Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Little Bit About Torrey Pines

The PGA Tour returned to the mainland last week and this week The Farmers Insurance Open tees off at Torrey Pines (South and North Courses) in San Diego. The South Course is something of a rarity in two respects. Along with Bethpage Black, it is a course open to the public that has hosted U.S. Open. Even rarer, they've had a female superintendent. Sports Illustrated had a nice piece three years ago about Candice Combs, her rise to become super of the South Course, and other female superintendents. Money quote part one:

"She's probably the most prestigious woman in the industry right now," says Carmen Magro, a former course superintendent who is head of the turfgrass program at Penn State, one of the foremost training grounds for supers in the U.S. "If she has a successful Open," he says, "that will be huge for women in this industry. It will absolutely open doors." And that--breaking golf's grass ceiling--makes Combs proud. "That means something to me," she says. "Hopefully, I'm going to give one for the team."

Of the roughly 10,500 superintendents and 5,500 assistants who belong to the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, only 79 supers and 72 assistants are women. Of the 2,000 members who have reached the association's highest level of certification, women--Combs among them--make up barely 1%.

"We're few and far between," says 27-year-old Patty Reedy, who was recently elevated from assistant to head super on the South course at Los Angeles Country Club, making her one of only 16 women supers at private clubs. The lack of numbers isn't surprising. The job entails exhausting physical labor and grueling hours and is complicated by nature's whims and golfers' demands. "This is no place for suits and high heels," says Andrea Bakalyar, 34, super at the Wee course at Williams Creek in Knoxville, Tenn. "It's not for everybody. It's not an easy career."

Money quote part two:

"I love this job," says Nancy Dickens, 47, superintendent and head agronomist of Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz. "Every day provides me with an interesting challenge that tests what I know." When she was in her early 30s, Dickens jumped off the corporate ladder at Hallmark Cards after realizing that she didn't want to be chained to a desk. An avid golfer, she began researching jobs in the industry. "Back then I never thought that a woman could do this," she says.

The profession has changed dramatically in recent years. The old greenkeeper was a manual laborer with a green thumb. Says Bruce Williams (a third-generation super who as head of the grounds at L.A. Country Club hired Reedy), "The key to the old days was, you had to withstand the physical part of the job to move yourself through the ranks. Back then, unloading a fertilizer truck was backbreaking. Today we do it with a forklift. The physical aspect is still there, but it isn't make or break anymore."

The path to running a course now runs through university programs like Penn State's, where one or two women (out of a total enrollment of 45) matriculate annually, up from one every few years a decade ago. Reedy was in one of those programs, at Texas A&M. Initially, though, she had no interest in golf or golf courses. "Growing up, I liked doing yard work," she says. "It's as simple as that." In 2001 when a friend took a summer internship in Boston, she went along and found one too, in Brookline under Spence. "The rest is pretty much history," says Reedy, who went on to work at Skokie (Ill.) Country Club for three years before moving to L.A.

What does it take to get a course ready to host a PGA Tour? Well, quite a lot. It starts off eight to ten weeks in advance when a PGA Tour agronomist visits the course for a review and it goes from there. If you've read this far, you'll want to go to the PGA Tour Agronomy Course Conditioning Guidelines and check it out.

Until next time.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Red Turf Confirmed!!

Today, Eastern Washington confirmed their plan to install red FieldTurf in Woodward Field. Tennessee Titans All-Pro and Eastern Washington grad Michael Roos and his wife donated $500,000 towards the project. From the press release, here's a large money quote:

Eastern Athletic Director Bill Chaves, who is working with associate athletic director for development Marc Hughes on the project, said EWU needs to secure additional funding through private contributions before actual replacement can be started. It is hoped that the project can be funded and completed in time for the 2010 season.

"There is no doubt that one of Boise State's claim to fame has been their blue turf and like it or dislike it, it has certainly brought them a tremendous amount of notoriety," said Chaves. "In a similar vein we have a tremendous opportunity at Eastern to do the same by differentiating ourselves with the red turf while providing a superior playing surface."

So, Boise State and the University of New Haven have blue turf, and now EWU has red. Is this going to be a trend? If we see UNH and EWU playing in BCS bowls anytime in the near future, it just might.

Until next time.

Until next time, or update.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Red Turf?!?!?!?!?


color turf

Is this what the future holds for Eastern Wasthington University? There are numerous rumors on the internet. One person said that the announcers on the East-West Shrine game talked about it and said it was a done deal. I'm still chasing this rumor down.

