Evaluating an outdoor athletic facility

Do you have a problem with your sports field? Here's a form you can use to help find out just what is wrong.

"What a terrific field!" You've heard it before and probably have said it yourself. Whether we're spectators, players or television viewers, we judge the field conditions. And the manager of that sports facility usually gets blamed for poor quality - unless mother nature has recently unleashed her fury.

What's the problem? Those in charge - the owner or superintendent, the game manager or the maintenance crew - need to identify the problem(s) so they can correct and improve the situation.

- Is it physical - the site, soil or poor drainage?

- Is it cultural - the wrong turf species, poor establishment or maintenance practices?

- Is it use - heavy traffic, overuse, wear or misuse?

- Is it money - lack of or mishandled?

- Or is it management? Often, this is the real key.

To better evaluate athletic facilities, I developed a site evaluation for patterned after a form I used in turfgrass management classes at SIU-C and a turf-site evaluation form Kent Kurtz uses at Cal Poly - Pomona. The form, "Site and program evaluation of an outdoor athletic facility," accompanies this article. If you have a problem athletic field, why don't you try using the form?

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