Top turf: Kennesaw State stadium earns national award

KENNESAW, Ga. | Nov 29, 2018

Fifth Third Bank Stadium recognized by Sports Turf Managers Association

For the fourth consecutive year, Kennesaw State University’s Fifth Third Bank Stadium has been recognized as one of the top playing fields in the country by the Sports Turf Managers Association.

The STMA named Fifth Third Bank Stadium its 2018 “Field of the Year” in the College Sporting Grounds category. The multi-purpose stadium is the centerpiece of KSU’s Sports + Entertainment Park and hosts about 50 events a year.

Kennesaw State secured the award after installing a hybrid turf earlier this year that gives Fifth Third Bank Stadium a more durable and sustainable field. The Tarkett PlayMaster reinforced natural turf – a blend of synthetic fibers and natural grass – eliminates the need for annual re-sodding of large portions of the field while also providing a safe playing surface.

Precision Turf, which manages KSU’s athletic fields, grew a plot of the hybrid turf at its farm in Braselton and suggested it as a viable option for Fifth Third Bank Stadium. Sports turf manager Shane Hohlbein heads Precision Turf’s efforts at Kennesaw State, along with Jared Kent and Parker McGlone.

“The condition of our field is central to all that we do, and we are lucky enough to have a great team in Precision Turf that works steadfastly to make our facility the best of the best,” said Zach Kerns, executive director/general manager of the KSU Sports + Entertainment Park. “We are able to provide our student-athletes and coaches with a first-class facility while maintaining a strong, durable field that can handle our heavy schedule at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.”

Opened in 2010, Fifth Third Bank Stadium is the home of the Kennesaw State football, soccer and lacrosse teams and the Atlanta Blaze of Major League Lacrosse. The stadium also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including the Owl-O-Ween hot air balloon festival and the Star-Spangled Spectacular concert and fireworks show. The venue’s attendance record was set in June when 9,743 fans watched Atlanta United defeat Charleston Battery in the U.S. Open Cup soccer tournament.

The “Field of the Year” awards are presented annually by the STMA to collegiate, professional and recreational venues based on playability, appearance, utilization of innovative solutions and effective use of budget. The winners will be recognized at the STMA Conference and Exhibition in Phoenix, Arizona in January.

– Paul Floeckher

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit