When he has spare time during his busy days, Jim Beggs will go over to Glynn County Stadium with his pocket knife to cut up individual loose weeds.
To Beggs, the school system’s 16-year turf specialist, it makes more sense than wasting $200 worth of chemicals to correct something he can fix by hand.
It’s one of the many tedious, often-overlooked tasks he will perform on a regular basis to help maintain the county’s top football field, as well as all the other Glynn County high school and middle school athletic facilities.
So goes the unnoticed precision with which Beggs handles his daily duties.
“Jim takes such good care of this. This is like his own personal yard,” Glynn County School System grounds manager Steve Boling said. “He takes everything pretty personally out here. I appreciate it very much. We all do in the school system. This is his baby.”
Beggs even quipped that, after a long day maintaining athletic fields, he takes much less care of the grass at his own home.
“My yard doesn’t look like this,” he said. “My wife said she was expecting our lawn to look like a golf course. I said if she wanted that, we better move to the golf course then.”
His wife’s expectation isn’t misplaced, however. Beggs grew up on golf courses, starting turf management at 14. He went on to get his agronomy degree from the University of Georgia, one of three students in the major in the class of 1988.
Following graduation, he landed a gig fixing up golf courses, working as an assistant golf superintendent and head superintendent, also spending time as a spray technician.
In 1999, he made his way to the Glynn County School System where he’s maintained the turf-grass ever since.
“I defer to Jim on almost everything,” Boling said. “I’m responsible for it all, but Jim’s the one that takes care of everything on site.”
In recent weeks, Beggs has had plenty to do. While he’s responsible for mending the Bermuda-grass field throughout the year — and he does so every day — he pays special attention to Glynn County Stadium over the summer as football season approaches.
This year, he had to do a little extra maintenance due to the soccer season, the Dierks Bentley benefit concert and Glynn Academy’s graduation.
“It wasn’t too bad. There was some ruts and some places with some spot grease built up,” Beggs said. “I could top dress it and over-seed behind it. You really didn’t see that there was a problem.”
On Thursday, as Beggs went through his day-to-day checkup, it looked as good as new. Understandably so, considering all the work he and his crew of four put in this summer to get the field in game-ready shape. At the start of the summer, Beggs began the aerification process and started top dressing the field, which he better describes as “taking nine tons of sand and spreading it out with a box to fill all the holes.”
He continues improvements with lawn-mowing sessions every other day.
“He can turn this back into a carpet at the end of the summer,” Boling said. “You take a lot of this for granted. Jim repairs (it) all summer long.”
In the coming weeks, Beggs will begin painting lines on the field, which he and his four-person crew update the Wednesday before every home game — yet another example of his perfectionist approach.
While many of the thousands of fans at games don’t think twice about the field’s beauty, Beggs and Boling said they do hear well-deserved positive feedback from time-to-time. In fact, it’s often opposing coaches and players who rave over Glynn County Stadium’s top-notch turf.
“A lot of them are going AstroTurf now. We stayed grass. What we hear from visiting teams, they’re all just thrilled. They say it’s one of the best grounds they play on, as far as the upkeep and grass part of it. A lot of them will say, ‘we’re playing in cow pastures, compared to what you’ve got here,’” Boling said. “We owe it all to Jim.”