Natural Grass Or Synthetic Turf?

Just as there are different types of grass, there are different types of synthetic turf, as well as different types of infill (the particles within the turf system itself, usually crumb rubber or a mixture of sand or crumb rubber, although other materials are used as well). A professional partner can help explain the properties of each type of surface, natural and synthetic, and explain why one or another may work better in different situations.

Note: A fairly new entry into the market is the hybrid field, an artificial-turf field that has been purposefully sown with natural grass as well, in order to try to maintain as many of the playing qualities and advantages of both fields as possible. If you are interested in this emergent technology, discuss it with a professional partner; like both natural grass and artificial turf, the hybrid field has its advantages and disadvantages.

This information is not a complete analysis; other factors apply, and should be taken into consideration as well. And as mentioned above, it is rare that one type of field has all the advantages (and no disadvantages); in most cases, there is give-and-take in the decision-making process.

Many organizations have found that, rather than settling on one type of field, there is an advantage to having a balance of both natural and artificial facilities available.

The artificial-turf facilities help avoid rainouts and rescheduling by allowing for games to be played sooner after a rain, while the natural-grass fields host events like community fairs or fireworks displays, which have the potential to cause expensive damage to a synthetic surface.

“Having constructed both natural-grass and synthetic fields at locations throughout the northeast, our experience is that organizations that have a synthetic field nearby will see improvement to their natural-grass fields,” says James Catella of The Clark Companies in Delhi, N.Y.

“The ability to have multiple practices and games by various teams on the multipurpose synthetic field allows for facilities personnel to dedicate more time to their maintenance practices of the natural-grass fields. They also experience improved conditions because of the rotation of use on the natural-grass fields due to the availability of the synthetic field during inclement weather conditions.”

By working with a competent partner, by taking into consideration the pertinent facts about the use, the site, the budget and more, and by weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each surface, you’ll wind up with a clearer path through the decision-making process and a better feel about the decision you’ll eventually make.

Note: The American Sports Builders Association (ASBA) is a non-profit association helping designers, builders, owners, operators and users understand quality sports-facility construction. The ASBA sponsors informative meetings and publishes newsletters, books and technical construction guidelines for athletic facilities, including athletic fields. Available at no charge is a listing of all publications offered by the Association, as well as the ASBA’s Membership Directory. Info: 866-501-ASBA (2722) or

Mary Helen Sprecher has been a technical writer for more than 20 years with the American Sports Builders Association. She has written on various topics related to sports-facility design, construction and supply, as well as sports medicine, education, health and industrial issues. She is an avid racquetball and squash player, and is a full-time newspaper reporter in Baltimore, Md.

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One comment on “Natural Grass Or Synthetic Turf?

  1. Synthetic Turf on said:

    The advantages and disadvantages of original grass and synthetic turf are very clearly differentiated. Now everyone can understand the difference between both.

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