The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

The Good, Better and Best of Hoses !

Delivering water to your field effectively is crucial…

It may be time to replace that old field hose you’ve been using. But what type of hose should you replace it with? We can help. We have years of hands-on experience with the various hoses we sell. All have been rigorously tested at our research facility at the West Madison Little League in Madison, Wisconsin. At the WMLL, our hoses are exposed to the elements all day long — every day — and they get the full abuse. They are left on the infields from April through October where they are plugged in and used several times a day to hydrate the infield skins. Our irrigation system operating pressure is 90 psi. We have taken note about how long each of these hoses typically lasts and in what way they may fail over time as they wear. Based on this real-world testing, along with customer feedback and tendencies, we have ranked the hoses with a “Good-Better-Best” rating.


GOOD.

GH Field Hose: Max working pressure 150 psi. 100′ one inch diameter hose weighs 32 lbs. The GH Hose uses a PVC inner lining that is encased in another layer of PVC that is reinforced with a polyester yarn. This hose is often hard to handle in colder weather. With age it will typically blister between the two layers of PVC and with time, will then burst. Average length of life for our testing facility was 1 ½ to 3 years.


BETTER.

ProFlex HoseMax working pressure 150 psi. 100’ one inch diameter hose weighs 42 lbs. The ProFlex is our premium PVC hose that has a rubber feel to it. Yeah, this hose is heavy but it is extremely durable. This hose has blown away the competition in longevity at our testing facility lasting anywhere from 8 to 10 years!!! These hoses we use especially for manual irrigation all over our complex so these hoses are often dragged all over. They really resist abrasion better than any of our other hoses. The only reason these were not rated as the best hose is because 7 times out of 10, groundskeepers who call Beacon about ordering hoses will choose by weight over longevity. When these hoses finally fail on us it is usually from pin holes that develop in the hose material itself that then slowly grow with time. As you can guess, the ProFlex is also quite the wrestling match for ground crews when colder weather is in place.


Beacon Athletics

BEST.

Ultralite High Pressure HoseMax working pressure 300 psi. 100’ one inch diameter hose weighs 18 lbs. The Ultralite is the lightest weight of all hoses and our most popular selling hose because of it. When this hose came on the market I was very skeptical, thinking the cloth-like exterior would be easily punctured. The Ultralite hose has an abrasion resistant woven polyester cover. The interior bladder has a helical reinforcement in order for it to retain it’s shape. The full flow couplings on the hose reduce friction loss in the flow of water through the couplings. I was pleasantly surprised at how well this hose performed and not surprised at how well it sells. All groundskeepers love a light hose, and that makes this hose an easy favorite. Additionally we found this hose to still handle fairly easily when in the cold months. It rarely, if ever, kinks. I was also surprised at how long this hose usually lasted — 3 to 4 years under the heavy use and abuse that we throw at it. This is a much tougher hose then one would think by just looking at it. Hoses usually failed on us by a collapse of the inner bladder drastically reducing water flow in the hose and making it very hard to drain. (Also see Should you buy an Ultralite High-Pressure hose?)


Your field hose delivers the most vital and important lifeblood to your ballfield — water. Through testing we perform on a daily basis at our research facility, we hope this information can make it much easier for you to choose the hose that best fits what you and your ballfield needs. For many, it comes down to the combination of longevity and operator health/comfort. That’s what we based our rankings on. A hose that increases operator fatigue yet lasts “forever” doesn’t necessarily gain points with ground crews. Ultimately, it is up to the head groundskeeper — do you want longevity at any cost, or is crew speed and fatigue more important to you?NOTE: All of the hoses listed above are able to be repaired on the coupling ends or in the middle of the hose using repair kits available through Beacon. The one exception is the Ultralite hose which does not have a repair kit for replacing couplings or for mid-hose repair.

