July 2015

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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50 SportsTurf | July 2015 Where do you get the questions for the Q&A? How long does it take you to write the column? A a recent STMA meeting in Charlotte, NC, during a bus ride between our morning "inside program" and our afternoon field tour, a couple of folks around me started asking me questions about what I do. These are usually fun topics when I am out with field managers as most people think University faculty spend half their day teaching students and the other half playing golf. I responded that I teach students back at the University but only in the fall semes- ter, give talks to turf managers (I quizzed them to see if they remembered anything from my earlier talk), help turf manag- ers in various extension efforts, research turf culture, and write papers. One of the guys mentioned that he really enjoyed my "Q&A" columns on this page of SportsTurf magazine. Then someone asked the two questions that started this column. In all the years of writing these "Q&A" columns, I do not remember ever being asked about the mechanics of doing so. Reading Dr. Dave Minner's final "Q&A" column a few months ago caused me to reflect on my own writing experiences over the past 15 years. I concluded that some things have certainly changed. For instance, in the early years most of the questions came from everyday sports turf managers calling my office phone. Today, when my office phone rings it sometimes startles me since it rings so infrequently. It has been replaced by the regular buzz of my vibrating cell phone. In fact, I doubt office land lines will be around too much longer. The past 10-12 years, e-mail has been the primary delivery method for ques- tions. I think it is easier for turf managers to sit in front of a computer whatever time fits their schedule, compose their question with all the needed detail, and then add pictures to illustrate points as needed. Part of the reason I feel this way is because I get more e-mail questions on Sunday than any other day of the week. For many, the day of rest has become a day to reflect and ask questions. Since we now get e-mails on our smart phones, I suspect that e-mail will remain a popular means for delivering questions. In the past year, I have noticed a strong uptick in texting questions and pictures. In some groups, social media has also become popular as a way to ask questions. The information streams that have been developed the past 20 years are probably the biggest change we have seen in our society. As for who asks these questions, there are people in this industry that I have known for many years that routinely challenge me with questions. Many of you know the type—the sage sports turf manager that is a deep thinker on the what, where, and why in sports turf management. I appreciate conversation with those distinguished managers as well as the newbie that is trying to figure out the basics. There are rarely ever bad questions. Some questions are just more routine than others. I get questions almost daily and respond to them as quickly as possible. After writing a response, if the question seems like one that I may want to use for a future Q&A, I usually drop it into a folder on my computer. When my due date for a Q&A is a week or so away, I usually look into that folder for a question unless I have a recent one in front of me that needs a written response. So, now to that second question; how long does it take to write a column? I am not an especially fast or gifted writer, so I am probably not a good comparison if you are trying to determine how long it will take you to write a column for your chapter newsletter. I rarely write a column in one sitting. I sometimes ruminate over a question for a day or two before get- ting started. Then I sit down and without stopping, write as complete of a response as I can from my experiences plus maybe checking a few sources. Sometimes this process may take me an hour, other times half a day. Then I close the file and move on to something else. I then try to revisit the column again a few days later. I will open up the file and start editing it at the beginning. Sometimes I think the column just needs a few word or sentence changes and other times I may re-write most of the first draft. At this point I am usually near the edi- torial deadline to submit the column, so I send it to Eric, the magazine's editor, for final editing. Occasionally my deadline is a few days away so I may put it aside a sec- ond time and then go back over it again. There is no doubt that the more time I spend reviewing it, the better it will read and the fewer errors that Eric has to clean up. How much time for July 2015 "Q&A"? Two sittings, total of 5 hours. In that time, I did stop and respond to a few other questions. Thanks for reading. ■ ST WRITING THE "Q&A" Q&A with Dr. Grady Miller Questions? Send them to Grady Miller at North Carolina State University, Box 7620, Raleigh, NC 27695-7620, or email Or, send your question to Pamela Sherratt at 202 Kottman Hall, 2001 Coffey Road, Columbus, OH 43210 or Professor, North Carolina State University Part of the reason I feel this way is because I get more e-mail questions on Sunday than any other day of the week. For many, the day of rest has become a day to reflect and ask questions .

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