SportsTurf March 2011

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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Page 49 of 59

F.O.Y. Field of the Year Sowell & Crew win one for The Natural State TURF AND GROUNDS MANAGER MONTY SOWELL, who also serves as manager of ballpark op- erations, led his team to a win of the 2010 STMA Pro- fessional Baseball Field of the Year Award. Arvest Park in Springdale, AR is home to the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, Double A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The park was built in 2008 and hosts the usual variety of events beyond baseball, more than 200 hours worth in 2010. Featuring Patriot bermudagrass on a soil composition of 90% sand, 10% Dakota peat, the field has a GraviTURF drainage system, which is perforated pipe system developed by Dan Almond of Mil- lennium Sports Technologies. Sowell overseeds in the fall with Cham- pion GQ ryegrass at 18 lbs./1,000 sq. ft., and supplements that in the spring if necessary. 50 SportsTurf | March 2011 Sowell reports in his award entry: “Our facility was built on the outskirts of Springdale in a yet-to- be developed area so we are surrounded by cow pastures and hay fields. With nothing to block the wind, and the way it swirls around the stadium, we are in constant battle against weeds, though with careful herbicide applications and my assistants’ identifying and erad- icating, we maintain surprisingly weed-free surface. “Another challenge is our ‘million dollar’ surface, which relates to one of the greatest pre-construction debates of our time. The field was spec’d for Patriot bermudagrass grown in 90% sand; the problem was at that time, the only Patriot being grown in 90% sand was in Maryland! After much debate and exploring of options, we ended up with refrigerated trucks hauling our turf from Maryland. “Obviously without means to haul half pallets of sod from Mary- land over time, and having no sod farm at our park, we now buy grass grown on sand loam in Oklahoma and maintain it in our bullpens at the same time we service the fields. This allows us the opportunity to transition the new sod to our conditions. We designed the bullpens

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