Until next time.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Winston-Salem Will Be Getting Sod

The Winston-Salem Dash are the 'Class A-Advanced' affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, and they'll be opening a new stadium this spring. That means sod. Around 2 or 3 acres of the stuff. They'll be installing Tifway 419 (from Sandhill Turf) in March to be ready for their April 13 home opener. The Winston-Salem Journal has our money quote:

Charles "Chuck" Hutchings, a senior project manager for Samet Corp., the general contractor building the ballpark, said that crews are hoping to have the sod installed at the Dash ballpark by the middle of March.

"We're waiting to get it as close to the growing season for sod to implant, which is warmer temperatures, where the sod will actually take root," Hutchings said.

Until next time!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Late Post

I can't believe I didn't include this in the post I just finished!

The Bob Hope Classic is being held on four courses over five days this weekend. If the rain lets up, that is. Palm Springs has been doused by torrential rains the past few days and it has really thrown a wrench in the works of the tournament. The tournament normally be wrapping up the third round this afternoon, but because of the rain, the second round hasn't even been completed yet. Money quote from The Desert Sun:
“I've never seen this much water on the golf course before,” said Tim Putnam, who has served as La Quinta Country Club's course superintendent for eight years.
The La Quinta course is back in the tournament this year and is widely regarded as one of the best conditioned courses on the PGA Tour. The forecast for Saturday and Sunday is clear and sunny. I hope they get things worked out!

Until next time.

Quick hit!

Not a lot today. I just wanted to put some old items out there.

Until next time!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Great Metrodome End Zone End Line Mystery...solved!

Welcome to all who have found their way over from Uni Watch. I've been reading it regularly for several months and have become a fan, and even a contributor on occasion.
In the January 18 post, reader Andrew Bartsch noted that the Metrodome end zones had "a separate, distinct end line". I took a long look at the photos that were linked and studied the tapes of Vikings games on NFL Videos and determined that they were actually the same end zone. It's the one on the right when watching on television. The picture of Tony Romo is simply from the reverse angle.
But that doesn't answer the question: Why is there a green stripe in the end line at the Metrodome?

2010,vikings,nfl,metrodome,end zone

As we see above, the green stripe is clearly visible. I decided to go straight to the source and emailed Al Kuehner the Supervisor of Field and Grounds for the Metrodome. His answer is actually fairly straightforward:
We have a 15’ wide rubber warning track for baseball which surrounds the stadium. The back of the end zone is 6” from the track.
Regulation lines on a field are four inches wide. That leaves a two inch strip of green turf.
Why don't they paint that? I don't know, I didn't ask. I felt grateful to him for just responding, after all, this is just some blog, not ESPN.

This issue got me digging into my Metrodome stuff and wanted to bring up some other things as well.
The Metrodome had the Twins and Vikings time-sharing the facility and it leads to some interesting things:
The six foot end line isn't painted in at all during baseball season.

2009,nfl,metrodome,vikings,end zone

The Twins had a concentric ring pattern in the turf emanating from the pitchers mound. It's still there even in the playoffs.



It's pretty easy to tell where first base was.

2010,vikings,nfl,main street,metrodome

I'm not sure if this Vike was catching a pass at the 30 or sliding into third base.

2009,nfl,metrodome,vikings,3rd base

In the course of my research I found a great site about baseball stadiums past and present: Clem's Baseball Blog. Check out the Metrodome page.

Until next time!

Sun Life Stadium

Just in time for the Superbowl, the facility previously known as Joe Robbie Stadium, Dolphins Stadium, Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphin Stadium, and Land Shark Stadium has new name.

Sun Life Stadium. It's got a real ring to it, doesn't it? You can almost hear Brent Musberger while we look from the blimp: "You're looking live at Sun Life Stadium!"

That's a little over three years per name.

Until next time.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Let's fire up the Way-Back Machine!!

way back machine

Let's get this thing going!

The other day at Uniwatch there was a link to the first Monday Night Football game on YouTube. It was some ISWT gold!! First, note the length of the grass, you can barely see the tops of their shoes. By the way, this picture is from where they re-enacted the coin toss. Back then, it would take place about 30 minutes before the game.

nfl,browns,municipal stadium,midfield

This game was September of 1970, late in the season of the Cleveland Indians who shared Municipal Stadium with the Browns. Overall the place looked pretty good, including the Browns end zone:

browns,nfl,end zone,municipal stadium

Astroturf was widely used back then, and speaking of artifical turf, Howard Cosell.


By the way, the third man in the booth was Dandy Don Meredith. Here's a shot from his playing days. The Saints played at Tulane Stadium and the ground looks a little...rough.


Before we go, remember sponsors from the good old days?

browns,municipal stadium

While watching this game I noticed link on the side to the video of Super Bowl I and got some great shots.
This was the best shot of the midfield. No NFL shield at midfield because it was still two leagues at that point.


