Post Conference Education

SFMA continues to provide education from our industry experts for 4 weeks following the conference. Every Tuesday at 2 pm EST and 3:30 pm EST we will host a session. Be sure to register for each session so you do not miss these learning opportunities.

2-3 pm EST
Pursuing Infill Depth Perfection in Synthetic Turf Systems
Thomas Shay, PE – Woodard & Curran


This session will identify shortcomings of synthetic turf infill installation results and how that translates to challenges in future operations and maintenance, impacting overall field performance and longevity. We will review field installation case studies where geolocated infill depth measurements and heat mapping indicate there is a need for improvement.

Attendees will understand limitations of current infill depth measurement practices and visually demonstrate (via heat mapping) how infill depths vary on existing and newly installed synthetic turf athletic fields.

Attendees will be able to identify lessons learned and areas for improvement in infill installations for oversight and implementation by the sports field manager that will lead to longer lasting and higher performing fields.

The session will provoke thoughts and discussion on how the industry can be better served by improving means, methods, equipment, and collaboration throughout the design and installation process.

The content covered in this session can be immediately implemented by the sports turf management staff and lead to higher quality and longevity in synthetic turf systems.

3:30-4:30 pm EST
Pesticide and Topdressing Calculations – It’s Only Cell Phone Math
Samuel Doak – Retired


This session will show several methods to solve a variety of active ingredient calculations with a range of formulations. Step by step methods will be used to solve the problems.

Attendees will learn how to:

-Calculate the amount of active ingredient to be applied in a variety of formulations using several methods.

-Calculate the amount of topdressing needed on any size area and any thickness used – from 1/8 inch to 3 inches mulch.

Attendees will have enough in session practice to be confident in calculations and to be able to teach someone else these skills.

1-3 pm EST
Let’s Clear Up the Confusion on Wetting Agents and Sports Turfgrass
Michael Fidanza, Ph.D. and Stan Kostka, Ph.D. – Penn State University


Soil surfactants (also referred to as wetting agents) are staples of turfgrass maintenance programs to treat localized dry spots, mitigate soil water repellency, and to improve rootzone water delivery, water use efficiency, nutrient access, and enhance overall plant health. The goal of this seminar is to provide sports field managers with an introduction into the basic concepts of soil water, the development of water repellency in soils, and basic principles on soil surfactant mode of action and their impacts to enhance water management and improve turfgrass performance, and how to make sense of all the soil surfactant products in the marketplace.

Attendees will gain:

-An understanding into the concepts of soil water dynamics with the turfgrass rootzone.

-Further insight into how the soil surfactants in today’s marketplace are classified and categorized.

3:30-4:30 pm EST
Expert Expectation Management for Sports Field Experts
Ryan DeMay, CSFM- Field Source Consulting


As Sports Field Managers we are always at the hub of the wheel that drives people, sports, and turfgrass. When all those things come together just right, it’s not luck. It takes fantastic people skills, consistent communication, and above all, managing expectations of all those around you. From basic cultural practices to annual maintenance programs to renovations and construction, managing expectations as the expert on staff is a skill that separates good from great.

In this seminar, we will take a deep dive into the most effective strategies and tactics for managing the expectations of our staff, administrators, front office staff, athletic directors, programmers, coaches, athletes, parents, contractors, vendors, and other stakeholders. Some of the strategies we will cover:

-Defining Success – With so many voices at the table, how do we clearly define and agree on what success looks like for fields and facilities? Hear all perspectives, identify common “wins”, and agree on achievable priorities, outcomes, and measurements for success.

-Cultural Practices and Capital Improvements – With success defined, how do we lay out the path to success for our fields to stakeholders? Frame the issues, present the benefits, sell the outcome.

-Delivering the Goods – Now with a solid plan is in place, how do we work through the challenges that come our way seemingly every day? Staying on track, over-communicating, and building trust.

