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woman in a man's field
While the mqwer is stored at Michigan Stadium, much of the other equipment is kept at the University Golf
Course maintenance area. Shown above are a tractor and topdresser.
Fouty looks hack as she drags the turf-grooming brush across the field.
The primary drainage vault shown above sucks water out of the field at
A suit and high heels are not part of Amy Fouty's daily attire. Then again, Amy
Fouty is not your typical working professional. In a profession dominated by men,
Fouty has become one of few female groundskeepers in this country.
A native of Wisconsin, Fouty has always been fascinated with sports turf manage-
ment and graduated from the Turf Management Program at Michigan State
University. After interning in Japan for a year, she first became the assistant superin-
tendent at the Links at Whitmore Lake Golf Course and later became the head
superintendent. After this stint, her favorite colors quickly changed from green and
white to maize and blue when Fouty assumed the challenging position of
Groundskeeper/Turf Technician at Michigan Stadium.
While she notes that this is the most visible aspect of her work, she
also cares for the condition of the three football practice fields along
with the women's soccer field.
During football season, her job becomes especially hectic and time-
consuming. Whether the team has back-to-back games or a week off
between games can dramatically alter her work schedule. After every
game the field is topdressed with sand and swept with a turf-grooming
brush. This allows the roots of the grass to grow vertically, allowing
the grass to stand upright and not lay flat.
Fouty is also responsible for setting the automatic irrigation system
along with controlling and overseeing the drainage of the field. Later
in the season, when there is less sun and cooler temperatures, some
adjustments are made to the irrigation and drainage systems.
Using a riding Toro 5200 golf fairway mower, the field is cut at one-
and-a-quarter inches and uses the mower to create the grass patterns
that run horizontally across the field every ten yards. Wednesday and
Thursday before game day, Fouty oversees the painting of the field.
This meticulous process involves a crew who are solely responsible for
painting the field. When she has two weeks to prepare, other proce-
dures are done to field such as aeration.
It should be mentioned that Fouty discusses all decisions regarding
the field with her boss, Tracey Jones, who has worked for the
University for 12 years and is currently the manager of Raderick Farms
Amy Fouty is an extremely dedicated employee doing a job tradition-
ally thought of as a man's. Always interested by sports turf manage-
ment, Fouty has crossed that invisible gender barrier with flying
photo story by David Katz
To the players on the Michigan football team, 1 11,000 screaming fans is comforting. To Amy Fouty,
the peaceful calm of the Big House soothes her.
When ame day is around the corner, Fouty's full focus is on the
field. igns like the one above are posted warning visitors to
Inevitably. after every game, the field takes abi
entire field picking up loose divots.