From field of weeds to field of dreams

Alum’s company maintains football playing surface


Photo submitted

Thanks to TurfDogs, the grass field at Arlington was in pristine shape for every football home game this season.

Jake Langdon, Reporter/Videographer

The football team celebrated Homecoming with a 49-7 win over Brebeuf Jesuit that capped off an undefeated home regular season. For Mr. Andrew Christiansen ‘99, president of Turfdogs Athletic Field Management, this season was a bit more special than others. His team was responsible for preparing the field on which the Irish team plays. 

The school’s football program has hosted home games in a variety of locations over the last 20 years, including Lawrence North, Lawrence Central, Arsenal Tech and even local colleges. Last year the school sought a more permanent home, which turned them to look at the field at the recently shut down Arlington High School. Cathedral used to call Arlington home for football games in the ‘90s when Christiansen played for the varsity. 

During the search for a home field, Christiansen said, “Coach (Mr. Rick) Streiff and Coach (Mr. Bill) Peebles called me and we walked the (Arlington) field, and it was all weeds.” But despite the poor condition of the field, the Irish decided that this would be their new home.

Christiansen and the Turfdogs staff were given full responsibility for the field and transformed it from an unplayable weed covered surface to, as Christiansen described it, “One of the best grass fields in the state.”

Turfdogs Lawn & Landscape is a full service commercial and residential landscaping contractor that specializes in athletic fields. They are responsible for 110 different schools’ athletic fields across Indiana as well as Ohio and Illinois. They also worked on Brunette Park, taking it from a baseball Little League field and building it into a high school facility. 

He and his crew use cutting edge technology, as many of his employees hold turf science degrees. Christiansen said, “It has taken a lot of time, a lot of money and a lot of specialized equipment. So over the last 10 years we have gotten a million dollars in athletic equipment that we can only use on athletic fields. It’s kind of like a (maintaining a) golf course.”

I would not be where I am today without Cathedral.”

— Mr. Andrew Christiansen '99

Christiansen said he was honored to come back and help out his alma mater. He said, “It is probably one of my biggest joys. It’s pretty neat on Friday night when I can bring my kids to a Cathedral football game. It’s neat to sit there and think that 20 years ago I was on that field.”

The field requires a high level maintenance just for a few games. Christiansen and his crew begin work on the field in March to prepare it for anywhere between four and six games throughout the football season. Christiansen said in early spring the crew laid seen applications of fertilizer and weed control about five weeks apart. “In the spring we roll the field with an asphalt roller, and we airify it where we punch holes in the field. Then we top dress it with a root zone sand and we overseed it,” he said.

Christiansen said, “It’s got a custom turf program that we have designed for that field. We maintain it all year for four games.” During the week of a home contest, Turfdogs mows the field four times and uses an asphalt roller to prepare for Friday night. Rolling the field compacts it, making it firm and smooth, allowing the athletes to run more confidently. 

Christiansen said, “I’m just glad we can help and proud to take care of the field we played on back and the ‘90s and the field you are playing on now. It’s pretty neat to be able to give back to my school, because I would not be where I am today without Cathedral.”