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5 Minutes With... Simone Staples

Thursday 22, Oct 2020

The Australian Sports Turf Managers Association has created a segment to help the turf industry stay connected.  With many events postponed due to current challenges, the opportunity to meet new and catch up with familiar friends and peers across the turf industry is limited, so we’re keeping connected and to ensure that turf managers can get to know members from other areas of the industry, other States and other countries, to help promote the professionals and the hard work put into the industry.

Today we spend 5 minutes with... Simone Staples, Events and Education Manager with ASTMA.  Simone took over the key role of Australian Sports Turf Managers Association events and education manager in 2007 after working in an admin capacity part-time.


Provide a quick overview of your facility (staff, turf varieties managed, current role and length of time at your club/facility.)

Have been with AGCSA/ASTMA full time for 14 years, prior to that 10 years at STA (Victoria)  Seems I must have a talent for organising (bossing around) Turfies!!!  It also shows how old I am getting.


2020 has been one out of the box especially in light of the global pandemic – how have your operations had to change and adapt from past years and what has been the most challenging aspect for your as a superintendent/sports turf manager?

The most challenging part of Covid for me has been trying to stay connected with those in the industry.  Usually I get to see industry mates from around the country at the conference, field days and education meetings.  Can’t wait to get back into the office, see my work colleagues face to face and get back out and about and catching up with everyone.


Best piece of advice you have received about the turf management profession and who gave it to you?

It is not really advise, more just something that one old Victorian sports turf manager told me when I first started back in the early 90’s and I have never forgotten it and it still rings true today.  “You will never meet a group of more honest and humble blokes than those in the turf industry.  We are passionate about our work and proud of what we do.  You are going to be around a lot of men but don’t worry, most of us are gentlemen!”   

When I say old, he was not that old in years just someone who had/has been in the industry for years.  I still see him from time to time and it is always great to catch up.  That was at least 25 years ago!


Talk about a recent or current project you have undertaken at your facility and what it means for the club.

Working on improving and strengthening the Sports Turf Management Qualifications is something I take really seriously.  The national turf education working group comprises of representatives from TAFE and industry body’s across the country.  We have representatives from bowls, councils, golf, stadiums and private schools and continually work to make sure there are good well trained people coming through the ranks.  Being part of this group and representing turf education on various government advisory committees is something I am passionate about.  Education is so important and the work state STA’s, GCSA’s and the ASTMA do behind the scenes often goes unrecognised, however it is the strong foundation that builds tomorrows Sports Turf Managers.      


Tell us one thing about yourself that your fellow turf practitioners might now know about you (eg: hobbies/achievements in sport etc).

To this day I still can’t recognise Poa annua.  I know how to kill it, control it, what conditions it likes and how most turfies hate it.  Think it must be a mental block because even though I have been shown many times, when looking at a green or walking across an oval I am only guessing which plant is Poa!! 


What piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?

Don’t expect your sister to understand or be interested in your assignments.  (if she was she might recognise Poa)


What do you like doing in your spare time?

Currently I do nothing because of lockdown.  I stare into space and talk to myself!  In the future if I avoid being committed I hope to get back to going to live theatre and comedy shows.  The bonus will be doing this either interstate or overseas!


Thanks for telling us a little more about yourself Simone!