View Hose & Nozzle Options

Paul Zwaska

Paul Zwaska

A former head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles, Paul graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1984 with a Bachelor’s in Soil Science with a specialty in Turf & Grounds Management. Paul took over as head groundskeeper for the Orioles’ final season at old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore and then was heavily involved throughout the design and construction phases of Oriole Park at Camden Yards which debuted on April 4, 1992. Paul has led Technical Sales Support at Beacon Athletics since the summer of 2000. In 2012, Paul authored and oversaw the launch of “Groundskeeper University”, the first online ballfield maintenance training venue. Over the years, Paul has donated thousands of hours working with West Madison Little League, which also plays a critical role in the research and development for many of Beacon’s innovative field maintenance tools.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

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Youth Travel Sports Boom Continues; Sports Facilities Management (SFM) Responds with Launch of Largest Network of Sports Tourism Complexes in United States !

CLEARWATER, Fla., June 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — As the youth travel sports ‘boom’ continues its steep climb to a predicted $30 billion industry by 2025 (Wintergreen Research, Inc), manufacturers, developers, architects, and related professional services firms are expanding to meet the increased demand or angling to get the in the game. Many communities have announced intentions to plan or source professional management services for their new facilities including Memphis, TN; Bedford Park, IL; Clermont, FL; and Eugene, OR among hundreds of others. In response to this industry growth, the leading outsourced management group, the Sports Facilities Management (SFM), has announced the launch of the SFM Network, the largest and fastest growing network of sports tourism facilities in the United States.

“The travel sports industry has accelerated the pace of expansion and is far from reaching its peak,” states Jason Clement, SFM CEO. “There is an ocean of opportunity for new facilities, events, and suppliers to capitalize on this trend, especially West of the Mississippi. With almost 25 million visits to destinations we have worked with, we understand this won’t always be the case. A consolidation will be coming, and we believe strength in numbers, the ability to turn competitors into collaborators, and being part of an expanding network will be an important component to sustained success for communities investing in travel sports complexes.”

A primary meeting place for communities, new destinations, and event owners, industry conferences like the Connect Sports Marketplace and TEAMS by Sports Travel have expanded their content to adjust to the increased demand for expertise in this niche market. The National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC) was recently renamed to Sports and Events Travel Association (Sports ETA) during their annual conference in May and also featured its first annual facilities-only program. Also in May, a new conference in this space called the Convention, Sports, and Entertainment Facilities conference was held in San Diego, CA.

“The increased demand and competition amongst communities and event owners has had an effect at every level of the industry,” comments Al Kidd, President and CEO of the Sports ETA. “At our 2019 conference we hosted more than 1,000 attendees and 35 unique educational sessions.”

During the 2019 NASC annual conference, the SFM Network was unveiled during an invitation-only launch event. Many premier sports tourism facilities in the US were represented by SFM staff and clients during the event, including properties in Sandusky, OH, Gatlinburg, TN, Rocky Mount, NC, Myrtle Beach, SC, and Panama City Beach, FL were among the estimated dozen destinations. The firm reports their managed facilities are predicted to generate more than $1 billion in economic impact in the next 5 years through youth travel sports related spending alone.

“The landscape for communities and event owners has really evolved with the rise in tournament facilities,” said Ashley Whittaker, Vice President of Business Development and Marketing For SFM. “SFM Network is a platform for facilities to stand out in an increasingly competitive market place and is designed to create mutually beneficial relationships for event owners, facilities, communities, vendors, and talented personnel.”

For more information on The Sports Facilities Management, the SFM Network, and to book an event in one of the SFM Network facilities, please visit www.sfmnetwork.com. If you are considering or are in the process of developing a travel sports destination and would like to learn more, email info@sfmnetwork.com.

Sports Facilities Management, LLC (SFM) and Sports Facilities Advisory, LLC (SFA) are headquartered in Clearwater, Florida. SFA has produced more than $10 Billion in institutional-grade financial forecasts for youth and amateur sports complexes. SFM provides industry-leading, results-driven management solutions for sports, fitness, recreation and event venues nationwide. For more information, visit: www.sportadvisory.com

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It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

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The 7 Tips for Wet Fields !

The Ongoing Battle Rages On…

Thanks to the often-squishy sound beneath my feet as I walk the ballfields at our nearby Little League park, the first month or so of the season is typically a bit of an adventure. Even as summer starts to show up and warmer days become the norm, most groundskeepers have been battling (and many continue the battle) against the same thing … wet fields. What is a groundskeeper to do to keep his or her fields dry and get them playable as quickly as possible?

HERE ARE 7 TIPS FOR WET FIELDS:

    1. Winds can build up soil and topdressing materials into the lips of the infield skin. These lips will drastically affect the drainage of water off of your infield skin so be sure to regularly clean out all lips (see our Groundskeeper U module on Lip Management).
    2. Make sure the surface of the skin is smooth and level. Fall can be a great time to re-level your infield skin so there are no low spots in the skin which will collect water. This exercise best prepares your field for rapid water removal.
    3. If your infield was not regraded last fall, go out to the field right after a rain while there are still puddles on the infield skin and, using a rake, carve the outline of each puddle. When dry, nail drag the infield avoiding the low spots so you can find them, then use the loose infield soil to fill these low areas to help the water move off the infield more effectively.
    4. When it’s early in the spring, you need to wait until the field has lost all frost in the soil profile before attempting any work on the skin portion. If it’s too soft to walk on, you should not be on it.
    5. If your field is in the northern part of the country — where there’s a noteworthy depth of frost each year (3″ or more) — be sure to roll the field early, once it has dried enough to help seal the field back up so water will run off the field more easily.

Beacon Athletics

  1. Keep some calcined clay drying agents around for those emergencies. But if the puddles are large or deep, then use some puddle sponges or a puddle pump to remove excess water leaving just very shallow wet areas where drying agents can then work their magic.
  2. Whatever you do, NEVER use brooms to sweep excess water off your infield soil (see Top 6 Most Common Groundskeeping Mistakes). You will only be worsening the surface grade of the skin by sweeping more soil out which will create an even deeper hole for water to stand in. This will also cause build up of the lips which, even worse, creates a bigger dam along the turf edge. Save the brooms and squeegees for the turf grass only.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

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Windsor Locks voters approve tax break for sports complex !

WINDSOR LOCKS, CT.Voters on Wednesday backed a plan to create a Tax Increment Financing district in the area of the proposed All Sports Village complex at the east end of the Route 20 corridor.

The vote was 969-719.

The sports complex, initially pitched to residents last July, will bring $27 million in spending to the town within five years, according to a study commissioned by the developer and performed by consulting firm Sports Facilities Advisory.

First Selectman Christopher Kervick and developer Andrew Borgia, principal of JABS Sports Management, have made it clear that the deal would require the establishment of a TIF district, which would allow the town to deposit new property taxes collected from the business into a special fund and then use that money to subsidize the business and make infrastructure improvements to the surrounding area.

Kervick has said the arrangement wouldn’t hurt the town, as the tax money the town would rebate to the business would be new funds, and those who visit the sports complex — which is to include several amenities for young athletes and their families — would spend money locally.

Residents who’ve supported the complex at public hearings have argued that it is an opportunity for economic growth in town and would attract new residents.

But other residents raised a host of concerns about the TIF arrangement and the complex itself. Some oppose bringing in a business that is unable or unwilling to operate without such abatements, while others have said the complex would disturb neighbors and strain local resources.

The vote originally was to take place at a town meeting, but more than 300 residents signed a petition to force the referendum. Carl Schiessl, a former state senator who led that effort, also has raised concerns about contamination to the Waterworks Brook, a protected property neighboring the proposed site of the complex.

At Wednesday’s referendum, a majority of the almost 1,700 voters who came out supported the idea; several voters were still shuffling in and out of Town Hall only minutes before the polls closed.

After the vote, Kervick took to Windsor Locks Moving Forward, a Facebook page that he uses to communicate about various town issues, to comment on how the town would proceed.

“Many legitimate questions have been raised and we have to work together, within the framework of our land-use laws and the regulations of our local land use agencies to answer each of them,” he said. “We don’t know where that process will lead us, but we know that wherever it leads us we must get there with patience, mutual respect, and hard work.”

The town now must negotiate an agreement with JABS Sports Management as to what percentage of its tax money will be rebated each year. The agreement allows for a rebate of up to 90 percent, though the town could negotiate a lower number.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

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FLOODING: 9 Keys to Recovering Your Ballfields !

How to Recover When Your Field Floods…

Every year there are many major challenges that confront the sports field manager: Late winter snow storms, frost depths, Bombogenesis Nor’easters, severe storms and tornadoes, heavy rains, and flooding. All work against field managers in meeting their deadlines to have their fields up and running on time, regardless of the season or sport. None of these weather events is more damaging and debilitating than a major flood on a sports field. It doesn’t matter if you have natural or artificial turf on your field, a flood is likely going to mean a whole lot of hard work ahead.

There are two primary types of flooding.The first involves a constantly moving body of water across your field. While this can reduce the amount of sediment that will settle out on your playing surface, it could also wash out your skinned infield if you have a baseball or softball field, depending on the speed and movement of the water. Moving water can also do tremendous damage to artificial turf by floating the turf upward and then pushing it into ripples or piles on the field surface.

The second type of flooding involves the rise and eventual fall of a fairly stagnant pond of flood water. This type of flooding will likely deposit a layer of silt and clay wherever the flood water exists since there is no current to keep the silt and clay suspended. This layer can suffocate turfgrass and seal up even the best drainage systems depending on how thick the layer is and how quickly it can be removed after the flood event.


9 KEY STEPS to recovering your fields after a flood:


Beacon Multiplex Flooding

    1. THE GOLDEN RULE: STAY OFF THE FIELD until all water is off and the ground is firm enough to support motorized equipment.
    2. Remove all large debris left behind by the flood.
    3. If sediment was deposited on the field, remove as much as possible on both grass areas and skinned infield areas. Scoop up and then wash off any remaining sediment on the turf blades immediately before the sediment dries too much.
    4. With the majority of the sediment removed,cultivate the field to further remove and dilute any remaining sediment. Aerify with hollow tines. Collect the cores and apply topdressing using clean soil that is identical or slightly more coarse than existing soil. Drag the topdressing in and finish with a nice roll to ensure a smooth playing field.
    5. If the turfgrass was badly damaged from the flood, then overseeding or sprigging in concert with the aerification process is the perfect answer to thickening your turf back to it’s previous glory.
    6. A flood will leach vital nutrients out of the soil. Remember to temporarily amp up your fertility program to build your nutrients back to proper levels for your turf and to assist the turf stand in it’s recovery.

Beacon Multiplex Flooding

  1. Flood waters can transport billions of weed seeds.Regularly scout your turf areas as recovery progresses. Chemically treat only if needed. As your turf stand recovers, the increased turf density should out compete most weeds.
  2. If flooding occurs during warm and humid weather, be alert for elevated disease activity due to ideal conditions and if possible treat preventatively as the existing turfgrass that survived will still be working to regain it’s strength and vigor.
  3. If you maintain an artificial turf field, flooding likely did some serious damage. Be sure to consult with your insurance company. Much of the remediation and repair may well be covered. But even then, it will still take an extended period of time to put the field back into play and make it safe for usage. Be sure to conduct a drainage analysis to gauge the status of the usually extensive drainage system. A certified installer for the type of turf system you have should be involved in evaluating what steps are needed to bring the artificial surface safely back on line.

Most importantly, after you have gone through an event like this at your facility, conduct a review of the event to identify what could have been done differently in the future to minimize damage to the facility and to ensure the safety of all who work and play there should a similar event happen again. Write up a plan, distribute it to all involved, and be sure that each person knows their responsibility to protect life and property.

The National Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) and it’s charitable wing, the SAFE Foundation, have issued an excellent 5-page bulletin dealing with flooding on sports fields. Some of which was used for this blog. Click the button below to go to this well thought out information piece for sports fields managers and good luck during the sometimes violent weather ahead.

