Please see below an article from our October newsletter:
My Internship Experience at Modern Turf
My name is Ray Castles, and I am sophomore majoring in Horticulture at Clemson University. This summer I was fortunate to obtain an internship at Modern Turf in the Columbia/Lexington area of South Carolina.
Dustin Campfield, one of my supervisors at Modern Turf, told me at the beginning of my internship that I would be involved in sod sales, fertilization, sports field management, retail operations, golf course installation, and weed control. Dustin was right, and I did all of that and even more. For instance, this past week I did something that I never expected that I would do – I built a practice softball and baseball field at a school. I have been very satisfied with my internship.
The connections I have made between the classroom and the internship experience are from Horticulture 101: such as the planting right for the site, and learning the different names of trees and grasses. Planting right for the site is a crucial topic because grass is difficult to grow in deeply shaded areas and some types do better than others. Knowing the pH of the soil also matters a lot to ensure plant health so many soil samples were taken this summer. The concept of deep watering that I learned in class really matters also, and I made that connection while I was fixing the irrigation on the sports fields. For grass to be established it has to receive a lot of water. When we replanted areas in a huge soccer complex, we had to apply water manually on the sod because the irrigation would take six hours to run through its cycle, which is too long, and the grass could be burned up in the hot sun if we only relied on the irrigation system.
As I mentioned earlier, my best day was probably my last day because that is when we finished the softball and baseball practice field. I was able to put together many skills and techniques that I learned over the summer on this job. We had to grade and level the field, lay three zones of irrigation, lay sod, and put in the bases on the field. That does not sound like a lot, but it was a lot of really hard work and it looked great once all the pieces came together and it was really satisfying.
To conclude, I think that I am a fast learner most of the time, and I do not mind heat and I do not mind working long hours. That really helps me because I am not moaning and groaning about digging holes or laying sod in the middle of the day, and I don’t mind when the boss says “Today is going to be a short day,” but I end up working a 12-hour day. I love my job, everyone is so easy going, and I am pretty sure I will be back at Modern Turf in the winter to help build a soccer complex and maybe even next summer to work. Working at Modern Turf has shown me that I love working outdoors and want to do it for the rest of my life.
– Ray Castles, Clemson University Horticulture Student