New Condition Index Is Gaining Traction On The Field

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Sports Turf Managers Association Introduces Standardized "Playability" Index

The PCI Media Advisory gives our members a tool that packages and presents their expert evaluations of the playing field in a concise and easy-to-understand manner, allowing STMA members to provide relevant information to coaches, fans and the media and become a consistent provider of this information

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Sports fans and athletes now have a standardized way to assess the condition of playing surfaces of any athletic field. The Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) developed the Playing Conditions Index (PCI) over the past two years and it is expected to become as much a part of gameday evaluations as wind speed, player injury lists and outdoor temperature.

The STMA Playing Conditions Index evaluates four different aspects of playing surface conditions on an ongoing basis. The evaluation measures everything from the turf manager's experience level to drainage issues to mowing frequency and agronomic performance.

"With the help of more than 50 STMA members and consultants, we have developed a tool that will not only help our members with their day-to-day activities, but will also help those outside of the profession better understand the skills and knowledge needed to provide high quality playing surfaces," said Sports Turf Managers Association CEO Kim Heck.

"Athletes - professional, college and amateur - evaluate their opponents, the weather and every aspect of the playing conditions before a game," Heck said. "Fans and the media do the same thing. The STMA Playing Conditions Index is a standardized way of adding playing surfaces to that evaluation, and everyone we've discussed the index with thinks it has been needed for a long time."

After completion of the standardized evaluation, the turf manager is able to classify the playing surface in one of five categories, ranging from "excellent" to "unplayable." A STMA Playing Conditions Index Advisory is then issued as a short bulletin and made available to coaches and the media. This provides coaches and the media with the latest field conditions, capturing the overall field quality rating - taking into consideration factors such as turf health, drainage, maintenance, weather impact on surfaces and events or activities that have taken place or are scheduled for the field.

"The PCI Media Advisory gives our members a tool that packages and presents their expert evaluations of the playing field in a concise and easy-to-understand manner, allowing STMA members to provide relevant information to coaches, fans and the media and become a consistent provider of this information," added Heck.

STMA is the not-for-profit, professional association for the men and women who manage athletic fields worldwide. Its more than 2,800 members oversee sports fields and facilities at schools, colleges and universities, parks and recreational facilities, and professional sports stadiums including NFL, MLB, and MLS facilities. The membership's goal is to manage natural turf and synthetic surfaces to produce safe and aesthetically pleasing playing surfaces for athletes at all levels of playing abilities. Since 1981, the association and its 31 local chapters have been providing education, information and sharing practical knowledge in the art and science of sports field management. For more information on STMA call (800) 323-3875 or consult the web site at http://www.stma.org.

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