March 2014

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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16 SportsTurf | March 2014 Facility & Operations Now, unless you're taking attendance or giving pop quizzes, more and more students simply don't come to class, and it's only on exam days that your realize how large of a class it is. The fact that during lectures you are elaborating on the presentations, having meaningful discussions, and per- haps giving additional testable material doesn't matter to many students when you are spoon feeding them otherwise. From my perspective, I feel that we don't have as many out- standing students as we used to, and that the overall quality of students has declined over the past several years. ST: What have been the most significant changes in turf- grass maintenance you've experienced in your years at Michigan State? Gilstrap: From my perspective, it's been the increased ex- pectations of sports fields, both in appearance and playabil- ity. This, in my opinion, has been urged on by the turf managers themselves who have shown just how good athletic fields can be. Learning and adhering to the basics can carry you a long way. Now it's at the big-time stadiums that field maintenance has evolved to an elite level of expertise that is specific to us. I mean, that's not a golf course that had to host back-to-back major, major events like the Rose Bowl does this year. And, except for Willie Nelson's, golf courses aren't used for con- certs. It's also at this level, and we're speaking of my particular expertise, that fungicide use has become rampant. On a per unit area, there are MLB teams applying more fungicides than even golf greens get. The manager's rationale is "It's a relatively small area, I'm not that good with diseases, and I can't afford a screw up." I know that we're talking about en- closed areas, but this is Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass or bermudagrass—not creeping bentgrass and an- nual bluegrass, both of which are much more disease suscep- tible than Kentucky or bermuda. ST: What's been special about your program? Gilstrap: It was the first program to focus primarily on MICHIGAN STATE'S DR. DAVID GILSTRAP: NO HOLDS BARRED ON THE SPORTS TURF INDUSTRY Editor's note: Dr. David Gilstrap has been teaching turf students at Michigan State since 1993 and after 21 years he is stepping down as coordinator of the 2-year turf program having been a major influence on many of the most successful turf managers working today. SportsTurf: What have been the most significant changes in turfgrass education you've experienced in your years at Michigan State? Gilstrap: As far as formal education, the most significant changes have occurred in classroom technology and the meth- ods by which instructors are expected to teach. Early on, I used transparencies or the blackboard, and the students had to take notes. Now, my PowerPoints are posted on the web so that students can print them off ahead of lecture and use to them to take notes. Fewer and fewer of them seem to be even doing that, however. Heather Nabozny, left, head groundskeeper for the Detroit Tigers and a former Gilstrap student, with David at Comerica Park in 2008.

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