Tired Of Natural Turf Taking A Timeout?

Hiring a synthetic-turf consultant ensures that the right field is selected for a particular application.

The correct balance of face-weight to infill is as important as the proper installation. A turf expert can evaluate the purpose of the field, how often it is used and the potential use patterns, as well as recommend the synthetic grass suitable for a specific application.

The Basics

A synthetic field is constructed on top of a draining base consisting of tiles that direct the excess water away from the field, either into a storm drain or a retention basin. Above the drainage system is a pervious layer of geotextile covered with a combination of small and large stones. Finally, the top layer is the synthetic turf and infill.

Synthetic grass is composed of polyethylene fibers in the grass zone and short nylon fibers in the root zone that help reduce infill migration; this keeps the surface topography consistent throughout the field. The infill material is made from sand or rubber.

“With today’s technology, manufacturers are able to make blades that are 310 to 360 microns thick. The thicker fibers wear better and last up to 15 years,” says Maki.

Synthetic Safety

“The synthetic turf throughout the field should feel the same under the athlete’s foot and must have a consistent Gmax value,” says Belles. “Gmax value is an ASTM-regulated test done to measure the impact of the human head on a hard surface.”

“Sports injuries are going to happen. You can’t protect against that. The best thing you can do is provide a stable, consistent surface throughout the entire field,” says Maki. “The field must feel the same under the athlete’s foot at all times while also providing impact resistance.”

The Possibilities

The city-owned Barron Stadium in Rome, Ga., has hosted 20 events per year, including the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ (NAIA) National Championship games. At one point, the organization considered moving the games to a location with a better field.

But then the field was converted to synthetic grass, and usage skyrocketed.

“They now have 60 events per year, host games for Rome High School Wolves, Shorter University Hawks and the NAIA National Championship–generating an economic impact of nearly $2 million per year,” says Britton. “Additionally, in 2011 they’ll host a collegiate lacrosse tournament; Mid-South Track and Field Championships, with 30 teams; the Peach State Marching Festival for high-school bands; and adult soccer, adult flag football, and recreation league games at the stadium.”

A synthetic-turf field might be the solution to the ever-increasing demand on your limited resources and space. It seems to have worked out very well in Rome.

Tammy York is the owner of LandShark Communications LLC which specializes in media and public relations for outdoor recreation businesses. Her book, 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Cincinnati, is available online and in bookstores. You can reach her at tammy@landsharkcommunications.com.

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  5. Tending To Turf

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