Loons' groundskeeper wins national award - WNEM TV 5

Loons' groundskeeper wins national award

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MIDLAND, MI (WNEM) -

It's a field of play, but for the man whose job is to take care of it - it's a field of dreams and a lot of hard work.

The Great Lakes Loons head groundskeeper Kelly Rensel recently won Sports Turf Managers Association's fifth annual Mowing Patterns Contest.

It's the groundskeeping equivalent of hitting a grand slam.

"That's my baby right there," Rensel said.

His job is to make sure the field is in perfect condition for the Great Lakes Loons.

"It's incredibly important. It's safety, it's playability, it's everything. If the guys can't have a good field that they trust, then they're not going to play their best," Rensel said.

Rensel takes that commitment one step farther by making sure the field looks good too.

His design for this year's all star game won a national award.

"I was pretty happy. I knew that I worked hard on it, that my crew worked really hard on it. So that was more for them because they really deserved to get some spot light on that," Rensel said.

Rensel's team beat out more than 20 grounds crews from across the country spanning every sport and playing level.

Designing an award winning field is a lot harder than it looks. It takes months of planning and hard work.

Rensel had the challenge of balancing creative patterns and keeping the players safe.

"We worked on it for close to a year trying to figure out what we were going to do for that game and how big it was going to be. The size and just the process going into it. So I was pretty happy that we won that," he said.

Rensel said he needs to start planning soon if he wants to top this season's winning design.

"That's what I'm doing right now, researching new patterns and trying to figure out next year," he said.

The award can be won by any members of the Sports Turf Managers Association.

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