View Flood Recovery Products STMA Bulletin on Flooding

Paul Zwaska

Paul Zwaska

A former head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles, Paul graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1984 with a Bachelor’s in Soil Science with a specialty in Turf & Grounds Management. Paul took over as head groundskeeper for the Orioles’ final season at old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore and then was heavily involved throughout the design and construction phases of Oriole Park at Camden Yards which debuted on April 4, 1992. Paul has led Technical Sales Support at Beacon Athletics since the summer of 2000. In 2012, Paul authored and oversaw the launch of “Groundskeeper University”, the first online ballfield maintenance training venue. Over the years, Paul has donated thousands of hours working with West Madison Little League, which also plays a critical role in the research and development for many of Beacon’s innovative field maintenance tools.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

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WOOD IS GOOD! The Return of a Timeless Tool !

One of the biggest surprises from the last STMA conference was the excitement created by a product we are reintroducing for 2019. This product had been absent from our catalog since 2007, but it really brings back fond memories for me. So much so that when our original manufacturer ceased production nearly 12 years ago, I refused to give up in finding a new supplier and, finally, my persistence was rewarded last spring. I’ve been itching to get this underrated product back in front of the groundskeeping masses ever since. In fact, I’ve been getting teased a bit here at Beacon because of my unbridled love for this classic product and my unrelenting quest to find a new manufacturer. So what product am I talking about? The venerable Wooden Field Rake.My first memories of the wooden rake go back to my teenage days when I would frequent Wrigley Field in the 1970s. As I studied the ground crew, watching what they were doing, I noticed they were finessing their way around the infield skin with these wooden rakes — smoothing and grooming the skin to perfection.Beacon AthleticsFast forward to 1985. That was the year I joined the Baltimore Orioles as the assistant head groundskeeper. I was elated to find out they, too, were using the same wooden rakes — and everyone guarded their own rakes. It was very personal. You didn’t mess with each other’s rake. Each person would put some type of identification on the rake to let others know to keep their mitts off it. I found this phenomenon comical at first, but I very quickly fell in love with the wooden rake and became very protective of my rake.

Most importantly, I discovered how awesome these rakes were for maintaining a field. First, they’re lightweight, which makes them easier to maneuver while causing less fatigue. When you flip the rake over to float an area, you have a nice wooden float that does the trick — much easier and more precise than the thin edge of an aluminum rake. Plus, if you need a narrower grooming rake — like when prepping to inlay pieces of sod — you can easily remove a few teeth to make the rake as narrow as you need it to be. They’re great for use on any part of the infield skin, the warning track or even for removing aeration cores in the turf after aerification. Truth is, we had a couple aluminum rakes, but they were rarely used. Instead, we all preferred the versatile wooden rake.

Beacon Athletics

When I left the Orioles, I immediately introduced the wooden rake to Beacon Athletics and it became a mainstay of our field maintenance tools for many years. That is, until our supplier’s 100-year-old machine used to manufacture the rake became permanently and irreparably broken.

So, when a new supplier had been found and we were finally able to unveil the wooden rake at the STMA show in Phoenix, I have to admit, even I was blown away at the response. The reaction from groundskeepers was genuine excitement — and some, you might say, were flat-out giddy, including current Orioles Head Groundskeeper Nicole Sherry (pictured below). It may not look like it, but trust me, she IS excited!

Beacon AthleticsOne question that always comes up with the wooden rake is, “won’t they break easily if you toss them around like other tools?” The best way to handle that possibly is to give each crew member their own rake. Much like our Orioles crew, they’ll take ownership over his or her rake, putting markings or tape uniquely on the handle to identify it as “theirs”. They’ll want to take care it to keep it in top shape and won’t be quite so cavalier about tossing it around. And if the teeth do break, it’s no problem. Replacing teeth is easy. Just use a 1/4-inch bolt to pop out the broken tooth and tap in a new one (our wooden rake actually ships with 4 replacement teeth).

Beacon Athletics

Over the years, my experience has been when it comes to the wooden rake that roughly half of those who try them absolutely love them, and half prefer to stick with their aluminum rakes. This is definitely an individual preference situation. But much like each carpenter has his or her set of tools they use to craft their woodworking projects, so do groundskeepers. I encourage you to give this timeless finesse tool a try for both yourself and your crew, and find out how you like the classic Wooden Field Rake.

