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What the heck is a turf manager?

February 15, 2019

For those of you who work in the industry, I am sure you have had to, on more than one occasion, explain what you do.


"So...you are like a gardner?" Followed by an empty stare. 


It's hard not to get frustrated, not that there is anything wrong with being a gardner, it's just that we have worked hard to be able to call ourselves turf managers. But then I remind myself, it's not their fault. They just don't know what they don't know. So I figured why not take the time to explain what it is we do, and we were are so proud of it. 


Long story short, turf managers take something as simple as grass and turn it into a highly manicured, but also extremely functional landscape. The grass we work on is meant to be used and abused, but also look great while withstanding constant wear. Sounds simple? Let me tell you, it's not. 


There is a lot of science that goes into what we do. Not only are we knowledgable in various grass species and the very best ways to maintain each one, but we could talk your ear off about nitrogen and salt levels in our soil composition. Or how increasing the sand base in your root zone can help with water dispersion. We might ramble on about the best mixture for our worm castings. (Don't know what worm castings are? Google it! It's fascinating.) No matter how big our irrigation system is, we know the in's and out's, cycle times and how to adjust them, and where we don't have enough coverage. We could tell you about the various diseases or pests our turf is prone to and recite from memory all the best ways to combat both. The standard maintenance list goes on, but I can already feel your eyes glazing over. I'll switch gears. 


As turf manages we also spend a ton of time adjusting to things completely outside of our control. For example, Southern California just got over 3 inches of rain in the last two days! We never see rain like this! Do you think that is going to stop college baseball teams from playing this weekend? Or golf tournaments from taking place? Or the concert that is scheduled in your local stadium? You bet your ass it's not! People have money to make!  Speaking of money, there is also the matter of budget. Most times, this is completely outside of our control. With turf, since people often underestimate what we do, and what is required, they often have some pretty lofty expectations, without the budget to match. Champaign dreams on a PBR budget! But you know what? We figure out the best ways to maximize the money we have and do our best to get you a beverage that falls somewhere in-between. 


It's our job to make sure that we are prepared for any weather scenario, disease outbreak, budget bust, irrigation leak or last minute event scheduling, all while making sure that our turf looks good and is safe enough for use. 


Like I said, there is a lot that goes into what we do. I barely even scratched the surface. But that is why we love what we do, even if no one outside of our industry can explain it. Turf managers are a breed unto their own. We are hard working individuals, who love to be outside, but most of all love a challenge. 


-Dan Mudd


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