After studying the grasses and growing conditions at PGA Catalunya, we went to Barcelona to study the grasses there.
At the Sagrada Família, we found perennial ryegrass growing on a shaded lawn in front of this impressive building.
As at many stadia, especially in Europe, supplemental lighting is used to improve the turf conditions. Shade from the stadium structure itself, combined with the low global irradiance in the winter months, leaves the turf relatively weak. Supplemental lighting, such as this system from Stadium Grow Lighting (SGL), can produce a substantial improvement in turfgrass conditions.
Just how much extra light is provided by such a system? By my calculations, this lighting system will provide, over 24 hours of continuous operation, about 14 moles of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) per square meter. Is this a lot of light, or is it a little?
It depends on the context. During the summer months, or at any time of year in the tropics, 14 moles per square meter is roughly equivalent to 2 hours of unobstructed sunshine at midday. But 14 moles is also about the same as a full day of average sunshine at Barcelona during the month of December. And 14 moles is more than 4 times the light turf would normally receive at Edinburgh on a December day.
Compared to the amount of light warm-season turf requires (and typically receives) either in the summer or near the equator, the amount of light provided by such a system is negligible. Running the lighting system for 48 consecutive hours would be the same as about 4 hours of midday sun. But for cool-season turf in the winter, running the lights for one day could be equivalent to almost a week of natural light. That is pretty substantial!
Barcelona is full of interesting places without any grass, and for the rest of the day I saw many of them. But I couldn't help but notice that even under the tram, one finds a fine turf between the rails. At first glance I thought it was artificial turf. Upon closer inspection, I saw that it was grass, with the leaves angled in the direction of the passing tram.