Turf & Rec

News
Don’t let burnout take over your life


March 28, 2011
By Mike Jiggens

This issue marks a bit of a departure of sorts from the norm with the
inclusion of a “human” type story. Although most of what is included in
our March issue offers the reader a taste of science, know-how and the
latest in industry news, we also feature a cautionary story to help
those employed in the industry strike a healthy balance between their
professional and home lives.

Even though the story is aimed at landscape contractors who have experienced burnout in their lives at one point or another, the tale can just as easily apply to golf superintendents or anyone else working in the green industry.

Sadly, many landscape contractors bury themselves too deeply in their work and subsequently neglect their families, or the pressure of the job becomes too overwhelming, leading to physical or mental health issues.

Job pressure is an issue that’s likely not going to go away anytime soon, especially now that landscape contractors and lawn care operators have been stripped of some of the key tools of their trade the past couple of years, yet are still expected by their customers to maintain the highest of standards.

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It doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom, however. There are several measures landscapers can take to ensure their livelihoods don’t get the best of them. These include everything from eating better, improving employer-employee relations, getting physically fit and planning a well-deserved vacation.

Burnout is a trap anyone can find himself in, but it doesn’t have to happen.

Look for the story about landscaper burnout on page 6.

We also feature in this issue another installment about artificial turf, examining the challenges faced by three individuals responsible for the upkeep of these synthetic surfaces in their respective municipalities.

The common thread is that these fields have been borne from the need to provide playing surfaces that will accommodate the increasing, round-the-clock demand by various user groups. New natural fields, unfortunately, just can’t cut it with that degree of demand because they require a dedicated healing time.

The caretakers of these fields, who presented their stories in February at the Ontario Turfgrass Symposium, were quick to note that synthetic fields are not maintenance-free as some might be inclined to believe. They have their own unique set of issues that, although not requiring the traditional maintenance practices, make their upkeep just as challenging, or perhaps even more so.

As a product, synthetic turf has certainly come a long way in recent years, making the old “Astroturf” look downright ancient. Nevertheless, there is much to consider in preparation of installing an artificial playing surface. One of the OTS speakers mentioned how he was “burned” as recently as 2000 when putting in his first synthetic field which gave up the ghost less than midway through its projected life expectancy. If you require a synthetic field, do your homework, he warned. See story on page 40.