Bermudagrass on Steroids: John Clintsman & the Tahoma 31 Renovation at Ensworth School

football field

Excerpts from the Making the Turn podcast interview:


To listen to the entire podcast, CLICK HERE


Thinking of switching out your turf to Tahoma 31? In  May 2020, Head of Grounds John Clintsman oversaw the renovation of the football field at Ensworth School. The private school in Nashville, TN, renovated the high school football stadium field from TifSport to Tahoma 31 Bermudagrass. Clintsman had originally planned to renovate the school’s stadium field, which hosts football as well as lacrosse, with Latitude 36. But as Clintsman told podcast host B.J. Parker, once he saw Tahoma 31 on the sod farm field at Winstead Turf Farms, he changed his plans.



Why He Chose Tahoma 31 Over Latitude 36

(Clintsman traveled to Winstead Farms in Memphis to look at Latitude 36.)

“Well, we went over and we looked at the Tahoma, and we’re talking this was early May, so Bermuda is not, it’s not where it needs to be yet in May. The Tahoma was leaps and bounds better than everything else they had on their farm.”


Wear Tolerance

(Post-game field divot repair on the old TifSport field versus the new Tahoma 31 field.)

“With TifSport, we were here two-and-a-half to three hours (after a game to fill divots). I would say we used about 400 pounds of divot mix. We would use a greens sand that Simplot provides us. We’d add some fertilizers and granular wetting agents to it. We would use about 700 pounds of product per game with TifSport. We had two fillable divots on this (Tahoma 31) field Friday night. So, I just told the boys to go home, and it’s like, we’re not even staying for that.”


field crew
The Ensworth School field crew: Chase Pentecost, John Clintsman, Milton Valencia, and Doug Wilson

Tahoma vs. NorthBridge

(Tahoma 31 stadium field vs. the school’s NorthBridge Bermudagrass practice field)

 “NorthBridge is a great grass. I have it right here on the practice field, which is directly behind us. Yeah, it’s a great grass. Tahoma is on steroids. I’m telling you, you can do the exact same thing to the two fields, this (Tahoma 31) field is going to recover quicker. It’s going to accept your inputs quicker. Everything about it is going to happen that much quicker. Right? It’s like watching Barry Bonds hitting home runs.”

Fast to Root

“We got it installed on a Thursday and Friday. On Monday, I had it rooted … I had it starting to tack down on Monday. By that Friday, if I would have opted to mow it with the reel mower, I could have mowed it with a reel mower.”


close up of Tahoma 31 grass
Close-up of Tahoma 31 grass on the field

Drought Tolerance

“In some of the drought situations that we saw, this Tahoma loved to be dry, like it really enjoyed that, you know, almost getting to what you would call the wilting point. Water it and the recovery it would show immediately the next day was fantastic.”


Final Thoughts on the Stress of a Renovation

“While I was always worried, I never doubted. There’s a big difference between worrying and doubt. I never doubted we had the right people there or the right product, which, Tahoma 31 is absolutely the right product.”

Check out this episode, and many other informative turf-centered Making the Turn podcast episodes at


All photos credit: John Clintsman

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