Maintenance myths

It’s no secret that the popularity of synthetic turf has skyrocketed in recent years. A product that was once reserved for elite, professional stadiums is now prevalent among colleges, high schools and even public parks. Among the many attractive characteristics of synthetic turf is the promise of reduced maintenance – an enticing prospect for schools and communities with tight budgets and high field-use demands. Unfortunately, there is sometimes a misconception that, once installed, synthetic turf fields are maintenance free. This misunderstanding has resulted in the destruction of many a field. For example, over the past 12 years New York City has borrowed an estimated $300 million to install 204 artificial turf fields at parks, schools and playgrounds. A study conducted by City Limits, an NYC-based magazine, found that overuse and chronic neglect has destroyed many of these fields. In a random study of 56 of these fields, 25 were in serious states of disrepair with gaps, tears and holes. Educate the decision-makers at your facility on the truth about synthetic turf maintenance; it will protect the players and their investment. See page 8 of this issue for more on proper maintenance and repair of synthetic turf.

So long, 2011!

In your hands is the last issue of SportsField Management for 2011. This year was certainly a busy and successful one full of change. We kicked it off by unveiling our redesigned format, a change that was designed to improve your reading experience. Judging from the feedback we’ve heard, the changes have been well received and we’re thrilled our loyal readers are enjoying the new design. Also this year, we bade a fond farewell to longtime columnist and industry legend George Toma as he retired from his monthly column, Toma Tales. While we were sad to see George go, we were ecstatic to welcome Ross Kurcab aboard as our new monthly columnist. Ross has decades of turf experience and a wealth of knowledge to share with our readers. Looking ahead, we’ve got some great things planned for 2012 and look forward to our sixth year of publishing SportsField Management!

Coming up …

The 23rd annual Sports Turf Managers Association Conference and Exhibition will be held January 10-14 in Long Beach, Calif. I hope you all plan on attending and taking advantage of all of the opportunities available at the show – learning sessions, equipment demonstrations, networking with your peers and so much more. Our January issue will feature our annual STMA Show Preview. We’ll have a sneak peek at what some of your favorite companies will be exhibiting, as well as a list of booth numbers to help you navigate the trade show floor. Also, keep an eye on your inbox for a preshow video e-newsletter with even more information for attendees.

Wishing everyone a safe and joyous holiday season and a very happy New Year!

Katie Meyers