-Reflecting and Forecasting – The season is over, the project is complete, but how do we know if we succeeded? Review our success measurements, get feedback from all stakeholders, prepare to do this ALL over again to make the fields and your staff even better!

By employing these strategies of properly managing expectations, Sports Field Managers can better position themselves as the trusted experts within our organizations who get the job done right, on time, and with integrity.

Regardless of the size of your organization, these strategies have been proven to reduce the anxiety and worry of the unknowns in our industry while increasing the trust and belief in our abilities as Sports Field Managers.

Attendees will:

-Understand the influence they have as Sports Field Managers to properly set and manage expectations within their organizations.

-Learn how to employ a “customer-first” attitude when managing expectations with staff, administrators, coaches, and other stakeholders.

-Leave feeling confident about their role as Sports Field Managers to guide their organization’s process for consistently producing safe, high-quality, playable sports fields.

2-3 pm EST
Opening Minds to Technology
Mike Hales, CSFM – Brigham Young University


This presentation aims to open people’s minds to how the use of technology can help to make their jobs easier. It targets those who say that they “don’t do technology” and shows them that they can learn new things that will help them to do their job.

This presentation will:

-Open attendee’s minds to how technology can help them do their job better.

-Give attendees specific suggestions of new technologies that can improve their facility.

-Encourage attendees to think of new better ways of doing things.

3:30-4:30 pm EST
Water Management: Cutting-Edge Tools You May Be Missing
Colin Campbell, Ph.D. – METER Group, Inc., Bryan Hopkins, Ph.D. – Brigham Young University, Neil Hansen, Ph.D. – Brigham Young University


In this presentation, we will discuss uniting direct measurements of soil water potential and local weather conditions with remote sensing and machine learning to provide better advice to managers on when and how much to water. We will back these concepts with real world examples from sports fields on the BYU campus.

Attendees will:

-Understand how multiple tools can be combined to provide confidence in irrigation decisions.

-Learn how advanced technology can be used to evaluate existing irrigation schemes and drive adjustment to produce better performing turfgrass.

-Benefit from a case study showing how technology was deployed and leveraged to support the success of sport field managers

2-3 pm EST
Developing Weed Control Strategies for Your Facility
Jim Brosnan, Ph.D. – University of Tennessee, Gerald Henry, Ph.D. – University of Georgia


Developing an effective weed control program is a skill that is becoming increasingly important for sports field managers. Similar to what is implemented with disease management, an effective weed control program allows turfgrass managers to maintain weed-free turfgrass (or as closely as possible) of optimal quality from January – December. Effective programs not only make use of different herbicide technologies varying in mode of action, but also implement effective cultural management practices such as fertilization, aerification, irrigation, and mowing. This session will teach attendees how to build effective weed control programs for the southern United States.

Attendees will:

-Learn how to build a weed control program for their facility that integrates timely herbicide applications with appropriate cultural practices to minimize weed infestation.

-Understand the benefits (and capability) of rotating herbicide modes of action over time to prevent resistance.

-Learn the strengths and weaknesses of the newest herbicides entering the turfgrass marketplace and how they fit into weed control programs.

3:30-4:30 pm EST
Revitalizing Your School District Sports Fields
Paul Cushing – Paul Cushing Sports Turf Agronomic Consulting Services


This presentation is designed to help Sports Field Managers at the School District level in assisting them to rejuvenate their sports fields. This presentation touches upon weed control, animal abatement, soil testing, soil fertility programs, renovation programs (aerification and verticutting), proper height of cut (HOC), topdressing and seasonal scheduling for school district employees. This session will also include many case studies with school district sports fields over the past year with before, during and after pictures to illustrate points and give Sports Field Managers practical knowledge to empower change to their own school district fields.

Attendees will take home: Strong understanding of diagnosing broadleaf & grassy weeds and the control methods needed to create a monostand of turfgrass. Animal control and strategies for minimizing their affect. The importance of taking soil samples and the interpretation of important aspects of the results which include water movement, sodium management and availability of nutrients in the soil.