SFMA launches The Institute of SportsField Management

The Institute of SportsField Management (The Institute) is the industry’s central hub promoting field safety and the sports turf profession at large. A collection of resources covering all aspects of operations is available to match the growing responsibilities of Sports Turf Managers Association (SFMA) members, as they advance to comprehensive facility managers. From technical resources covering natural turfgrass and synthetic surfaces to professional development and management resources, The Institute promotes a shared vision by contributing best practices and insights for the greater good.

SFMA has identified a portfolio of subject-matter areas that helps form the foundation of the industry. Partnering with complementary associations, individuals greatly benefit from The Institute with fresh content on the subjects of professionalism, career development, communications, stadium operations, facility construction, event management, ticket sales and more. Some examples:

  1. Athlete and Sports Field Safety – The number one responsibility of a sports turf manager is to ensure the safety of the playing surface for athletes. SFMA members are consistently challenged to apply field management practices that contribute to safer surfaces. Equally important is maintaining a safe work environment and facility for staff and spectators.
  2. Benefits of Natural Grass – SFMA supports the management of natural grass fields and provides numerous resources within The Institute to provide members with key information about the benefits and maintenance of natural grass. Teaming with Athletic Management, SFMA provides a digital “Guide to Grass Field Maintenance” containing an annual plan and tips to develop and maintain high-quality, safe natural grass playing fields.

III.       Construction – Whether an organization is designing a brand-new facility or reconstructing an old field, The Institute has information for achieving a successful playing surface. Properly constructed athletic fields provide long lasting and safe playing surfaces especially when managed by seasoned professionals.

  1. Cultural Practices – The Institute provides members with a portfolio of cultural best practices for managing athletic fields – mowing, irrigation and water conservation, fertility, soil cultivation and topdressing, seeding, and organic and integrated pest management practices. Individuals are provided with valuable insights for keeping their fields pristine and healthy.
  2. Environmental Stewardship – As the public becomes more aware of the environmental issues facing the world today, facilities are under increased pressure to use eco-friendly practices. SFMA recognizes the importance of environmental stewardship and supports member and facility efforts through a new version of its Environmental Facility Certification Program, best management practices, infographics and environmental principles.
  3. Field Dimensions – Sports turf managers are often tasked with managing facilities for many different disciplines. The Institute provides the official dimensions for each type of field, so every professional knows exactly how to prepare a playing surface for every sport and any level.

VII.      Professional Development – Turfgrass management is a business and its managers have challenges with staffing, human resources, leadership, career development, training, budgeting and so on. The Institute provides tools that help individuals working with their crew, managing the facility and growing their individual careers. Having recognized the importance of professionalism, SFMA developed a program for its members to be respected as leaders in the business as a Certified Sports Field Manager (CSFM). Becoming a CSFM challenges members’ knowledge of managing fields and meeting the challenge contributes to professional advancement for the member.

VIII.     Sports Field Rootzones – The Institute provides pertinent information pertaining to turfgrass rootzones, soil testing, compaction, and drainage. Understanding rootzone composition and the nutrients available in the soil helps sports turf managers make better choices about field maintenance practices regarding nutrient application, proper drainage, and soil cultivation.

  1. Synthetic Turf – The Institute aims to provide industry professionals with unbiased information to make informed decisions about synthetic turf grounds. Included is a guide to the selection, construction and maintenance considerations of choosing between synthetic and natural turfgrass for facilities.
  2. Technical Resources – Numerous technical resources are provided for sports turf managers to learn from their peers through online education, webinars, videos and podcasts. The Institute also provides the “Playing Conditions Index” developed by SFMA to help its members assess the playability of fields.
  3. Turfgrasses – Turfgrass management is dependent upon the climate and soil of a particular site. The Institute provides information about turfgrass selection based on climate, desired quality and maintenance level that fit the needs of sports facilities.

The Institute brings the entire industry to one central location for pertinent information and educational resources. As the industry evolves, the organization will continue providing new resources to ensure its members have the most up-to-date information on new technology and turfgrass management techniques. SFMA is the trusted industry partner working to advance the industry, and the creation of The Institute is a significant step to guide the evolution of the business.

We’d like for you to be an integral part of this launch. Log onto your social media accounts and tell us what new topics you’d like to see included in The Institute. Use the hashtag #TurfTips and tag @FieldExperts.

Additionally, keep an eye out for a series of communications asking you to share what your highest priority items are. This way, we know which topic areas are most important to you in your career growth.

For more information about The Institute or to access its resources, visit stma.org/institute.