Championship Field, Pleasant View Sports Complex, Boulder, CO
This Colorado field was named 2014 Sporting Grounds Field of the Year by the Sports Turf Managers Association.
Sports Turf Manager: John Cogdill (currently); original entry was made by former sports turf manager Dan McGhee
Title: City turf/Irrigation and sports field manager
Education: Bachelor of Arts, CLIA
Education B.A. CLIA
Experience: 29 years of City Park and Sports Field development, softball, soccer, multi-purpose installation, renovation
Original construction: 1993
Rootzone: 80% sand, 20% organic
Turfgrass variety: A mixture of RPR bluegrass and RPR ryegrass
Overseed: Broadcast seeding, slit seeding and spot seeding
Drainage: Underground full herringbone design with 8” mainline tied with flexible 4” coiled plastic
Why STMA should consider your field a winner?
This field is consistently featured as the premier and championship field at the complex. This field is consistently rated significantly higher than other area complexes and fields in the area. In addition, no herbicides are used on the field allowing all users to play without personal risk to known or unknown allergies. The field is managed to produce quality grass with high wear resistance, the lack of pesticides being used and consistent overseeding and fertilization practices provides for a field where there are absolutely no weeds present. Also, root depth of 12-18” is common, on this field, which provides adequate foot traction and enhanced resistance to wear.
All worn areas are enhanced weekly with additional seed, topdressing and aeration in order to promote safe fields that reduce player injuries.
An irrigation audit is performed in early spring in order to better provide appropriate water delivery and promote water conservation.
There is a weather station on site that provides updated information about the site in order to appropriately schedule Irrigation programs.
The field is soil tested three times a year to ensure appropriate, yet not excessive, nutrient delivery.
The field is consistently checked via a Clegg tool to insure safety compliance, both before and after major tournaments.
Additional field value is achieved and surfaces are impressive considering the financial resource limits, location, level of play on the field, quality and conformance to ASTM standards, as well as location. The venue speaks volumes as it relates to users experiencing a holistic play experience that can be enjoyed by the entire user group with the backdrop setting of the Rocky Mountains, featuring the Boulder Flatirons.
SportsTurf: What channels of communication do you use to reach coaches, administrators and users of your facility?
Cogdill: We use different channels of communication including online and print media. We currently maintain two social media platforms (Twitter with 5,000 followers and Facebook with 1,000 followers). We also distribute our eBlast, an external listserv mainly consisting of more than 30,000 subscribers who are enrolled in our recreational programs, and contribute to partner leagues’ listservs (including frequent user groups). Pleasant View has also been featured in national turf and sports management magazines and our quarterly recreation guide that is published each season and sent to approximately 50,000 Boulder households. Finally, and most importantly, we value close working relationships with our user groups and spend a lot of face time.
SportsTurf: Any tips on communicating well?
Cogdill: We are very engaged with our contractors including program, camp and tournament managers. One tip that has proven as successful is to spend face-time with our contractors and user groups. For example, we have a standard for facilitating one-on-one walkthroughs before athletic tournaments and programs. The walkthroughs have proven as important to learn more about our user groups’ needs and to share information about department and city resources. For example, we use walk-through time to address last minute questions and to alert our contractors of facility highlights, our amenities, and to emphasize our commitment to community health. We comply with the city’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) policy and sustainable practices and our fields have been maintained without the use of pesticides and herbicides for nearly 15 years and are free of products that can cause allergic reactions. We also promote our water conservation efforts. Additionally, we communicate frequently with the Boulder Convention & Visitor Bureau to support visitor engagement in Boulder.
Finally, we use our social media network to post satellite weather updates and field conditions to keep our user groups in the loop. Our department’s social media team also strategizes monthly outreach that is timely and educational. Visually engaging content including dynamic photographs capturing family and community activities are very popular.
SportsTurf: What are your specific job responsibilities? What do find most enjoyable? What task is your least favorite and why?
Cogdill: My field maintenance responsibilities include mowing, fertilizing, coordinating soil samples, Clegg testing, seeding, irrigation, trash removal, and the lining of fields. I’m also involved in public relations, education, and outreach activities to help promote our great amenities and the city’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) standards and sustainable practices. This includes exploring current field maintenance industry trends and innovative tools like our satellite monitoring app that we recently adopted into our daily irrigation maintenance routine.
Our District Services and programming team coordinates all of our contracts, payments, schedules, walk-throughs and provides most communications.
The most enjoyable aspect of the job is a happy customer, regardless of age and background, and watching our community enjoy the benefits of our high-quality fields and physical activity. We care for our user groups and have built strong relations with them. It is wonderful to see inclusive community pride unfold on our fields. It’s all about empowering our local youth and engaging our future generations through the fun of play!
Cleaning up trash and recycling potentially hazardous materials can be challenging at times. However, we are committed to provide a clean and safe environment to our user groups.
SportsTurf: How do you see the your job changing in the future?
