SGL MasterClass Wrap Up


MasterClass 2016 proved to be a thought provoking and educational event. MasterClass is an invitation only, education event put on by Stadium Grow Light (SGL) specifically for their over 180 stadium customers around the globe to come together. 2016 MasterClass was entitled “Back to the Future” to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the unique event. MasterClass #1 was also held in Holland, Home of SGL.  A full detailed break down of the event can be experienced here on the live blog of MasterClass 2016, “Back to the Future”.

Day 1 of MasterClass took place at the world famous Amsterdam Arena. Day 2 featured a visit to Porta Nova, the 25 acre rose growing operation that has been in SGL inventor Nico van Vuuren’s family since the 1890’s. At Porta Nova, MasterClass participants also were exposed to ongoing research being done by the SGL agronomy team. After Porta Nova, MasterClass moved to Rotterdam, Holland’s Feyenoord Stadium for a pitch tour and to wrap up the education and sharing.

Let’s look at some of the key thoughts and points of the events education and sharing:

IMPROVEMENT: SGL is the world leader in the supplemental light technology sector, a sector that they (SGL) created. Supplemental light research and technology reached the sales market during the early 2000’s when SGL successfully completed its first trial at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light in the UK. Since they have grown to have over 180 stadiums around the world using supplemental light for natural grass growth and recovery. But even as the world leader, SGL continues to evolve and improve.

Three examples of that improvement were on display at MasterClass:

LU440: The LU440 is a new, full size light unit with aluminum construction. The aluminum reduces the overall weight of the unit dramatically. It also allows the unit to fold up much easier, which saves time on set up and break down of light rig. The LU440 overall is a dramatic improvement on an already fantastic full size light unit, the MU360. While the LU440 is still in limited supply, the MU360 is still am amazing tool for supplying supplemental light!

IQ55: The IQ55 was considered by many as the star of MasterClass 2016. The IQ55 is a full climate controlled tent unit to provide natural grass field managers with a tool to control all components of plant growth. Temperature, humidity, moisture, CO2, O2, light… any and all factors leading to plant growth, health, and recovery… can be controlled with an automated system. And all of it mounted on a standard, MU50 type light rig frame for simple movement. As the playing season now is nearly year round, the IQ55 provides a tool that can support growth and recovery at any time.

Modeling Improvements/ Additional of Disease Pressure: SGL provides a high level of data and support models to its clients around the world. The model inputs include hours of play, weather conditions, and the expectation of field quality to dictate potential fertilizer needs and to supply the needed hours of lighting. SGL agronomists and engineers continue to evolve the growth and lighting models to best to supply clients with the correct lighting recipe to 1) use the light amount of light required and 2) meet the demands of field quality set by the client. A new addition to the models this year is disease modeling and alerting. The models will provide clients with on-demand data on potential diseases that their fields could be prone to. This data will greatly reduce the guessing that sometimes goes into spraying for disease suppression.
TECHNOLOGY: Technology is always evolving and improving. Especially with products involving energy and light. SGL is working closely with several companies to provide the latest in lighting innovation. These include the world leader in lighting, Phillips.

LED: LED is the most popular topic in the world in reference to lighting. Where LED is breaking into the stadium flood lighting market, for plant growth (and specifically grass growth) LED is still in development. The SGL research and development team is working closely with the green house development team at Porta Nova rose green houses to create the best system possible for LED and plant growth. The LED light spectrum can provide plants light. But heat is needed in combination with light to provide the most efficient growth. Currently the high pressure sodium lights provide that needed heat. Eliminating the high pressure sodium bulbs could reduce energy use, but then infrared heat is required to be added to provide the best growing conditions. The additional infrared heat actually increases overall energy costs.
In the end, it seems some sort of hybrid option with a mix of LED and high pressure sodium will be worked out. But as demands on natural grass increase, the need for light intensity and heat increases as well to encourage regeneration of the grass plants.  IMG_0598

IQ55: Back to the IQ55. The technology involved in the IQ55 controlled growing environment is a new level for anything ever seen in turfgrass growth. The automated sensor system inside the IQ55 allows a natural grass field manager to have complete control of the growing environment. Though somewhat small compared to a full size field, the IQ55 is large enough to treat and repair quickly high traffic areas such as the front of a baseball infield, between the hash marks on an American football field, or through the PK area on a soccer field. As the IQ series evolves, this will become a valued tool to win against high use.

INNOVATION: To innovate is defined as to “make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products”. SGL was founded on innovation when it introduced the first supplemental turfgrass grow lighting solution into the market. No longer were shade or short day length limiting factors for natural grass growth. New solution, old problems.

Innovation is again a description with the UVC180 introduction. Turfgrass managers spend more time on disease pressure/ disease management than about any other turfgrass challenge. Many times budgets for fungicides match or even dwarf other budget categories. Thus, the potential that UV light could treat diseases to reduce the stress on turfgrass managers and/or reduce their budgets is ground shaking. No doubt there is much more to come in reference to UV light and diseases, but the initial introduction is extremely exciting!!!


SGL MasterClass certainly was the thought provoking and educational event that participants had hoped for. Well done SGL, and CONGRATULATIONS on 10 years of such a unique and successful educational event.



Empiezo hoy!: #GFFF Grass Field Foto Friday

La popularida de “Hashtag Holiday” por los medios socials sigue creciendo. ¿Has participado en alguno de estos?

#MM: Motivational Monday (Lunes Motivacional)

#TT: Tip Tuesday (Martes Propina)

#WW: Wednesday Wisdom (Miércoles Sabiduría)

#TBT: Throw Back Thursday (Recordar Jueves)

#FF: Follow Friday (Siga Viernes)


Hashtags son un gran instrumento para llevar la emoción y la conciencia de muchas cosas diferentes. Entonces ¿Por qué no usamos el Hashtag para compartir el fantástico trabajo que usted y otros gerentes de céspedes de deportivo hace cada día en los campos de césped natural de todo el mundo?

Presentando #GFFF Grass Field Foto Friday. Durante todo el mes de Septiembre, utilice el hasta #GFFF: Grass Field Foto Friday y compartir sus fotos mas favoritos de campos de céspedes naturales. Publicar fotos que muestran el arte y la maestría de su trabajo…haciendo campos de céspedes natural fantástico! Campos de juego, campos de entrenamiento, campos en su propio césped…mostrar su trabajo! Comparte en Facebook, Twitter, Instagram y cualquier otro medio social que podría utilizar. Compartir y estar orgulloso de su trabajo y reforzar la profesionalidad de ti mismo y de los gerentes de céspedes deportes de todo el mundo!

Juntos podemos construir un día internacional promoviendo la participación de todo el mundo!

¿Por qué ahora? Los meses de agosto y septiembre es el tiempo ideal para campos de césped natural de todo el mundo. Con el comienzo del futbol americano y futbol, la Liga Mayor y Menor de beisbol en la recta final, y futbol en America y J-League con pocos meses que queda, estamos en un punto que muchos deportes están en temporada. Utilice esa ventaja para mostrar su gran trabajo y crear conciencia de las posibilidades de los campos de céspedes naturales producidas por ti y todos los Gerentes de Céspedes Deportes.

#GFFF Grass Field Foto Friday – Empiezo hoy!

THANKS John Torres, Head Grounds Manager of PPL Park in Philadelphia, for the transcription and involvement!  Follow John’s magical work at @jjtorres9 on twitter!


#GFFF: Grass Field Foto Friday


The popularity of hashtag holidays on social meeting continues to grow.  Have you ever participated in any of these?
#MM:  Motivational Monday
#TT:  Tip Tuesday
#WW: Wednesday wisdom
#TBT: Throw back Thursday
#FF: Follow Friday

Hashtags are a great tool to bring excitement and awareness to so many different things.  Then how about a hashtag to share the fantastic work that you and other Sports Turf Managers do each and every day on natural grass fields around the world?

Introducing #GFFF: #Grass Field Foto Friday.  Starting with Friday tomorrow (today already on the other side of the world) through the month of September, use the hashtag #GFFF: Grass Field Foto Friday, and share your favorite grass field pictures.  Post “fotos” that showcase the art and mastery of your work… making natural grass fields fantastic! Game fields, practice fields, fields even in your back yard…  show off your work!!  Share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other social media platform you might use.  Share and be proud of your hard work and reinforce the professionalism of yourself and Sports Turf Managers around the world!

The final Friday of September, September 26th, can be the climax of #GFFF as “International Grass Field Foto Friday”.  Through the next 4 Fridays, together we can build up to that international day with promoting participation around the globe!!

Why now? Late August & early September is the prime time for natural grass fields around the world. With the start of American football and proper football (soccer) around the rest of the world, Major League and Minor League baseball in the home stretch, and American and J-League soccer with a few months left…  we are at a point that many outdoor sports are in season.  Use that advantage to showcase your great work and build awareness for the possibilities of natural grass fields produced by you and all Sports Turf Managers!!

#GFFF:  Grass Field Foto Friday.  Join in tomorrow!!


Cultivated Thoughts on Thatch Management

The past 10 days have seen an up and down weather pattern in the Mid-Atlantic-  A few cool, crisp days followed with hot, dry then hot, humid days.  Dry conditions have prevailed until today, allowing some aggressive cultivation to take place in conjunction with the wrap up of soccer league season and in preparation for summer club lacrosse season.

On cool season pitches, aeration pass number 6 took place with deep tine aeration at 8″ w/ an aggressive 15 degree kick, followed with pass number 7 w/ 3/4″ coring tines on 2×2 spacing.  With the combination, deep compaction relief took place along with air venting and thatch reduction in the top organic layer… both much needed following the heavy traffic of May and entering the summer stress period.  All aeration techniques will continue, just not as aggressively though into the heat….

Bermudagrass received an aggressive core aeration as well.  With it picking up growth… and starting into camp season next week, this is the last break during the week bermudagrass will see until the last week of August.  Deep tine aeration will follow suit next week in the evenings following camps

In reference to thatch reduction from core aeration, following the 1st sweeping of cores from the field we brushed the fields with a heavy brush to stand the grass plants back upright and fluff up any remaining cores.  Around Europe, brushing was common.. so I wanted to add it to our program immediately.  I assumed that the main benefit would be standing up the grass for better health and mowing.  Well I was right on that part, but the biggest immediate difference was the remaining thatch on the very top of the field that was fluffed up.  It was staggering!!  Piles of thatch were everywhere.  Certainly we expect to bring up some, but had no idea that it would be the amount it was.  Especially in a lighter growing period under growth regulation, following heavy traffic, and when we have mowed very little as we raise the height up a 1/4″ to 1 1/4″  If that amount comes up during light growth, I can only imagine the amount that will arise during aggressive growth.

As mentioned, brushing was a common practice around pitches in Europe, as it is in golf course management.  But in sports field management, its not something that takes place a lot.  After the observations of our 1st experience with it… it will become a weekly practice followed with mowing with baskets for collection.  I immediately am looking into tine harrows for additional fluffing and am sharpening the verticut blades as well…  We think our program is aggressive enough- but yet again we are wrong!






Real Madrid

Well what a change from Manchester to Madrid.  WOW it is almost HOT here!  But I am not one to ever complain about heat… so bring it on.  It is refreshing!

Arriving in Madrid Friday night, many many Thanks to Mr. Paul Burgess for taking the time to make a trip to the airport and then to show me around on Saturday.  With preparation taking place for tonight’s final La Liga match- after which Real will be presented with their 32nd league championship trophy and with renovations taking place at the training ground, Mr. Burgress is very, very busy man!

Saturday Paul was gracious enough show me around on the pitch at the Bernabeu.  WOW what a stadium.  And WOW what a fantastic pitch.  Absolutely great stuff.  Following, Mr. Burgess gave the tour of the Real Madrid Training Ground.  With the number of fields and tremendous amount of play that takes place on each pitch, it reminded me even more of home.  The observations and conversation created a wide range of new ideas for me.  Thank You, Thank You, Thank You Paul!

Now tonight, the fixture between Real Madrid and Mallorca…  What an experience it shall be!  Real is in the hotel here currently preparing for the match… and what an atmosphere it is outside.  So I can only imagine what it will be like at the Bernabeu tonight!Image