Paul Zwaska

Paul Zwaska

A former head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles, Paul graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1984 with a Bachelor’s in Soil Science with a specialty in Turf & Grounds Management. Paul took over as head groundskeeper for the Orioles’ final season at old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore and then was heavily involved throughout the design and construction phases of Oriole Park at Camden Yards which debuted on April 4, 1992. Paul has led Technical Sales Support at Beacon Athletics since the summer of 2000. In 2012, Paul authored and oversaw the launch of “Groundskeeper University”, the first online ballfield maintenance training venue. Over the years, Paul has donated thousands of hours working with West Madison Little League, which also plays a critical role in the research and development for many of Beacon’s innovative field maintenance tools.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

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Southside Sports Complex named Small Market Venue of the Year 2018 !

LAKE CITY, Fla. (WCJB) – A sports complex in North Central Florida is being recognized for its facilities.

Southside Sports Complex has been named the Small Market Venue of the Year by the Florida Sports Foundation.

Complex officials say in 2018, they hosted 41 events that brought in more than 50-thousand visitors to Lake City and Columbia County.

The facility helped bring in more than eight-million dollars.

The complex has 30 athletic fields across 146 acres.

It has also hosted multiple state and regional tournaments.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

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THE SUN: Our Friend and Our Enemy ?

Important Info and Tips to Reduce Sun Exposure…

The sun… it’s the center of our Solar System. It’s also the most important source of energy for life here on our earth. To us groundskeepers, the sun is our best friend, but at times it is also our worst enemy.

Beacon AthleticsWe need the sun to help grow our turf and dry our fields. There is nothing more beautiful than a baseball game played when the sun is showering us with warm rays; our grass is emerald green and our ballparks are alive with players and spectators. But always lurking are those skin damaging UV rays that wreak havoc on our skin.

Sun exposure is a highly personal issue for me. I didn’t use sun protection for most of my professional career. Sunscreen wasn’t pushed as hard back in the 1980s and 90s so I never developed good sunscreen habits.

Additionally, I never wore hats (on a balding head) or sunglasses. Now I’m paying for it as I was already treated for my first skin cancer in 2017, and I’m sure it is only the beginning. I’m at a higher risk now and I have changed my bad habits when I’m in the sun, but the damage is likely done. And, remember: it’s cumulative. So the older you are, the higher the probability of contracting some form of skin cancer. I wanted to share my lessons to other groundskeepers to help you and your crew stay protected.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States and the groundskeeping profession is especially vulnerable. Besides the overwhelming amount of time spent working out in the sun, there are plenty of other factors that can also help increase the risk of contracting this form of cancer.

Who is at greatest risk?

  • Non-Latino Caucasians have the highest risk, yet all nationalities/races are susceptible
  • Those with fair skin, freckles, numerous moles, blonde or red hair and blue, green or grey eyes
  • Those with a history of numerous sunburns, especially if blistering occurred on any of them
  • If you have a family member who has had skin cancer, specifically Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
  • People who use tanning beds, which have been labeled “carcinogenic” by the World Health Organization
  • Those with an autoimmune disease
  • Those who smoke or chew tobacco
  • If you have already had skin cancer, your risk increases
  • If you live at higher elevations or in tropical climates

Beacon Athletics Sun Exposure Table


Fortunately, skin cancer is one of the most preventable cancers. Below are ways you can reduce your exposure to damaging UV rays.

Tips for Reducing Sun Exposure

Beacon Athletics Sun Exposure Table

  • Wear as much protective clothing as possible — long sleeve shirts and long pants provide a ton of protection.
  • During the hours between 9am and 4 pm, wear a wide brimmed hat instead of a baseball cap to protect your head, neck and ears from the most intense midday rays.
  • Whenever possible, get your crews onto the field early before the sun gets too intense and then put them under cover during midday hours to avoid the rays.
  • Your eyes are just as much at risk for damage as your skin. Be sure to wear sunglasses, or better yet, safety glasses that are also sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun.
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 to 50. These will block 97 to 98 % of the harmful UV rays. Use a minimum of 1 oz of sunscreen each time you apply and do so 15 minutes before heading out into the sun. Be sure to reapply FAITHFULLY every 90 minutes that you are out in the sun. Make a habit of using it every day, even when it’s cloudy out.

