Meet Jeff Boll | OSU HCS Alumnus Class of 2008
Jeff Boll is an Athletic Grounds Specialist here at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. He received his Bachelor of Science (2008) in Turfgrass Science from our department.
Jeff's had an illustrious career in the turf industry already ranging from taking care of sports turf for the Los Angeles Dodgers to founding his own lawn care company, Atlas Landscapes to managing golf course turf at New Albany Country Club.
Thankfully, Jeff had time to elaborate on what working in the turf industry is really like + some advice for students considering studying turfgrass science...
How’d you initially become interested in turf?
Growing up I begged to be able to start mowing our lawn. Once I was allowed, I don't think anyone else had to touch the mower at our house. I was able to start mowing a few other houses when I got into high school, and it continued to fuel my passion. I figured out stripping the lawn pretty early and I would stripe our side lawn like a football field and spray paint lines to create a field for my brother and I to play on. When we would get back from vacation and the lawn was extra tall, I would cut a golf hole with tee box, green and fairway into the backyard.
Once at Ohio State, a friend of mine freshman year came back from a tour of CFAES and told me about the program. I setup a tour a few days later and decided this was how I would like to spend my career, being able to work outside and care for grass.
How did your time Here help prepare you for your career?
HCS provided a great experience to learn both in the classroom and labs. The classes laid a solid foundation of knowledge needed to grow high performance turfgrass.
What’s the rough career path that brought you to being an Athletic Grounds Specialist at The Ohio State University?
I started out as a student employee with the Athletic Grounds Crew, taking care of all the varsity fields, including the last year of Ohio Stadium being grass. While I was a student, I did an internship with the San Diego Padres taking care of Petco Park for the 2007 season.
Upon graduation, I worked full-time with Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles taking care of their athletic fields. After working at LMU for a few years, I moved on to a full-time position with the Los Angeles Dodgers and took care of Dodger Stadium.
After a few seasons it was time to move "back home", I was able to switch trajectories and work for the Ohio State Golf Club and New Albany Country Club gaining valuable golf course experiences. Prior to beginning my current position, I started and ran my own landscape and lawn care company, Atlas Landscapes.
What’s a normal day look like for you?
My primary field with Ohio State is the softball stadium, I will make sure the field is prepped for practice and or games. Once the field is set, I am also the primary spray technician for all the fields and common lawns on the Athletic campus. I will make the necessary pesticide applications to help grow healthy fields. Another part of the job is taking care of the Softball Stadium and any issues that come up with the facility.
What have been a few highlights of your time so far in the turf industry?
Taking care of the Horseshoe when it was grass, was really special. It was cool being the only one's inside painting lines or filling divots. Working at Petco Park was really special as well. It was pretty cool to watch the games and say, yeah, I got the mound and home plate ready for the game. It was a great experience learning how to maintain a professional field. Taking care of Dodger Stadium was a once in a lifetime experience. Getting to care for the grass daily was really exciting. While there, we also hosted several movie and television shoots on the field. We even got to be background extras in a couple of them.
Finally at the Ohio State Golf Club, I got to gain tournament experience as we hosted the web.com/KornFerry tour event in the fall. Owning my own business has been special as it is something that hopefully one day my kids will be able to take over and continue to grow if they want to.
any advice for students considering pursuing a career in the turf industry?
Being flexible and understanding of the hours required, the grass doesn't stop growing just because it is a holiday or a weekend. If you love being outside, working with your hands, and even have a bit of an artistic side this is a great industry.
Today, we have a wide variety of academic paths for you to choose from to help you pursue a career in the turf industry…