At a home in Brentwood, Tenn., you’ll find a resort-style backyard created by Goat Turf.
And the best part? The grass is perpetually green. That’s because Goat Turf’s claim to fame is artificial turf installation.
“The client wanted a low-maintenance, beautiful space, whether it’s January or July,” says Goat Turf CEO and founder Tyler Burnett.
Using the Dave Pelz underlayment system beneath putting green turf, chipping mats and a bocce ball course, Goat Turf put together a backyard retreat for its client. The $1.2 million artificial backyard came together without a hiccup thanks to the extensive planning done before the project began.
"There was a lot of planning that went with this project," Burnett says. “We planned from the very beginning and communicated throughout the entire project with my project manager on-site. He nailed it.”
To get the job done, the team relied on both a Cat and ASV skid-steer, as well as dump trucks, trowels, rakes and Weber vibratory plates.
"We also worked with our pool builder, Watermark Pools, very closely," Burnett says. "Over the last several years, we've built such a unique relationship with them, where they really trust us, we really trust them and we just do a great job planning together."
Burnett says his favorite part of the project was seeing the customer's face light up in the end reveal and watching him chip shots on the new turf.
For Burnett, this project was a homerun.
Where it began
Burnett began cutting grass at the age of 12, mowing lawns around his neighborhood to earn enough money to buy a new baseball glove. He would eventually be drafted for the Houston Astros in 2010 as a first and third baseman as well as a leftfielder. Later, Burnett worked at a manufacturing plant for five years. At the plant, Burnett added business management to his skill set.
“I loved the people there, but I just didn't like working in a factory inside. I started thinking, ‘what could I do differently in my life?’” Burnett says. "So, I started designing indoor baseball facilities for high school and college coaches."
It wasn't until a couple years after Burnett began designing indoor baseball facilities that he ran into an old colleague from the manufacturing plant. The former coworker asked Burnett to help his cousin install artificial grass and a putting green in his backyard after finding out about Burnett's experience with artificial turf installation.
“I basically said, ‘Give me a couple days, let me figure this out,’” Burnett recalls. “I started doing some research and went to a couple manufacturers that did artificial grass.”
Burnett came back to the potential client with an estimate.
“When I came back to him, he said, ‘Who do I make the check out to?,’” Burnett says. At the time, Burnett gave the client his name for the check but realized he would need to have an explanation for the bank when depositing such a large sum of money. Burnett turned over business name ideas in his head before Googling “animals that graze grass” for more inspiration.
“Goat was the third thing that came up,” Burnett says. "I actually met my wife at a restaurant here in Murfreesboro, Tenn., called The Goat, I want to be the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) and my number in college was three. Everything just lined up.”
Business name in hand, Burnett went to the bank to open an account for his new venture.
“I finally sat down with somebody and she said, ‘What's artificial grass?’” Burnett says. “I told her and she said, ‘I want to do that in my yard,’ and so I got my second customer.”
The Goat Turf logo was originally found with a Google Images search. Burnett liked the artwork so much that he reached out to the designer and asked for a custom logo for his business using the original piece as a reference. Burnett adds that the goatee on the goat in his logo is a nod to the goatee he has sported since he was 16.
With an available website URL, a copyrighted logo and unique social media handles, Burnett had accidentally a successful business. Then, Burnett recruited his first employee, another former colleague from the manufacturing plant that had experience in excavation work.
“We got the first job done, and I said, ‘I really like this,’ so we went onto the next job and continued to grow from there,” Burnett says. “That was four years ago, almost to the date.”
Now, Burnett has a 21,000-square-foot warehouse with 30 employees and plans to accomplish one million square feet of turf this year. His key to managing his workers is to treat them as he would a team, drawing from his baseball days.
“Really, I'm just trying to put the right players in the right position,” Burnett says. "I want to make sure everybody understands what their role is, empower people and develop talent."
Burnett continues to grow his company in employees, equipment and clients. He says his family-first motto, unwavering drive and inherent luck help Burnett reach his goals as an entrepreneur.
"We want to love what we do, who we do it with and who we do it for," Burnett says.