It was a busy college football bowl season at West Coast Turf, according to our correspondent Danielle Scardino, WCT’s director of marketing.
“We started off by grassing Chase Field in Phoenix December 19 for the December 26 Cheez-It Bowl, where the TCU Horned Frogs beat the Cal Bears in overtime. Chase Field head groundskeeper, Grant Trenbeath, was pleased with the overseeded bermuda product that was installed as an ‘overlay’ for just the bowl game.”
Trenbeath said, “WCT again provided a quality field for the 2018 Cheez-It Bowl. And they also met our tight schedule for installation and removal, working around the holidays and other bowl games they were involved with.”
“The San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl was played on West Coast Turf at the SDCCU Stadium (formerly Qualcomm) New Year’s Eve with the Northwestern Wildcats topping the Utah Utes. Even with soccer play going on in the weeks leading up to the game, the field looked great and played well, even in a rare San Diego downpour,” Scardino reported.
The Redbox Bowl was also played on New Year’s Eve at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, with the Oregon Ducks defeating the Michigan State Spartans by a single point.
The “Granddaddy of Them All,” the Rose Bowl, was played in Pasadena on New Years Day on what Rose Bowl groundskeeper, Will Schnell, said was “the best field I have ever had.” Schnell added that the day after the game the field looked as if it hadn’t even been played on, Scardino said.
“But the field absolutely was played on. The Ohio State Buckeyes outperformed the University of Washington Huskies in Urban Meyer’s last appearance as head coach, and his first Rose Bowl.
“Social media described the turfgrass at the Rose Bowl as ‘a green cloud,’ ‘the greatest patch of turf in America, capable of causing grown men weep at its green grass,’ ‘ . . . there is no greener grass in America than the grass in the Rose Bowl–one of the most beautiful sights in sports,’ and ‘the Rose Bowl grass is the definition of perfect’,” Scardino reported.
“We had a 24 hour ‘turnover’ window at Levi’s Stadium before the national championship game,” she said. “During the New Year’s Eve Redbox Bowl, our crews were hard at work harvesting a new field at their Livingston, CA farm to be installed for the game being played just a week between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson Tigers.
“First, the Redbox Bowl game needed to be completed, and the field removed. Our turf removal crew was on standby in Santa Clara and began the removal procedure about 5:30 pm, finishing the process at 1 am. Crews worked through the night in shifts installing the new field (33 truckloads worth) and completing the entire process in just 24 hours,” Scardino said.
After the field was installed, the tailgate areas and some of the streets around Levi’s Stadium were sodded as well for fan enjoyment.
The sod for the National Championship game was a specialty “proprietary” product that was grown on plastic out at the Livingston, farm, about 90 minutes from Santa Clara. It was thick-cut (more than 2 inches), and without time to root, heavy enough that the natural turfgrass remained in place.
The Levi’s Stadium staff was very pleased with the process, and amazed it went so quickly and seamlessly! Even with A LOT of rain. “West Coast Turf delivered a premium playing surface for the 2019 national championship at Levi’s Stadium,” said 49ers Vice President of Stadium Operations and Levi’s Stadium General Manager, Jim Mercurio. “We are proud to call them partners and are thrilled that the field and stadium were showcased to the nation as it tuned into college football’s biggest game.”
“Despite northern California being belted with rain in the days prior to the game the turfgrass held up beautifully, as the field was painted quickly after install, tarped, and very well taken care of by the Levi’s Stadium head groundskeeper, Matt Greiner and his crew,” Scardino reported.
“I’d be remiss if I do not mention Jim Mercurio and his staff at Levi’s Stadium,” said College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock. “There’s none better. Folks in this area do not take Jim and his folks for granted because they do a great job and these major events come here, in large part, because of the stadium. It’s a great facility but it is also extremely well managed. So, thank you very much.”