You may have noticed in the Beacon Athletics master catalog that we carry products for protecting you and your crew from the dangerous effects of the sun. These products include a variety of sunscreen lotions, sprays and lip balm. We also have several models of sun protection safety glasses to protect you and your crew’s eyes.Whether you use Beacon’s crew safety products or have a different go-to for sun exposure items, please stay covered and stay protected.

View Crew Safety Products

Paul Zwaska

Paul Zwaska

A former head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles, Paul graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1984 with a Bachelor’s in Soil Science with a specialty in Turf & Grounds Management. Paul took over as head groundskeeper for the Orioles’ final season at old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore and then was heavily involved throughout the design and construction phases of Oriole Park at Camden Yards which debuted on April 4, 1992. Paul has led Technical Sales Support at Beacon Athletics since the summer of 2000. In 2012, Paul authored and oversaw the launch of “Groundskeeper University”, the first online ballfield maintenance training venue. Over the years, Paul has donated thousands of hours working with West Madison Little League, which also plays a critical role in the research and development for many of Beacon’s innovative field maintenance tools.

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It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

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Clermont City Council approves 250-acre Olympus sports complex !

Project expected to create 5,000 jobs, generate $1.4 billion in 10 years !

CLERMONT, Fla.Clermont City Council members approved plans May 14 to build a sprawling 243-acre complex called Olympus, that will include multi-sport training venues, a wellness center and more.

Last August, city leaders got their first chance to look at plans to develop the area currently undeveloped in south Lake County, along Route 27 near Lake Louisa State Park.

According to the most recent plans for Olympus, the property will include multi-sport competition and training venues for collegiate, professional and elite athletes; featuring sports celebrities, legendary coaches and global sports brands/properties.

A wellness center will include leading-edge wellness, fitness and sports medicine facilities for athletes, individuals, families, businesses and the local community, with fitness trails, a state-of-the-art fitness and health club and spa.

People who travel to train or watch competitions at Olympus will be able to stay at “World-class hospitality” venues and experience “dining, shopping and office/conference venues … featuring premier restaurant brands, unique retail brands, leading hotel/resort brands and more,” according to the news release.

map_1534971854598.png
An outline map of the Olympus Sports Complex

The city’s economic development director has been working with developers on the Olympus sports complex for two years.

The project is expected to create 5,000 jobs and generate $1.4 billion in local economic impact in 10 years.

“Olympus aligns perfectly with our Choice of Champions brand and our reputation as a world-class haven for athletes,” Clermont City Manager Darren Gray said. “This is a historic moment for Clermont, and the City Council’s unanimous approval reflects their enthusiastic endorsement of Olympus.”

The five-phase project is expected to get underway this year and be finished by 2025.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

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The Real Cost of Sports Field Maintenance Products !

The Real Cost of Sports Field

Maintenance Products !

Streamliner field chalkerAs the person in charge of buying your sports field maintenance products, you are probably naturally drawn toward selecting the lowest-priced product available. After all, who doesn’t love a deal? I get that. We’re all on limited budgets. But, it’s also important to look at the down-the-road impact those decisions may have on your sports fields.It’s easy to think you’re making a sound financial decision when you purchase the cheapest product, but that’s because you’re only considering the short term cost. The impact a low-cost product can have on your grounds crew or on your field is eye opening. Often, when people see a big upfront cost, they shut down that product from further consideration — without doing their due diligence to see if it’s worth the price in the long haul. That’s a mistake, and I’ll show you why.Let me give some real world examples from our experience at our three-field Little League complex in Madison, Wisconsin.

