Camlawrie’s Weblog

Down, Set, Hike! – Fixing Your Divots Might Be Too Much To Ask

According to its website, the Guelph Turfgrass Institute (GTI) was established in 1987 to conduct research and extension and provide information on turfgrass production and management to members of the Ontario turfgrass industry.  The GTI is located approximately at the intersection of College Ave. And Victoria Rd. right here in Guelph, Ontario.  I don’t really know what its actual address is, and it doesn’t really matter for the context of this article, all that matters is that you can tell when you’re passing by it because of the beautiful, sprawling greenery leading up to its front door.  It’s some of the most beautiful grass I have ever seen.  This summer there was even two gorgeous soccer fields that were there to test the latest in high traffic turf quality.  Even in August, the soccer pitches were still immaculate.  One of my friends from home mistook it for a high-end golf course because of how nice the grass looked.  Let’s rewind the tape for a second and go back almost exactly one calendar year.

“When a university is born out of the Ontario Agricultural College and is home to the world class Guelph Turfgrass Institute, to have anything less than a beautifully groomed and manicured football field is almost inexcusable.”

Guelp returning the ball during the 100th Yates Cup - but what about that grass?

Guelp returning the ball during the 100th Yates Cup - but what about that grass?

The above is the lead from the article “Kicking Grass”, written just before last year’s 100th Yates Cup football championship.  The article goes on to explain how a carefully orchestrated team of grounds workers and athletics staff worked feverishly to prepare the football field so that it looked it’s best for the first playoff game hosted by the University of Guelph in 21 years.  I work for athletics and even had a small hand in preparing the stadium for that game.

I do have one small concern though.  And I want you to know, the context is not lack of pride, rather it is excessiveness of pride, if excessiveness is a proper English word.  To be blunt, the turf wasn’t beautifully groomed and manicured, and that, is inexcusable, because it could have been better.  The field could have been just as immaculate as those soccer fields.  Failed potential always irritates me.  From what I understand, in the midst of the live telecast during last year’s Yates Cup, one topic of the colour commentary was the dismal state of the turf.  And it was pretty dismal again this year, with the exception of the Home opener, since the field hadn’t been played on since that game.

Guelph kicking off to Western during the 100th Yates Cup

Guelph kicking off to Western during the 100th Yates Cup

The solution the athletics crew came up with to solve this problem was simple –  Let the GTI take care of the football field.  I don’t mean to suggest that the grounds crew is incapable of caring for the field, or that they don’t have pride in their field, because believe me they do.  It is the most precious couple of acres to them on the entire campus, but they just don’t have the capacity to give it the attention it deserves.  Think of how good our field might look under the care of the GTI.  Think of how good all the athletic fields might look under the care of the GTI.  I’ll say it again; the fields could have been just as immaculate as those soccer fields.  And, it could be like a co-op kind of thing.  The GTI could set aside placements for its students to learn firsthand what it takes to keep turf looking the best it possibly can, while earning credits!  If I were a GTI student, I think it’d be pretty cool to have the oppourtunity to brag about how good my field looked on TV.  Such a program would undoubtedly have positive benefits for the GTI.  For starters, when the colour commentators say “Wow, this field sure looks great, I wonder who maintains it?” on national TV, the answer would be “The Guelph Turfgrass Institute”.   Publicity, publicity, publicity.  Hopefully the next time the Gryphons host the Yates Cup, the commentators can say “Wow, Check out that grass… It looks great!”.


1 Comment so far
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Cam, they’re going to make you a dean if you keep coming up with such practical suggestions. This one makes sense all around. Was it actually proposed to administration?

You write with passion and substance. It’s a delight to read.

Comment by Prof. Roberts

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