The educational value of the 2016 Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) Conference & Exhibition extended much further than the walls of the San Diego Convention Center.
- So Cal Sports Complex: A new, 100-acre complex in its first full year of play that features 23 full-size soccer fields.
- Del Mar Race Track: The iconic horse racing facility that opened in 1937.
- San Diego Jewish Academy: This private, independent day school features a multi-use, sand-based field that hosts football, soccer and baseball.
- Petco Park (picture above): The home of MLB’s San Diego Padres also hosts numerous non-sporting events.
The second, shorter Seminar on Wheels Tour took place Friday, Jan. 22, and included visits to Qualcomm Stadium (home of the NFL’s San Diego Chargers) and several athletic fields at San Diego State University.
Attendees learned about the challenges each facility faces daily and received a behind-the-scenes look.
“The Seminar on Wheels Tour is always a highlight of the conference for me,” said tour-goer Ben Polimer, fields and grounds coordinator for the town of Weston, Massachusetts. “We visited some great sites, especially the Del Mar Race Track. It’s not every day that you visit a turf race track and get to see the unique way they manage turfgrass.”
Other highlights included Petco Park not exactly looking like a baseball field when the tour arrived, as Polimer pointed out.
“It seems every year when we visit professional ballparks, they are having non-sports events,” he said. “This year was no different when visiting Petco Park. They were shaping dirt mounds for a motocross event later in the week.”
Polimer highly recommends signing up for the tour each year.
“I’ve been going on these tours for almost 10 years, and always enjoy it,” he said. “It’s also a great time to network with others during the bus ride.”