Leading Off

Shoddy lawn sore sight for 49ers’ $1.3 billion home

A San Francisco 49ers player runs on the field at Levi's Stadium during the team's NFL football training camp in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015.
A San Francisco 49ers player runs on the field at Levi's Stadium during the team's NFL football training camp in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015. AP

The 49ers’ year-old home in Santa Clara still looks brand-spanking new.

And at a cost of some $1.3 billion to build, it better.

But what an embarrassment it must be for Jed York and the family to have the neighborhood’s most beautiful house with the worst-looking lawn on the block.

It’s certainly the greenest grass you’ll find in this drought-thirsty state, where houses with brown lawns have become a sign of these dry times.

But after just a couple of practices to start training camp, the 49ers have churned and turned the turf inside Levi’s Stadium into something that resembles the wake of a tractor pull. The numerous divots and holes make the 49ers’ football field resemble Bushwood Country Club with a gopher problem.

The 49ers had planned to practice at least eight times in their stadium to start training camp, but moved back to their regular practice fields after just two. The turf was too chopped up, too slippery and too dangerous for players.

The condition of the field is so bad the 49ers had to cancel Sunday’s public practice at Levi’s Stadium, where some 20,000 fans were expected to attend.

So what’s the root of this grass problem? Is it the turf not taking hold in the soil, or are there just too many events at the stadium?

In its first year Levi’s hosted 10 NFL games, several high school games, college football games, numerous soccer matches, an NHL outdoor game, numerous concerts and yes – a tractor pull.

The turf this season is reportedly scheduled to be replaced seven to eight times. The final installment will come before Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7.

But if the 49ers haven’t figured out the turf troubles yet, maybe the answer is to go with an artificial turf that is now found in many NFL stadiums.

It looks nice, performs well and doesn’t shred. And most importantly, here in California, you don’t have to water it.

Victor Contreras (916) 326-5527, vcontreras@sacbee.com, @sacbeevictor

  • WHAT TO WATCH: Football Hall of Fame enshrinement, 4 p.m., ESPN, NFL: Charles Haley of the 49ers and Cowboys, and Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown are members of the induction class of 2015.
  • TWITTER CHATTER: “Calling the field at Levi’s Stadium a cow pasture would be an insult to cow pastures.” – @sportingnews
  • ON THIS DATE: On Aug. 8, 1982, Ray Floyd, who shot a record 63 in the opening round, wins the PGA championship by three shots over Lanny Wadkins.
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