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Sports turf management in the 21st century

News, Sport / 19th February 2020

Over the last few years, data collection has become an essential part of sports turf management practices. STRI consultant, Kelly-Marie Clack, tells us why it’s a game of numbers.

 

I often hear from clients how they use data collection to support their decision making and to accurately gauge what is happening on and below the playing surface.

 

On-site data collection

 

With the challenging climatic conditions we are currently facing, using data to reinforce these decisions is essential.

 

Where do you store this data?

Following a number of site visits the most common answers are bits of paper and numerous Excel spreadsheets. This is also true when it comes to fertiliser inputs and weather data.

 

However, most importantly I later discovered that this data is helping to make informed decisions at the time of collection, but is then simply discarded. Minimal archiving is taking place, in 2020 that should be an alien concept.

 

Data gets stored on bits of paper or numerous excel spreadsheets

 

 

What changes will affect us?

As an industry, we are going to face many changes regarding legislation, climatic conditions and water restrictions, so it has never been more important to collect data, analyse the data to identify trends and to help to safeguard the future of this incredible industry.

 

Taking accurate data over a long period of time is imperative to support our decision making, as restrictions change the way we approach a situation. We often hear from management and golfers that the surfaces are not performing as well as they usually do.

 

Why do the numbers matter?

Good data can be analysed and used as evidence to prove that the surface is performing to the same standards. If this is not true, well documented weather conditions can often be used to support these agronomic differences…Unfortunately we can’t control mother nature.

 

TurfSync portal displaying hardness and moisture readings

 

TurfSync sports performance tracker

We have rolled TurfSync out over several different sports venues over the last twelve months and the feedback is fantastic. TurfSync is a portal to store agronomic data, management practices, pesticide use, and to support this portal you can upgrade your TurfSync system with an environmental monitor. All your data is stored in one place and all your environmental data is uploaded straight to the cloud.

 

A game of numbers

The data can be used to identify trends from playing surface to playing surface, as well as surface performance from one year to the next. Environmental data can be inserted to run alongside this to offer reasoning behind any differential data.

 

TurfSync portal displaying environmental data

 

The tightening of regulations

As pesticide regulations become tighter, being able to plan application of fungicide, herbicides and insecticides has never been more important.  Having the ability to identify yearly trends in relation to leaf wetness, weather conditions and maintenance practices will support you with your decision making for years to come.

 

You can also upload and store images across the site. This will act as a visual diary of all the challenges and projects your club has undertaken to provide the best surfaces possible. It will include the environmental challenges and budgetary constraints we face in our day-to-day role.

 

Being able to identify yearly trends will support you with your decision making for years to come

 

The future looks challenging

The future of sports turf management is set to be challenging, so the more information we can collect now, the more benefit we will gain for the future.

 

Don’t just collect data to aid you in your management practices now, store that data and use this to identify site specific trends. Take a look at our video below to see how TurfSync could benefit your club.

 

 

At STRI Group we are passionate and dedicated to sports turf management, and through TurfSync we can help support you and your clubs, through the transitions we are currently facing and what is yet to come.

 

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Contact Kelly-Marie Clack for a chat and to arrange your free TurfSync Lunch ‘n Learn session on Twitter, call +44 (0) 7387 016122 or email kelly.clack@strigroup.com.