water
Sandy or with high infiltration rate
Does not bind to soil or organic matter
Excessive irrigation following application
Poorly timed application
Incorrect product choice
Mowing at his office again
Brian Gimbel had a memorable year. Ohio State’s superintendent of athletic grounds received a chance to mow again on the field he’s been maintaining for more than two decades.
The circumstances surrounding his return to mowing made for a fascinating presentation at the 50th annual Ohio Turfgrass Foundation Conference & Show. Gimbel stepped to the OTF podium and revealed the turf tale of a rare soccer match in the stadium.
Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain played inside Ohio Stadium on July 27. Gimbel doesn’t recall the names of players on either team, but he will never forget details about the preparation and maintenance of the temporary sod field. His “Sod in the Shoe” presentation not only had a nice ring – it demonstrated the teamwork and ingenuity needed to stage an event that was somebody else’s idea. “It’s nice to do crazy stuff,” Gimbel said.
The crazy started when Gimbel received word from his bosses Ohio Stadium would be the site of an International Champions Cup match involving renowned franchises from another continent. Securing the event required ensuring the teams and their high-priced players would be playing on a natural surface.
“When we first heard about this event, there was initial excitement because we haven’t had grass in the stadium in 10 years,” Gimbel said. The enormity of the event tempered excitement. “We didn’t know what the expectations would be for it,” Gimbel added. “We didn’t know how much work would be involved. We knew we would be losing at least a weekend out of the summer. It was a mixture of emotions.”
Summers are curveball season for Gimbel and his staff, with events ranging from multiple-day country music concerts to lacrosse camps. A football camp and a Cleveland Browns scrimmage surrounded the soccer match on the Ohio Stadium calendar. A global soccer promoter handled many of the key logistics of the match, including the arrangement of sod deliveries.
“We are told it’s basically a rental,” Gimbel said. “Make sure the field looks good.” Staging the match involved numerous meetings, and Gimbel learned his staff would play a prominent role in the event. “I said, ‘Can I cut the grass one time?’ And somebody said, ‘Oh no, you get to cut it, you roll it, you water it, you paint the field,” Gimbel said. “So it’s more than just a rental. It’s getting to be a lot of work.”
Frequent and direct communication is a major part of hosting any large event, and Gimbel intently sat through numerous meetings involving officials from Ohio State and the promoter. Because of the meetings, Gimbel wasn’t jarred when he saw 20 trucks filled with 1-inch bluegrass sod produced at a New Jersey farm arrive at the stadium the weekend of July 23-24. The promoter entrusted a sod company from Rhode Island with delivering and installing the sod.
Refrigerated trucks kept the 450 rolls of sod cooled at 35 degrees during the trek from New Jersey to Columbus. Sultry weather greeted the sod, as air temperatures inside the stadium eclipsed 90 degrees. Two layers of geotextile material were used to protect the stadium’s synthetic surface, and Gimbel said temperatures eclipsed 140 degrees on the surface. Gimbel added sod temperatures reached 100 degrees less than 30 minutes after leaving the trucks.
Constant watering – even the top geotextile layer received moisture – aided the installation. The only irrigation sources on the field are 2-inch connectors behind each goal post, so irrigation reels were needed to cover the entire surface. Turf managers from the Columbus Crew assisted in painting, and the field was rolled twice to push seams together. And yes, Gimbel received a chance to mow, but he said heat stress made it challenging to create dynamic striping.
Match day presented a challenge, because the teams requested the field be watered between warmups and the start of the game and again at halftime. The unexpected request altered Gimbel’s plan of covering the 2-inch connectors with sod. Showing the ingenuity displayed by sports turf managers, Gimbel and his team decided to split each connector into a pair of 1-inch connectors, increasing the number of hoses available for staff and volunteers. Gimbel’s assistant, Brian Blount, timed how long it would take to water during the required times.
“We started off with one hose,” Gimbel said. “We just kept needing more water. That was the biggest challenge. You’re looking at the grass and it’s smoking. It felt like you were throwing it right into the oven.”
Gimbel and his team displayed further ingenuity after learning event organizers didn’t want to the goal posts anchored by sand bags for aesthetic reasons. The solution involved strapping barbell weights to the net and covering the weights with sod cut in similar shapes. Each goal had 200 pounds of weight anchored to it.
From a turf manager’s perspective, the scariest part of the night occurred less than five minutes into the game when a slide tackle produced a significant divot. Players received a water break in the first half because of the extreme heat, and Gimbel used the time to repair the divot. Both teams ended the night healthy, and the quality of play impressed the 86,000 fans in attendance.
“The level these players are at, you’re not sure if they are going to hate it or complain about the field,” Gimbel said. “But when it was all said and done, we got good feedback from the teams. They thought the ball floated really good. A lot of times it gets bumpy when sod seams are pushed against each other. Because we rolled them out, we got rid most of that.”
Cleanup started at 4 a.m., with the removal of the sod, which was composted. Mud seeped through the geotextile layers, but Ohio State scheduled a deep cleaning of the synthetic surface as part of its agreement with the promoter. Cleveland Browns head groundskeeper Chris Powell visited Ohio Stadium in preparation for his team’s scrimmage and offered a reassuring assessment of the field condition.
“We now know we can do this type of thing,” Gimbel said. “I would imagine we will be doing it again.” Until sod returns to the “Shoe” again, Gimbel has a fascinating story to share with colleagues.
Phot credit: Columbus Underground
What happens when some of the nation’s top turfgrass researchers gather in the same place? Golf course superintendents, sports turf managers and landscape professionals return home smarter. Here’s wisdom from a few researchers who presented at the 50th annual Ohio Turfgrass Foundation Conference & Show:
Serving the turf industry
in NW Ohio
Dr. John Sorochan,
University of Tennessee
“Sharp blades equal better turf. That’s the bottom line.”
