Brewster Academy

"Once I knew I was going to take over the sports turf, I wanted to go with Tom Irwin..."

—Mark DeWolf, Brewster Academy, Wolfeboro

Mark DeWolf is admittedly a bit of a perfectionist. That’s a big part of why he took over the turf management responsibilities for Brewster Academy’s five grass athletic fields almost four years ago. “It’s a gorgeous piece of property, but I saw the little things that weren’t right,” he said. DeWolfe had been maintaining the rest of the private school’s 80-acre campus since the early ‘90s while an outside company handled the sports turf.

Brewster Academy campus lawn

DeWolf’s sense of ownership about the school grounds is not surprising. “I have family ties to Brewster Academy,” he said. “My grandfather was head of the school from the forties to the late fifties. I definitely feel a connection to it.”

There are few secondary schools anywhere that enjoy a setting as beautiful as Brewster Academy’s. Nestled on a half-mile stretch of waterfront property on New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee, the coeducational day and boarding school is surrounded by mountains. Brewster Academy administrators understand that the visual appeal of the campus is as essential to maintaining full enrollment as the school’s acclaimed use of technology, strong athletic programs, and its outstanding academic college preparatory program which serves a range of learning styles.

“Once I knew I was going to take over the sports turf program, I wanted to go with Tom Irwin,” DeWolf said. “I had talked to some people who had worked with them on the golf course side of things and was really impressed with the way they run their business and how oriented they are to helping their customers succeed.”

Brian Luccini, one of Tom Irwin’s sports turf reps, soon became a regular visitor to Wolfeboro, working with Mark DeWolf to address the unique challenges of Brewster’s athletic fields.

“We have clay soils which don’t drain very well and a lot of native bent grass, which don’t root as well as a bluegrass or ryegrass,” said DeWolf. “We’re using different products to amend the soils and it’s getting better every year.”

Mark DeWolfe appreciates the high quality of support he gets from Tom Irwin.

“We’re on a good soil test program that we do every spring,” he said. “It’s a much more comprehensive soil test than I was able to get through the state cooperative extension service or other firms.” DeWolf also likes the organic products he gets from Tom Irwin, which help him create a more sustainable approach at his lakeside location.

“I’ve had other people call on me once in a while to sell me fertilizer, but it was hard to get a salesman to stop by more than once to really sit down and work with me,” said DeWolf.

“Brian comes up at least three or four times a year to tour the fields and go over the program and make sure everything’s going well,” he said. “We’ve become really good friends.”

The improvements to the heavily used Brewster Academy fields have been steady and impressive.

“When I first started managing the sports fields, we used to use pallets of sod each year to repair goal mouths and other large areas of wear,” said DeWolfe. “This year, with Brian and Tom Irwin’s help, I’ve had the smallest amount of repair work that I’ve ever had.”

DeWolf’s perfectionism has paid off. Last March, the New England Sports Turf Manager’s Association, NESTMA, voted him its New England Sports Turf Manager of the Year for 2012.

Mark welcomes you to contact him if you have any questions about his experience with Tom Irwin: mark_dewolf@brewsteracademy.org


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