Irrigation Maintenance and Design

Jon Palmer, Athletic Field Manager with the University of Central Florida Athletics hosted the Central Florida Sports Turf Managers Association’s professional and commercial members May 23, 2024. Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) learning session was presented to sixty-six attendees by Paul LaLuzerne, the Area Specification Manager and Todd Martin, Field Services Engineer with the Rain Bird Corporation. They reviewed the industry standards for design, evaluation, and maintenance of various irrigation systems to maintain turf grasses for multiple applications.

Jon Palmer conducted a tour of the facilities with special interest of a practice field renovation loacted next to the football stadium..

CFSTMA want to thank UCF and especially Jon Palmer and the UCF staff for helping provide a comfrotable venue and great day of training and fellowship for this event.

CFSTMA 10th Annual Field Day

The 10th Annual Field Day organized by the Central Florida Sports Turf Managers Association (CFSTMA) convened at the IFAS Research Plant Science Center, representing a key event in the association’s ongoing commitment to professional development and industry collaboration. 60 attendees had the valuable opportunity to accrue 2 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) while engaging with 19 vendors at this event.

Upon registration, attendees were given dedicated time to interact with tabletop vendors, fostering meaningful exchanges and networking opportunities. Dr. Kruse, Associate Professor of Turfgrass Science at the University of Florida’s Department of Environmental Horticulture, delivered the first CEU course. His presentation explored comprehensive field trials assessing the shade tolerance, traffic tolerance, and recovery capabilities of various Bermudagrass cultivars, providing attendees with relevant insights into those cultivars abilities.

The second CEU session was conducted by Karen Stauderman, Commercial Horticulture Agent III at UF/IFAS Extension Volusia County. Stauderman’s instructional session commenced with a demonstration on the calibration of spreaders, followed by a demonstration of the calibration process for backpack sprayers, equipping attendees with practical techniques to optimize application precision and efficacy.

Subsequently, attendees were able to engage with plot vendors. This gave members exposure to cutting-edge equipment and informative demonstrations.

Plot vendors present were Beard Equipment Company, Wesco Turf Inc, and 1st Products. Tabletop vendors present at the event included Nufarm, Green Nature, Boekholder & Associates, LLC, Helena, Pioneer Athletics, Harrell’s, DuraEdge Products Inc., Bethel Farms, EarthWorks, AxisDE, St. Johns Turf Care, Turf Tec, World Sports, Ewing Outdoor Supply, Sod Solutions and Veransa Group, Inc., each contributing to the enriching exchange of knowledge and resources within the professional turf management community.

We want to thank our hosts of this event, James Boyer, Director of Research Administration, Tony Brown, Coordinator of Research Programs and Lesley Reddick, Administrative Support Assistant, who with their staff guided us through early morning inclement weather conditions to a beautiful sunny outdoor event.  They helped to make this an enjoyable experience for the CFSTMA members and their guests.

Turfgrass Weed Management

Steve Strickland, Athletic Field Manager with the City of Leesburg were host to the Central Florida Sports Turf Managers Association Decemberv 14, 2023. Fifty plus professional and commercial sports turf managers attended a lecture by Dr. Lambert (Bert) McCarty, the Professor of Turfgrass Science & Management with the College of Agrculture, Forestry and Life Sciences at Clemson University. He discussed the agronomic, cultural, and pest management strategies for controlling major weed pests in sports fields, especially on Southern turfgrasses. He included in the discussion, weed biology, herbicide mode-of-action, application timing, effective products, and new products coming on the market.. He emphasised the importance of integrated weed management which included herbicide timing, weed life cycles, and cultural control options. Special emphasis was on herbicide resistant weeds, how to identify them, and management options.

Twelve attendees signed up for CEU’s during the session.


Student Scholarships Available!

$1,000 Student Scholarship(s)

Sports Turf Management 

Take advantage of this opportunity to be awarded $1,000 towards your educational expenses!

Email a typed written “Letter of Interest” along with Proof of your current enrollment in school to  letting us know “your story” and why you are interested in a career in the Greens Industry especially in the area of sports turf.  Your  letter will be evaluated by the CFSTMA Board of Directors. Deserving scholorships meeting the criteria outlined below will be announced at our quarterly chapter meetings as applicants become available for award.

Scholarships are available to students currently enrolled in a 2- or 4-year Turfgrass Management Program.  Scholarships are $1,000.00 each and awarded based on the following criterial:

  1. Letter of Interest in the Sports Turf Industry from the applicant.
  2. Proof of enrollment in a 2- or 4-year turfgrass program, via transcript or letter of acceptance from the institution.
  3. Willingness to accept the scholarship in person at a CFSTMA Chapter meeting.
  4. Become a Member of CFSTMA.

As a Student Member of the Central Florida Sports Turf Managers Association, you will have access to Professional and Commercial members as well as an online library of sports turf educational articles.

** Please note, that by submitting your letter of interest, you agree to post all or a portion of your Letter on CFSTMA’s website.

Contact us at CentralFloridaSTMA@gmail.comwith any questions you may have.

Good Luck…. Looking forward to seeing your submissions!


Infield Soils

Andy Burnette, Field Operations Manager at Pirate City in Bradenton, Fl with his staff were host to the Central Florida Sports Turf Managers Association September 28, 2023. They were gracious hosts to 70+ professional and commercial sports turf managers. Luke Yoder of Dura Edge Engineered Soils spoke to the group about the best management practices and products currently being implemented on the professional, college, high school and recreational levels. He reviewed the types of clays mixes and topdressings and “how-to” apply them properly. The group was then treated to a mound maintenance demonstration by Andy Burnett. The grounds crew had their equipment available for attendees to see.
General Standards/Core 482 & 487 1.0 CEU was offered at this training session.



Announced Winners to SFMA National Conference

Twp professional members of the Central Florida Sports Turf Managers Association, qualified to win the followiing:

  • Grand Prize: Free STMA National Conference Registration and a 4-night hotel stay valued at $900.00 – Dale Croft’s Essay
  • Free SFMA Sports Field manager Associate National Annual Membership valued at $130.00 – Andrew Couture’s Essay

Essay Requirements where:  A typed written letter of interest to attend the SFMA Conference shall include Why you would like to attend the conference, What you would like to learn from the conference, and How  you would apply this knowledge to your current profession.


Practical Nematode Management

John Merchant (JM) & Ronnie Ouyen, with Pasco County Parks & Recreation where host to the Central Florida Sports Turf Managers Associationt at Wiregrass Ranch Sports Complex in Wesley Chapel, Florida June 14, 2023.   They where gracious hosts to 70+ professional and commercial sports turf managers. Attendees participated in another superb nematode presentation conducted by Dr. William T. Crowv with the University of Florida’s Department of Entomology and Nematology. He reviewed the practical practices to manage nematode damage  on sports fields. He discussed the different kinds of nematodes and their behavior. He described the various management strategies such as rotating modes of action for their treatment maximizing their control.    

Free 1.0 CEU’s was provided to CFSTMA Members in the area of:

  • Private Applicator-Ag,
  • Ornamental & Turf
  • Limited Lawn & Ornamental,
  • Commercial Lawn and Ornamental

Attendees partipated in commercial vendor prize drawings, a 50/50 cash give-a-way, a free member lunch and an informative site tour.



















CFSTMA’s 9th Annual Field Day

The Central Florida Sports Turf Managers Association (CFSTMA) partnered with host site Lake Jem Farms, CEU speaker sponsored by Sod Solutions and lunch provided by Everglades Equipment to conduct our 9th Annual Field Day March 30, 2023. Without their support this event would not have been as successful as it was.  This was the largest number of attendees for a CFSTMA Field Day conducted to date.

One hundred sixteen (116) attendees from the Central Florida area had the opportunity to receive 2 CEUs toward maintenance of their FDAC sprayer applicators licensing with a talk from Bonnie Wells, UF/IFAS Commercial Horticulture agent in Brevard County.  Her PRESENTATON focused on the many types of insect pests that affect the safety, playability and aesthetics of sports fields.  She reviewed the best management practices currently available for their control.

In addition to Dr. Wells’ presentation, Craig Potts, Project Manager with Sod Solutions, Inc. discussed turfgrass varieties, and their development and management. He shared his experiences as a sports field manager describing in some detail the issues he faced and the ways he overcame them to provide safe, playable and aestheticly pleasing playing fields. 

Sports turf managers met with likeminded professionals and commercial vendors to share best management practices and to learn of industry developments to more effectively manage their sports fields.  Every sports manager’s challenge is to cost effectively provide safe, playable and aesthetically pleasing sports fields.  This event aided in achieving this goal!

Thirty (30) sports field commercial vendors were available to the attendees to discuss their products and services ranging from field construction to soil enhancement to field line painting. 

Twenty (20) were TABLETOPS VENDORS – B&A Associates, Toro, Fibersoils, Green Nature, AxisDE, JSM, New Generations Ag, Green Resources, Field Turf, Ewing, Pioneer Athletics, FMC, Nufarm, The Turfgrass Group, Rain Bird, Harrell’s, Terra Feed, BASF, Lake Jem Farms and Sod Solutions. 

Ten (10) were EQUIPMENT VENDORS – Grove Equipment, St. John’s Turf Care, Beard Equipment, Wesco Turf, Global Turf Equipment, Crystal Tractor, STEC Equipment, Hysquvarna Group, Lake Jem Farms and Everglades Equipment 

A BBQ lunch of ribs, potato salad, corn on the cob was prepared on site by Everglades Equipment sales personnel who double as expert BBQ Chefs. The meal was especially enhanced by being outdoors under a tent on a beautiful Florida spring day. 

Take a virtural tour via the pictures below of the day’s activities…




Weed Management in Florida Turfgrasses

Central Florida Sports Turf Managers Association conducted its Business and Chapter meeting at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Tuesday December 6, 2022 from 9:30 am – 2:00 pm.  The business portion of the meeting consisted of approval of the Chapter’s By-Laws and a slate of officers for the Board of Directors for CFSTMA by 75 professional and commercial CFTMA members who were in attendance.

The Chapter meeting portion of the event consisted of a presentation from Pavel Petelewicz, the Assistant Professor in the Agronomy Department at the University of Florida (UF), Gainsville. He described weed management in Florida, specifically targeting goosegrass and tropical signal grass. The group was also treated to a tour of behind the scenes operations of Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex as well.







The professional and commercial advertising sponsors had ample opportunities to network and share “best practices” throughout the gathering and collect 1.0 CEU’s for their FDAC licenses in the areas of:

Ornamental and Turf
Private Applicator Ag Pest Control
Commercial Lawn and Ornamental
Limited Certification Lawn and Ornamental
Limited Certification Commercial Landscape Maintenance
Limited Urban Fertilizer

This end of year quaterly Chapter and Business meeting saw 2021-2022 President Rob Julian, pass the Presidency to Chris Lessig, who with the new Board of Directors will lead CFSTMA for the next two years, beginning January 1, 2023.









Meet the 2023-2024 Board of Directors:

President – Christopher Lessig (Volusia County)

Chris has worked in the Parks and Recreation industry as a County and Municipal Parks Superintendent and County Parks Director for the past 25 years. He is currently a Volusia County Parks & Recreation manager. He is a graduate of Penn State University, Slippery Rock University and Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom College Program; Chris has served as secretery on the CFSTMA Board since 2016. He is a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional and graduate of NRPA’s Maintenance Management School.

President Elect – Andy Kinch (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

My name is Andy Kinch and I am currently an Assistant Groundskeeper for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I graduated from Virginia Tech in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences with the turfgrass option. After graduating, I worked for Real Salt Lake for 2 years before moving to Tampa. While in college, I completed internships at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders, Elizabethtown Sports Park, and the Country Club at Woodloch Springs. I hope to uphold the foundation the CFSTMA has built and continue to grow the organization

Treasurer – Jeff Wolford (Grounds Maintenance Coordinator with Citrus County)

My sports field career started at Citrus County School District. Over these 4 years with the School District, I have learned the basics of sports field and grounds maintenance.  The School District allowed me to expand my skills by creating an agronomic and maintenance program. Me and my staff manage beaches, boat ramps, cemeteries and four sports complexes. My CFSTMA Membership and participation is very important.  It allows me to meet other individuals in the same career, receiving education from industry leaders, sharing experiences and keeping current with the industry news. CFSTMA has helped me grow professionally and I want to bring CFSTMA into our Grounds Department staff at Citrus County.

Secretary – Mike Saldutti (Program Manager Orange County Parks & Recreation)

Mike Saldutti has over 19 years of experience in public service with Orange County, having served in many different capacities before his current role as Program Manager for the Parks and Recreation division. Among his many duties, he oversees the maintenance and improvement of 130 acres of Athletic Turf, dispersed among 27 locations, including diamond, grid iron, and cricket fields.  He oversees the Jay Blanchard & West Orange Trail systems, which provides over 30 miles of trails and open space to the residents of Central Florida.  He also manages the Parks internal maintenance division, which coordinates construction projects for 105 locations, equipment and vehicle purchases for all Orange County Parks, and the Parks sports turf management crew.  Mike holds multiple licenses, including Pesticide Public Applicator, Certified Playground Safety Inspector, and OSHA 30 Construction Safety and Health. He has served on the Safety Committee board since 2011 and has been a member of the Central Florida Sports Field Managers Association since 2014.  In his spare time, he loves to go fishing, attend UCF football games, and spend time with his family and friends. Mike hopes to apply his experience and passion to this service as a board member for the CFSTMA.

Vice President of Education –  Dave Nowakowski, CSFM (Harrell’s)

STMA Certified Sports Field Manager graduated from Pennsylvania State University 1999 with a BS in Turfgrass Science. Has worked in the Green Industry for 22 years; Allegheny CC, Penn State University Golf Course, Penn State University Beaver Stadium Grounds Crew, Bowie BaySox, Roger Dean Stadium, Harford County College, Baltimore Ravens, Brickman. Have been responsible for creating and executing Agronomic Plans, calibrating spray and fertilizer equipment.  As a Sales Rep for Harrell’s, I am responsible for creating Agronomic Plans, creating customized fertilizer blends, diagnosis and solutions of turf and ornamental issues, assisting in calibration or training.

Vice President of Commercial – Mike Williams (Beard Equipment)

Mike is the Central and North Florida Sports Turf and Grounds Territory Manager for Beard Equipment Company, a John Deere dealership specializing in Core Golf and Sports Turf and Grounds Products. Mike joined Beard Equipment in October 2018 after working 26 Seasons in Professional Baseball as a Head Groundskeeper. Mike also spent parts of 3 seasons in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns on the grounds staff. Mike is a Graduate of Ohio University where he was a member of the Baseball team and received his master’s degree in athletic administration in 1991.

Past President – Robert Julian (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Rob is the Advent Health Training Center’s Director of Athletic Fields and Grounds at One Buccaneer Place for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since 1993. Rob has been a Member of National STMA since 1999 and CFSTMA since its inception in 1990. He has served as CFSTMA Treasurer since 2015, President Elect and now President of the association.

The CFSTMA BOD will begin planning it’s next Chapter Meeting near the end of the first quarter of the year of 2023.  Details to be announced in January.