Penn State University
“Heat index is based on shade. Add 15 to 20 degrees more in full sun. Keep that in mind for hydration.”
Dr. Aaron Patton,
“In most cases, you don’t have to sweat it. Most products work well at a wide variety of pHs.”
Dr. Frank Rossi,
“As soon as you measure things, your ability to improve them increases dramatically.”
Dr. David Shetlar,
Ohio State University
“The reality is that mosquitoes have probably accounted for more deaths in the world than all wars combined.”
SAVE THE DATES!
Research Facility Open House
OTF Research & Education Facility
Scholarship Golf Outing
Tartan Fields Golf Club - Dublin, Ohio
DECEMBER 4th - 7th
OTF Conference & Show
Visit www.ohioturfgrass.org for updates and information.
Bauer Voss Consulting
Dr. Mike Boehm
Dr. Karl Danneberger
Greater Cincinnati GCSA
Hurdzan Golf Design
Rattlesnake Ridge GC
BRONZE - $1,500
EMERALD - $500
GOLD - $5,000
Dr. Chuck Darrah
Northwest Ohio GCSA
SILVER - $3,000
SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR
FOUNDERS CLUB MEMBERS
Dr. Susan Everett
Dr. David Gardner
Dr. Harry Niemczyk
Joseph Noppenberger Jr.
PLATINUM - $10,000
Central Ohio GCSA
Northwest Ohio GCSA
DIAMOND - $25,000+
Double Eagle Club
Fairmount Santrol/ Best Sand
The Ohio Turfgrass Foundation Conference & Show celebrated its 50th anniversary in early December. Marty O’Brien celebrated the milestone by doing what he enjoys most during the event – rekindling and strengthening relationships with attendees.
Supporting and enjoying the event runs in O’Brien’s family. His father Bob, one of Century Equipment’s co-founders, had an active role in organizing the first OTF Show in 1967. Marty, the company’s president, started attending the show in the 1970s, when Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati rotated as host sites. The size and scope of the show is the biggest change in the last 50 years, according to Marty. The 2016 show included more than 1,500 attendees, 100 exhibitor booths and 123 educational sessions.
“From our standpoint, it’s a central place to meet a lot of our customers,” Marty said. “What’s ideal about this time of the year is that most of the customers have concluded their business for the year and you’re starting to talk about next year. it’s kind of a pivot point, concluding one year and getting ready for the next year. For some people here, this would replace them going to the national show, whether it’s the assistant or some of the other people that are part of the customer organization.”
Century Equipment joined Baker Vehicle, R.W. Sidley Pro/Angle Sand and Standard Golf as one of four 2016 exhibitors also involved with the first OTF Conference & Show. Marty said the show has endured because of the zest surrounding Ohio State’s turgrass program and the dedication demonstrated by OTF staff and board members.
“The energies around Ohio State are very strong,” he added. “I would say a heavy percentage of the people in this room are associated with Ohio State, which is great. My mother was a graduate from the agriculture school. The heritage goes back a long way. The organization works hard at making it work. This could go away really easy. It has happened in other states or they have gotten really condensed. It’s the energy behind it. The OTF Board has always kept it fresh.”
Celebrating amongst friends
Field Construction & Renovation
Design & Build
Irrigation & Drainage
Horticulture & Crop Science
Dr. Karl Danneberger
Dr. David Gardner
Dr. John Street (Emeritus)
Mrs. Pamela Sherratt
Mr. Matt Williams
School of Natural Resources
Dr. Ed McCoy
Dr. David Shetlar
Dr. Francesca Peduto Hand
Mr. Todd Hicks
Mr. Joseph Rimelspach
2-Year Turfgrass Program
Dr. Zane Raudenbush
Dr. Ed Nangle
Mr. Dennis Bowsher
Mr. Brian Gimbel
Mr. Mike O'Keeffe
OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY TURF TEAM
Ohio Green Industry Advocacy Day 2017
On February 22, 2017, professionals from the Green industry converged on Columbus Ohio, to the Ohio State House. The meeting was spearheaded by ONLA, but had members from several industry organizations including Nursery Growers of Lake County, Ohio Irrigation Association, Ohio Landscape Association, Ohio Lawn Care Association, Ohio Pest Management Association, Ohio Professional Applicators for Responsible Regulation, Ohio Turfgrass Foundation and more. The day was FILLED with many topics and speakers.
The day began with some general information from Belinda Jones of Capital Consulting. The morning sessions included discussions from Senate President Pro Tempore Bob Peterson, communicating with legislators, Water Quality and Quantity issues with Karl Gebhardt from the OEPA, and a panel discussion about the effects of Medical Marijuana and the Ohio work place. The sessions were very interesting, and included many issues that we currently deal with our will be effected in the future.
The afternoon allowed each attendee time to meet with the legislators from their industry. This gave everyone a chance to discuss issues that are important in our day to day operations. Topics of conversations included pollinator health, water regulation, CAUV for farmland value calculations, Operating budgets concerns, and other topics effecting each constituent.
The overall purpose of the day was to remind the legislators of Ohio that we are an important industry that has many very talented people here to assist in the decision making process. The industry was well represented and looks to be a greener future for everyone throughout the state!
R.D. Baker Memorial Scholarship
R.D. Baker Memorial Scholarship
R.D. Baker Memorial Scholarship
Ohio State ATI
Don Sweda Memorial Scholarship
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR
2016 SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS
THANKS TO OUR 2016
PARTNERS IN EXCELLENCE
For more information about the partnership program, visit www.ohioturfgrass.org.
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