Artificial grass is more than a low-maintenance solution that looks great in the yard – it’s also one of the best athletic solutions for football, soccer, and other athletic fields.
Although the Cost of Turf is a consideration, there are many advantages that can offset the initial investment.
If you enjoy football or soccer, you’ve probably watched a game played on artificial sports turf.
Both college and professional sports organizations have turned to artificial sports turf over the years … and there’s one simple reason.
The synthetic material is designed to withstand the wear and tear of consistent wear and tear from games and practice. In addition, because synthetic materials don’t require water to stay healthy, field managers are able to keep the field in good shape throughout the year.
On top of that, artificial sports turf is resistant to damage caused by weather, including flooding, mud, and even ice. At the end of the day, the cost of turf can be offset by it’s benefits.
While artificial turf has many exciting and use implications for residential use, perhaps it gets the most attention in the athletic world for its use in professional and college sports.
It makes sense for teams to install artificial turf in their arenas and fields because artificial grass is durable, able to stand up to the wear and tear of cleats and rough-and-tumble games. It is also easy to maintain, not requiring any watering or mowing and it is relatively impervious to the weather, resisting mud and muck during rain or inclement weather, which can be problematic or even dangerous to the players.
Athletic Advantages of Artificial Sports Turf
While you may think of artificial grass as being a home product, great for making your lawn both beautiful and low-maintenance, the truth is it was invented to be used for athletics first.
It is common to hear athletes, especially high school athletes, play on AstroTurf, a brand name of synthetic turf used for athletics. Few know that AstroTurf was originally branded as ChemGrass back in the mid-1960s by inventors Donald L. Elbert, James M. Faria, and Robert T. Wright. The name was changed to AstroTurf after it was installed in Houston’s Astrodome in 1966.
Throughout the 60s and 70s, much time was spent reimagining and improving artificial turf, as there was initially some problem with its functionality in regards to athletes’ traction. Today, however, synthetic grass has become safer, more durable, and more life-like than ever before, increasing both the safety and functionality of the sports played on it.
In addition to the general benefits that artificial turf boasts, there are some specific benefits that make it particularly appealing for college and professional sports teams. Besides being perpetually green and always ready for the spotlight, artificial turf offers teams several important advantages:
1. Increases practice time
Teams will no longer have to worry about inclement weather interfering with either their practicing or their game schedules.
With artificial turf, the field – whether for baseball, football, soccer, softball, or lacrosse, among others – will always be ready. If it’s raining, sunny, snowy, or windy, the condition of the turf will always be largely the same. Players won’t have to worry about mud interfering with their schedule, rendering their field unusable.
This means that not only will they not have to deal with game cancellations, but they will be able to increase their practice time, which will ensure they can achieve their goals to the best of their ability.
2. Sports turf levels the playing field
In the past, southern schools have had a distinct advantage over northern, cooler-weather climates. Especially when paired with an under-turf heater, northern schools will be able to practice throughout the winter months (as southern schools have always been able to do!) and even host games. This could have economic implications, as well, for the professional sports teams in northern states, who, with the combination of turf and heaters, be able to host championships games for sports during the winter months when they have not been equipped to do so in the past. Hosting the Superbowl, for example, can draw in up to eight hundred million dollars in revenue not only for the host city, but for its entire state.
3. Increases safety
With natural materials, many fields need to be sloped or graded to promote proper water drainage. With artificial turf, this is no longer necessary. Fields can be flat and even, making them easier and safer for players to play on. Drainage can be built in to prevent standing water. Furthermore, because they never grow muddy (largely because they are not planted in dirt, as grass must be), players will not need to be worry about slipping or becoming bogged down in the field.
Benefits of Installing Heaters under Turf
Under-turf heat is comprised of heating systems installed on the underside of the pitch to avoid bad weather, such as snow and ice, from building up. Green Bay was the first NFL team to install heaters under their turf. Now it is a common practice in professional sports fields to heat the pitch. This serves to not only to keep inclement weather from the field surface, but also to keep the players – and their muscles – warmed. This, in turn, can further prevent injuries, such as pulled or torn muscles, which are common when performing in less hospitable climes.
This, along with the advantages already inherent in artificial turf, will allow schools and teams to practice in all sorts of weather. The heaters will, for example, keep the fields snow-free and dry during the winter months. This will increase again the amount of possible playing time for the teams.
Like the use of artificial turf, installation of heaters on athletic fields can increase the safety for players. Snow, rain, and ice can cause mud, slippery conditions, or variance in the traction of a playing field. Installing heaters to melt the ice and dry wet or muddy conditions will prevent players from slipping, losing their balance, or injuring themselves running over an inconsistent surface.
In combination with synthetic grass, underground heaters can help players achieve their maximum potential on the field while also augmenting the playing and practicing time, which will, in turn, lead to untold economic benefits for the team organization.
It can also provide a real boost for both college and professional sports. Offering relief from inequitable climes, improved safety, and reduced maintenance costs over the life of the turf, there are many advantages to improving athletic endeavors of all levels with artificial turf.
Artificial turf is ideal for any sport at any level – from field hockey to football, soccer to lacrosse, in high school, college, or even professional leagues. The benefits of installing turf – especially turf with heaters – are numerous. It will improve the economic potential of the sports, as well as counteracting the negative impact of winter and increase the overall safety of the players.