Top turf men: A meeting of the minds

Recently, I was lucky enough to visit the Allianz Arena, home to FC Bayern Munich. This was an opportunity to spend time with my fellow turf colleague, Head Groundsman, Christian Dinauer.

Myself and Christian in the stadium grounds

Our roles share many similar responsibilities, including the ultimate objective of nurturing some very important surfaces!

During the visit, I had the pleasure of taking a tour around the stadium, spending time on the pitch before Bayern took on RB Leipzig in a Bundesliga game.

The pitch itself is sown with annual meadow-grass and ryegrass. There’s also artificial grass sown into the surface to help with wear and tear issues that football pitches have to withstand.

Inside the stadium with Bayern’s first team squad!

It was great to discuss the similar management styles Christian and I have despite being in different sports. One of the interesting subject matters was the use of hybrid turf technology to maintain surface playability during winter periods, something we here at the Links are trialling on a couple of winter tees.

My final tour with Christian was to see his artificial lighting rigs which he uses for heat to promote growth during cooler periods and in shaded areas. These rigs are transported into the stadium during the evening, artificial light is then shone on the grass to replicate sunlight and encourage grass growth under managed temperatures. The lights can give off 20 plus degree heat and help the grass continue to grow year round.

My trip was rounded off with a very special, personalised gift from Bayern Munich presented at the end of the game. A shirt I’ll wear with pride!

Words by Gordon McKie, Course Manager ‑ Old Course

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