The end zones were painted but weren't done with the teams customary design as they are now.
The Packers did have the NFL shield in their end zone:


And the Chiefs end zone had the AFL logo:


I'll keep nosing around YouTube and other places for more finds like this.

Until next time.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dolphins Stadium reconstruction?

Like many of you, I remember when the Dolphins used to play in the Orange Bowl. The Dolphins moved to Joe Robbie...err...Pro Player...err...Dolphins Stadium ...err....LandShark .....err.... Dolphins Stadium back in 1987. Time sure flies in the world of stadiums. (Especially when we're talking about throwing around taxpayer dollars for renovations). Well, the South Florida Super Bowl host committee is kicking around the idea of some serious renovation of Dolphins Stadium. Money picture:

joe robbie

What you can't see in that rendering is the completely reconstructed lower level. With more suites, no doubt. You can get a better look at the lower level rendering here.

The lower bowl would be reconstructed on a lower slope and would extend closer to the playing field. The hope in this would be with fans closer to the playing field, plus a roof covering them, a louder, more intimidating experience for the opposing team to come into.

25 years ago, the Hurricanes and Dolphins had one of the best home field advantages in all of football at the Orange Bowl. It was one of the loudest stadiums in both the NFL and college football, and both teams had considerably long home winning streaks and successful seasons to show this advantage.

But who's going to pay? The stadium people and the host committee were willing to say how much the improvements would cost or who would pay. WBPF has a nice piece, including some video.

Let's face it, there have been far too many taxpayer giveaways to rich people who own teams in the recent past. It's time for taxpayer dollars to be minimal for renovations or new stadiums.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

BCS Chamionship Rose Bowl turf - For Sale!

Did you like the turf used for the BCS Championship game? Well, much like Yankee Stadium turf you may be able to get a piece of it.
Money quote from

The day after the BCS title game, approximately 75,000 3-inch square pieces of turf will be harvested from each end zone, and another 50,000 will be taken from the midfield logo. They will be sold for anywhere between $99.99 and $134.99. If there is a memorable play in the game, that turf may also find its way to market.

I hope Colt McCoy doesn't chuck his turf straight into the garbage in a fit of pique.

Until next time.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Rose Bowl wrap-up!

Alabama beat Texas for the BCS National Championship, but I think kudos are also due to the fine folks at West Coast Turf and the Rose Bowl Stadium staff!! Starting immediately after the Rose Bowl, they harvested, trucked in, laid down, watered, rolled, and painted over 100,000 square feet of sod. And it looked terrific! The national championship deserves a great field and they rose to the challenge.

rose bowl


One other note: the national anthem was performed by Josh Groban, some drummer and some horns and, of course, Flea (from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.) They did a fine job, but it was a unique group of performers.

national anthem

Flea was fully clothed. If you know anything about him you know that isn't always the case.

Until next time.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bill Belichick: "WAAAHHHHH!!!"

Stephanie Stradley writes a blog for and has a nice piece about the Bill Belichick complaining about the Reliant Stadium conditions for the Patriots/Texans game this past Sunday.
Money quote:

Belichick called the field conditions"terrible" and "inconsistent" claiming, "When I walked out before the game, I was surprised to see how bad it was."

Gee, if he thought the surface was bad, why did he play so many of his key starters for so long? Even after Welker got hurt in the game on a surface he felt was bad?

In other news, the field at Paul Brown Stadium will be ready for the cold/snow/sleet this weekend (unlike Giants Stadium this past Sunday).
Money quote:

That won't happen here. Today, after an inch of snow and temperatures in the teens, the field is actually toasty. That's because buried underneath the turf is five miles of 3/4 inch plastic tubing.

Eric Brown, Stadium Manager: "It runs back and forth about six inches apart and we have about 90 degree glycol running through that tubing, which essentially heats the soil underneath, which keeps the field from freezing."

Last, but most certainly not least, check out the field for the BCS Championship. It's ready!!!

Until next time.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Citrus Bowl turf III

The issue that won't die. The East-West Shrine game is scheduled to be played at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando January 23rd but concerns about the turf will not die. The Orlando Sentinel had a piece today about what is being done.
Money quote:

Johnson met with the city's turf consultant Monday and told suppliers to find enough turf to re-sod again before the East-West Shrine Game. The city "won't rest" until the field is up to Shrine Game standards, he said.

There's heavy demand from golf courses for Celebration Bermuda grass this time of year. The city hopes to find enough — cut a half-inch thicker than what is now in place — to re-sod from goal line to goal line. If there's not enough available, the city is likely to supplement it with another variety of Bermuda.

It's nice that they're "not resting" until it's fixed, but I'll believe it when I see it. On January 23.

Until next time.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Rose Bowl renovation news

Great piece in the New York Times about the proposed renovations for The Rose Bowl. The stadium people want to start January 2011 and have it done over four years which will be in time for the 100th anniversary Rose Bowl game and the BCS championship game.
Monster money quote:

“The window of opportunity to make this work, really, is today,” said Michael Beck, the city manager of Pasadena, which owns the stadium. “Two years ago, we couldn’t afford to do it. Two years from now, interest rates will be higher and construction costs are likely to be higher. This is the perfect economy to make an investment in.”

Asked about the wisdom of investing in a stadium, a strategy that has left many municipalities in dire financial straits, Beck conceded there was some risk.

“But there’s also the other risk,” Beck said. “That’s the risk of not doing anything.”

The danger of that strategy is illustrated in Miami, where the Orange Bowl stadium, built in the same era as the Rose Bowl and itself an iconic site, no longer exists.

It was once home to the Dolphins, the University of Miami and Super Bowls, as well as the Orange Bowl game. But when the Dolphins owner Joe Robbie could not persuade city officials to add suites to the Orange Bowl in the 1980s, he built his own stadium and moved the Dolphins. The Super Bowls followed. Then the Orange Bowl game. And finally, the University of Miami.

Until next time.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Last Sunday of the NFL

Football season, you go by so fast!!

Now that college football is over, the Joe Robbie crew added the Dolphins and NFL logos to the end zone

dolphins,end zone,joe robbie,nfl

It was snowing in the rust belt yesterday. Cleveland got a little


Buffalo got a lot, this shot is from the first half:

nfl,snow,bills,ralph wilson

The grounds grew got busy to clear the field at halftime:

snow,bills,nfl,ralph wilson

Things looked better (for a while) in the third quarter

snow,bills,nfl,ralph wilson

The Texas Bowl was played December 31, 2009 at Reliant Stadium, home of the Houston Texans. As often happens, some hard work was done to replace the bowl logo:

texas bowl

with the Texans logo at midfield:


Until next time.

Winter Classic!!!

New Year's Day brought us another NHL Winter Classic. This time the Bruins took on the Flyers at Fenway Park. I've got some great shots, and since it's New Year's I've resolved to get better at posting pictures. Linking to them is okay, but I would prefer to have them right in the text of the blog.
Here we have a gorgeous shot of center ice for the Winter Classic:

center ice,winter classic

No major sporting event seems complete without a flyover from a branch of the military, and the Winter Classic was no different:

scenic,winter classic

The Winter Classic gets a lot of media attention so there NHL appears to have made an accomodation to photographers that they can't make for regular games. Look for the peepholes:

winter classic

Take a closer look:

winter classic

Having the peephole allows photographers to use fish-eye lenses to get cool shots like this:

winter classic

The scoreboard operators were down with the game as well:

scoreboard,winter classic

And lastly, Philadelphia fans always represent:

winter classic

Until next time!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Citrus Bowl II (and something else)

As was discussed yesterday, the field at the Citrus Bowl was an unmitigated disaster for both the Champs Sports Bowl and the Capital One Bowl. Miami Hurricanes running back Graig Cooper injured his knee on a kickoff return. Money quote from the Miami Herald:

Cooper, a junior, had yet to have an MRI for his knee, which was injured on a 27-yard kickoff return just before halftime. Cooper slipped on the Florida Citrus Bowl stadium turf, which released bursts of sand into the air when players fell on it or cut sharply.

Let's have another money quote, this time from December 30th Orlando Sentinel:

"The turf was replaced, as is always done during the time between the high school games and the bowl games," said Heather Allebaugh , spokeswoman for Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. "Cold weather prohibited growing. It needed vertical and horizontal growth from the turf and that didn't really happen because of the weather. The field was in good playing condition, it just wasn't at the great level we have had in the past."

Let's leave the issue for now and end on a beautiful note. Is there a prettier setting for a bowl game than the Rose Bowl? I don't think so!

Until next time.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Citrus Bowl Disaster!!

Let's go straight to the Orlando Sentinel for a money quote:

The city spent $36,000 to re-sod the field with Celebration Bermuda grass from goal line to goal line, including the bench area, after the state high-school-football championships ended Dec. 19. But the cold weather wreaked havoc, preventing the grass from growing and taking hold.

That led to clumps of turf flying in the Champs Sports Bowl between Miami and Wisconsin. One player was seriously hurt in that game after planting his foot and getting it stuck in the turf. During walk-throughs for the Capital One Bowl on Friday, Penn State center Stefen Wisniewski said the field was not in great shape even dry. "Soaked full of mud, it was a disaster," he said.

It was u-g-l-y UGLY! Here's a shot of the mess, and here's another. That's all I've got on this for now, but I have a feeling I'll be revisiting this again.

Until next time!