Cogdill: I think that there will be continued emphasis on field attenuation, field safety, and academic development with a greater focus on overall player health and organic pest control in compliance with our city’s IPM standards. I will also be more involved in sustaining Boulder’s tree resilience efforts in response to the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestation. We will diversify our urban canopy and plant trees in areas surrounding public parks and fields in 2016 and years to come.
SportsTurf: What changes are you planning to make to your maintenance plan for 2016, if any?
Cogdill: I’m planning a greater emphasis on deep time core aeration and topdressing, with a greater focus on field drainage. We will also increase our biodiversity efforts for the fields’ soil tilt.
SportsTurf: What’s the best piece of turf management advice you have ever received?
Cogdill: Ross Kurcab, former Denver Bronco turf manager, once said to me: “Just broadcast your seed in your heavy use and wear areas and let the players’ foot traffic provide the rest.”
Ross was our consultant and helped us with our turf management plan. We wanted to improve our turf to prevent concussions and to enhance overall play safety standards. We were fortunate to have Ross on board. Our department appreciates working with local, experienced experts and Ross offered invaluable advice regarding our turf maintenance’s efforts.
SportsTurf: How do you balance your work and personal time?
Cogdill: I am very busy during growing and scheduled play season. However, when not at Pleasant View you can find me with my family exploring the Park Canyon and Washakie Wilderness area in Wyoming. I’m a big outdoor enthusiast and love to hike and fish.
SportsTurf: Are you yet involved in “sustainable” management practices? If so, what are you doing?
Cogdill: As mentioned, sustainable practices are at the core of the city’s and our department’s facility maintenance efforts. Our turf has been pesticide and herbicide free for nearly 15 years and is free of products that can cause allergic reactions. The facility is also equipped with a field drainage system that can accommodate many sports and play activities, even during inclement weather.
We also maintain large native borders around the field complex to encourage native plant growth. Our sand-based irrigation system plays a major role in our natural lands preservation and water conservation efforts. The fields’ drain system captures extra water and redirects it to the fields’ native borders and nearby Four Mile Creek enhancing its riparian and wildlife habitat areas.
Other sustainable practices include recycling of our clippings, reuse of paint buckets for snow removal (approx. 600-800 gallons per year for field lines), and turning of fields and goals every spring and fall season to align with local wind and weather systems to improve overall quality of play.
Early season dormancy watering begins (based upon the year), overseeding (RPR) late in month based upon soil temperatures.
Paint lines using small percentage (2oz. per 100gal. of water/paint) Primo-every 15 days 1/2lb of BK 46-0-0 Urea
Consistent foliar injection application of 10-0-10 Liquid fertigation supplement at 5%. Aeration and field drag applied.
Mowing begins at the end of the month.
Recycler dresser, 1/2lb of BK 46-0-0 Urea. Overseeding continues, Mowing continues at 2/5” as needed based upon temperatures and level of play
1lb of N applied- 15-0-15. Aeration and overseeding as needed in wear areas. Mowing at 2.5” continues three times per week, or more, as needed. Last overseeding for the spring is done. Introduce HGT Bluegrass as overseed for time period. Increase Irrigation as needed. Perform Irrigation audit in early May to address as necessary in play and wear areas.
Line painting, trimming, edging (as needed), and sharpening of all mower blades weekly to reduce leaf tear and Carbon emissions.
1lb. pr. 1000. 41-0-0-N/METHx-40=31.8. 10-0-10 Liquid fertigation supplement at 5%. Increase Irrigation based upon ET/sensor and weather station (on site). Mowing occurs, as needed, for playability. Overseeding continues to be applied to wear areas. Top dressing and seed are applied to all divot areas. Paint lines, trim, edge, etc. Provide crack/seal to walkways, parking lots, etc.
10-0-10 Liquid fertigation supplement at 5%. Maximum water used during this month. Check and maintain Irrigation heads and provide additional bi-monthly Irrigation check as standard practice. Topdress and overseed, as needed, in wear and divot areas. Mow for best playability.
Aerate, Edge, Trim, sharpen mower blades, and field painting- weekly
10-0-10 Liquid fertigation supplement at 5%. Begin Bluegrass overseed work on, or about, first week in August. Continue irrigation inspections. Mowing for maximum playability, Aerate as often as possible (depending on day and night time temperatures), fertilizer application of 1lb actual N in the middle of the month.
Fertilize with 1lb of N. Fertilizer injector continues to run 10-0-10 Liquid fertigation supplement at 5%.
Aerate, Trim, Edge
Additional overseeding- Bluegrass early in the month with supplemental Ryegrass in worn areas. Irrigation system check- raise, replace (as needed) any worn components. Mow at 2/5” for maximum play.
10-0-10 Liquid fertigation supplement at 5%. Fertilize with 1lb N/K (slow release)- aerate- Irrigation slows down based upon weather. Divot fill with Rye continues based upon temperatures. Mowing continues at rate needed based on weather and frost.
Fertilize with .5lb slow release N/K. Blow out Irrigation system.