EXAMPLE 1 — Mound Clay

beaconOf the three fields at our complex, one is a 90′ diamond used by youth aged 13 – 16 years old, all of whom wear metal cleats. Games are played 7 days a week (2-to-3 games/weeknight and 5-to-7 games/weekend), 20 weeks per year and only one opportunity per day to maintain the mound and batter’s boxes. We have used standard bagged mound clay for years and usually blew through one half to one bag of clay per day. The mounds are kept sufficiently moist and are covered whenever not in use to maintain moisture content. The standard mound clay performed satisfactorily, and I never received any complaints except from my crew repairing them. This year we decided to try professional grade clay with higher clay content and the most expensive of all mound clays on our field where metal cleats are used. The results were astounding. The amount of damage to the clay areas each night decreased by more than 70%!! The amount of clay required to repair the mound and plate also plummeted by approximately the same amount as well. In addition, we saved tremendously with labor due to the reduction of repair needed. In the end, we had less labor costs in repairing the clay areas because of the reduced wear and we needed far less clay to repair when we did. We anticipate that we can reduce our clay consumption by at least 50% for next year. These savings far outpaced the increase in cost for the product AND we actually provided a better and more stable playing surface for the player!

EXAMPLE 2 — Pitching Rubbers

Pitching rubbers and home plates in recent decades have had their rubber ingredients tweaked as costs for raw materials have increased during that time. The result is product that just doesn’t last or perform like those from a few decades back, and need to be replaced more often. Sure, they are cheap or more affordable but they wear, bubble or deform much more quickly. The problem is that it’s not always easy to do a quick change of either of these on a ball diamond. Especially if one doesn’t do it frequently or has never done it before. So labor hours are sacrificed in order to change them out each time. Compare that to the high quality Bulldog home plates and pitching rubbers that are thicker rubber and structurally more sound. People shy away from them due to their cost, but their longevity and performance far outweigh the upfront cost of the product. Plus, you also save considerably on labor since replacement is needed less frequently. To me, it’s a no-brainer.

EXAMPLE 3 — Dry Line Markers (chalkers) 

beaconThere are many chalkers options, ranging from inexpensive and more expensive. Again, it’s very tempting to just look at the price tag and never consider performance or even potential savings. The Streamliner field chalkers are amongst the more expensive dry line markers on the market, yet you can actually save big money with this machine despite its initial price tag. Thanks to the Streamliner’s “variable flow adjustment”, you can control how much chalk you are applying to the field. Most chalkers are either open or closed and offer no adjustments. Because of the Streamliner’s ability to control chalk flow, customers routinely report a 30% to 50% reduction of chalk, resulting in huge savings in chalk purchases over the life of a Streamliner. In addition, the quality of the line applied is unparalleled in the industry. Again the extra dollars on the initial investment amounts to huge savings in the long haul, with all the benefits of performance (see our chalker comparison Field Tests for more).

These are just a few select examples of what I’ve seen during my time as a groundskeeper. The moral of the story is one you’ve heard before — you really do get what you pay for. Do your due diligence when considering ALL of your equipment and material purchases. It is your job and obligation as the field manager to truly manage your budgets in the most efficient way possible, resulting in the best return on investment for your organization. Do the math, do the research, collect and analyze the data, and THEN make the purchase. The most expensive product is not always the solution and won’t always fit your application. There are times that a moderately- or low-priced product absolutely makes more sense than a higher priced or higher quality product. This is where your research and data will help you determine the right choice.

Money is a terrible thing to waste… do your best avoid costly mistakes by finding the best fit the first time.

Paul Zwaska

Paul Zwaska

A former head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles, Paul graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1984 with a Bachelor’s in Soil Science with a specialty in Turf & Grounds Management. Paul took over as head groundskeeper for the Orioles’ final season at old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore and then was heavily involved throughout the design and construction phases of Oriole Park at Camden Yards which debuted on April 4, 1992. Paul has led Technical Sales Support at Beacon Athletics since the summer of 2000. In 2012, Paul authored and oversaw the launch of “Groundskeeper University”, the first online ballfield maintenance training venue. Over the years, Paul has donated thousands of hours working with West Madison Little League, which also plays a critical role in the research and development for many of Beacon’s innovative field maintenance tools.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .