The Groundsman

June 2013

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GET INTO GROUNDS 29 the Groundsman June 2013 Texan turf care In part two of the IOG's Young Board of Director's recent US trip report, Geoff Webb looks at the group's sports turf excursions to the Dallas Cowboys Stadium and training facilities, the Cotton Bowl and the sport facilities at Southern Methodist University By: Geoff Webb T Dallas Cowboys Stadium The Dallas Cowboys, a professional American football franchise that plays in the Eastern Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) of the National Football League (NFL), play home games at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, within the Dallas–Fort Worth metropolitan area, which finished construction in time for the 2009 season. The Cowboys Stadium is currently the world's largest dome-structure and features a retractable roof. After failed negotiations to build a new stadium on the site of the Cotton Bowl, Jerry Jones along with the city of Arlington, funded the stadium at a cost of US$1.3bn (£86m) it was completed in May 2009 and seats 80,000 - expandable up to 105,000. Interestingly it's the only NFL stadium that is completely inaccessible via public transportation, including bus, light rail, or people mover systems – it's only access is via car or private shuttle. The base of the stadium floor is concrete, and the retractable dome roof is usually closed, so maintaining a natural grass playing surface is not considered practical. The stadium uses two playing surfaces; a pro-style field for NFL games and a NCAA college football playing surface, which has a wider hash mark separation in the middle of the field. The Fieldturf 3G pitch is brought in for specific events and this is laid out from sideline to sideline - via 15ft-wide strips of carpet. The turf is usually removed for concerts and other nonfootball related events. Fortunately for us, the owners gave us access to the stadium and to the pitch itself which allowed our group a unique look up close at the surface on a self-facilitated tour of the stadium. In fact, visitors can play on the surface as part of the facility tour. t his final part of the two-part series takes in the Young Board Directors' visits to the Dallas Cowboys Stadium, the Cotton Bowl and Southern State's university sports facilities. Throughout the five-day trip, generously organised and supported by Ransomes Jacobsen, our young groundsmen made some great US groundscare connections and witnessed the American approach to maintaining sports facilities from which they were able to compare and contrast against UK standards. Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions

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