SPORTS SURFACES

Table of Contents

  1. Hockey
  2. Cricket
  3. Tennis
  4. Soccer
  5. Multi-sports
  6. Golf
  7. Bowls
  8. Gyms
  9. Rugby
  10. Article: Benefits of synthetic ball fields

Artificial sports turfs’ significantly reduce the negative qualities of natural grass fields, such as high maintenance costs, cancelled games, and uneven performance. High quality synthetic turfs are manufactured from durable, high performing fibres and backings.  They are tested to meet the highest performance standards required by World Sporting Bodies including FIFA, World Rugby, FIH, ITF and World Bowls. A quality, high-performance sports field begins with the quality of the yarn and performance testing.

A range of sports turf engineered specifically for different sports and levels of play is available from recognised manufacturers or suppliers. These include lawn bowls, cricket, football, golf, hockey, gyms, rugby, and tennis. Several synthetic turf systems are ideal for a combination of sports making them perfect for school campuses, councils and sports clubs. Artificial grass sports systems are custom designed ensuring they meet the needs of your specific requirements.

How artificial grass for sports surfaces is made: Courtesy Tiger Turf and Tencate https://tigerturf.com/au/sports/

How a hockey field surface is made: Video courtesy of Tiger Turf and Tencate https://youtu.be/tPWM8vQ2E7c

Hockey

blue synthetic turf hockey field
Blue synthetic turf hockey field by CCG

Maintaining Your Hockey Pitch for Optimum Performance

Excerpts: Courtesy Tiger Turf Australia article 5 October 2021

While artificial turf for hockey is much easier to maintain than natural grass, it doesn’t mean that no maintenance is required.

Small efforts, frequently, will ensure that you maintain a tip-top hockey pitch. This in turn can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-follow maintenance schedule for your hockey turf, look no further. We’ve combined our knowledge to bring you a complete guide for maintaining your artificial turf for hockey.

Let’s dive in!

Why should I maintain my hockey turf?

It’s artificial, right? Doesn’t it kind of… take care of itself? Not quite.

Synthetic grass has greater longevity than natural grass, increased hours of field usage, and can last for many years – but to get all of these benefits, you need to maintain it.

Maintaining your hockey turf properly can:

  • Reduce costs and maximize lifespan: Regular monitoring of the turf means that you can identify issues before they become big expensive problems. It will also increase its lifespan.
  • Reduce the number of injuries to athletes: If cared for properly, top-quality synthetic turf reduces friction and cushions athletes’ feet. This minimizes slipping and other related injuries.
  • Optimize the playing conditions: With proper care for hockey turf, the ball goes further and faster, enabling a great game for spectators and players alike.
  • Increase enjoyment of the sport for athletes, officials, and the crowd:A reduction in costs and injuries, as well as optimized playing conditions, makes for a more enjoyable and satisfying experience for everyone.

How do I maintain it though?

You know that a little maintenance on a regular basis helps to identify and deal with any issues before they become bigger problems. But what do you actually need to do?

Read on for suggestions for how you can keep your artificial hockey turf looking spic and span, with only a little maintenance.

Regularly:

Keep your hockey turf clear of debris

Being outside, hockey turfs can collect an assortment of debris.

We recommend removing any debris such as litter, leaves, twigs, dirt, or mud regularly. This reduces the number of hazards for players on the pitch and keeps your hockey turf looking fantastic. Preventative maintenance reduces the number of issues you will encounter with your pitch.

Wate your sports turf

Water-based turfs require regular watering to be kept in optimum condition. Regularly watering your turf minimizes the injury risk for players.

A properly watered turf reduces slippage and cools the pitch to minimize the “carpet burn” players experience after falling over.

Be careful not to over-water your pitch. 

This can create a boggy environment which can slow down the game. Overwatering can also have negative environmental impacts as a result of excess water use and contaminated runoff.

To avoid flooding, ensure the pitch has adequate drainage, and consider implementing an automated watering system.

Often:

Monitor conditions of your turf

Identify any impurities or imperfections in your hockey turf, especially in high-use areas like close to gates and within the goal circle.

The best way to do this is to walk along the seams of your turf often. If left unidentified, splits in the seams or tears in your turf can quickly become hazardous for the players.

Detecting minor issues early ensures they can be fixed before they get really bad. This means you can continue to provide a top-quality pitch to your players while ensuring it doesn’t become a major, costly issue.

Minor splits or tears can often be fixed with glue, but for major issues, contact your supplier or manufacturer for advice on the best course of action.

Physically being on the turf often and checking for impurities will also mean you’ll find debris that may have been missed previously.

Monitor and groom your infill

Infill (like sand) is a loose layer of product that sits in between the blades of your synthetic turf. It has a lot of jobs to do, but in short, infill keeps your grass looking and feeling good.

It’s important to keep infills regularly groomed to avoid movement in the surface of the turf. If the infill is deficient, then it also needs to be replenished.

Ensure that you get clear instructions from your installer about the infill maintenance for your hockey field. The frequency of checks, grooms, and replenishment will vary with use and weather.

The equipment around your turf needs to be checked frequently

It’s important that you regularly check the equipment surrounding your hockey turf, especially around sprinkler systems, drains, fences, and gates.

Checking this equipment minimizes the potential damage and debris on your synthetic grass. Repairing any damaged equipment keeps your arena looking its best while maintaining the safety of spectators and athletes.

Treat algae on your water turf with preventative measures. 

For water-based turfs, the probability of algae growth is high if you don’t take preventative measures.

The rate of algae growth is based on climate conditions such as:

  • Lack of sun
  • Naturally occurring humidity
  • Poor airflow

Or turf conditions like:

  • Improper drainage
  • Improper care

To identify algae, look for brown spots or slippery areas, especially around the white lines. 

Firstly check the runoffs of the field for moss and algae growth as we find that’s where it tends to start.

Preventative measures for algae include regularly cleaning turf, and if required, using a heavily diluted algae preventative chemical into the water sprinkler system.

For the health and safety of your players and spectators, check the chemical before adding it to the watering systems and ensure it is safe for humans.

Always check with your turf supplier or manufacturer before putting any chemicals on your artificial grass.

Treat moss and weeds on your hockey turf quickly

Sand-based turfs can be susceptible to moss and weeds. Regular preventative care helps reduce the likelihood of this becoming a major issue.

Minor impurities on your hockey turf can be treated by:

  • Regularly checking the turf for signs of growing moss.
  • Taking quick action when signs are detected.
  • Using approved chemicals to minimize the chance of growth.
  • Regularly removing weeds.
  • Applying approved weed killer to problem areas.

Occasionally:

Regular preventative care and maintenance will make sure your hockey turf stays in tip-top condition. However, every once in a while it’s helpful to get a specialist in to help with grooming and brushing your artificial turf.

You’ll be left with a rejuvenated and refreshed playing field that you will be able to continue to enjoy for years.

We do not recommend vacuuming your artificial grass, as it may remove infill and flatten it.

Always: 

To guarantee no long-term damage, we recommend you do the following steps immediately as they happen.

  • Clean all spills on the turf as they happen: If left, staining and discoloration may occur.
  • Remove any sharp objects: Remove sharp objects as soon as you spot them. This includes glass, sticks, broken equipment and other rubbish. Not only does this minimize the risk of tears and cuts to your artificial grass, but it also keeps your athletes and spectators safe while they’re enjoying the grounds.
  • Have clear guidelines for the use of the hockey turf, displayed prominently: Clear guidelines regarding the type of equipment allowed on the turf and the behaviors that are expected on the grounds keeps players safe and your hockey turf in tip-top condition.

Replacing your turf artificial turf:

A crucial part of maintenance is understanding when it’s time to upgrade or replace your turf. Frequent and proper maintenance will increase the lifespan of your hockey turf.

How much will it cost?

The cost of replacing your turf will depend on your specific needs. However, good suppliers will offer a range of options for varying levels of use and can cater to your budget.

How long will my turf grass last?

The life expectancy of an artificial turf depends on the level of activity that occurs and the conditions the turf is exposed to. Generally, a good quality turf last for 15 years, but with proper maintenance,  it can last for up to 20 years.

We would expect your hockey turf to last between 10 and 15 years, depending on the level of usage and the maintenance routine.

Cricket

Cricket bowler on synthetic turf pitch
Image courtesy Tiger Turf

Organisations invest in artificial cricket surfaces for a number of reasons but, in particular, because of the guarantee of a consistent all-weather surface, that is available year round for practice and match days.

To a true cricket expert, there is no greater enjoyment than playing on a well-maintained grass wicket.  But, play on natural cricket pitches, as with many other sports turfs, is restricted by unpredictable weather and intensity of use.  Natural wickets are not feasible for continuous play, training and skills development. When this is the case, all-weather cricket turfs are the ideal solution for schools and cricket grounds.

All-weather cricket surfaces are manufactured specifically for use on cricket pitches and are installed for a wide range of playing situations – for match play, in the nets, for indoor training facilities and to provide all-weather, flat, and free-draining surfaces for bowlers’ run-ups.

Tennis

Tennis never gets easier; you just get better !

You love the game; the buzz from serving an ace, or nailing the perfect backhand passing shot; when you win the point with a fearsome smash hit. And to be able to achieve these moves takes practice, skill, and a high-performance tennis surface.

A range of synthetc turf surfaces that replicate the performance of grass, clay, or hard courts are available from turf specialists. Most are ITF rated with several also being certified for other sports such as hockey and netball. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) is the world governing body for tennis and sets out standards for tennis products, in particular tennis court surfaces and their pace rating.

R

Soccer

Football is the world’s most popular sport

so providing appropriate synthetic turf facilities is essential.

The use of artificial turf in football and rugby pitches is on the rise and today many players, especially women, amateur players and young players, train and compete on these surfaces.  They are ideal for community sports and for schools and public parks. Synthetic turf is now being used for full pitches, training areas, mini football and futsal centres with advanced artificial grass turf being approved by the governing bodies for match levels below world cup finals. Depending on whether certifications are required, certain surfaces are certified FIFA Quality or Quality Pro and IRB International Standards.

Multi-sports

Multi-sport synthetic turf is transforming school grounds into brilliant, all-weather, multi-sport playgrounds, bringing significant benefits to schools and tertiary facilities worldwide.

Multi-sport synthetic turf playgrounds and sports facilities encourage children to be more active and to play sports .

Synthetic grass is safe for children to play on even in rain.  A typical multi-use installation may include line markings for hockey, tennis, netball, basketball and more, even a running track.  Flexible netting can divide the area, allowing several different activities on the turf surface simultaneously.

Multipurpose fields are sports fields surrounded by security fences where football, basketball, volleyball and tennis can be played together.

What is a multi-sports field?

  • Multipurpose fields are fields where more than one sports branch is played.
  • These are the areas with mini football fields, tennis courts and basketball courts.
  • Generally, multipurpose field dimensions are designed as 18 meters width and 36 meters length.
  • They are manufactured with EPDM, acrylic, parquet or artificial turf content.
  • Multi-purpose fields are made as outdoor or indoor.
  • Indoor multi-purpose sports fields are resistant to all climatic conditions and can be used 24/7, 365 days a year.
  • Manufacturing can also be made with special dimensions that differ according to the area to be applied.
  • The project required for multi-purpose field construction is prepared completely on the basis of ground survey and strength.
  • Direct pile operations are made in order to integrate the wire mesh or network system around it.

Golf

Become a putting guru in the comfort of your backyard.

With artificial grass, now you can enjoy the peace of a golf game without even leaving your home.  No matter the size of your area, a putting green is an ideal way to add visual interest to a residential or commercial space.  The versatility of an artificial grass putting green offers the ability to include one anywhere from one hole to over ten as per your requirements.

Bowls

The synthetic grass surface of the bowling green strongly influences the standard of play and on the placing of the bowls. The quality of the green determines the quality of the play.

Lawn bowls is a skillful and challenging sport requiring tactical mastery and technical diversity.

Concentration, focus, calmness, self-assurance, commitment, consistency; these are all qualities demonstrated by a champion bowler.  But a bowler can only develop these qualities and technical skills on a top-quality, completely flat and level playing surface with a predictable green speed.  The technical qualities of the artificial grass green itself can be used effectively by skillful bowlers.

Gyms

Artificial turf provides a choice of optimum surfaces for resistance training, adding splashes of colour to define workout areas.

With the growing demand for fitness facilities, it is important for gyms to offer customers modern, clean and well-equipped workout spaces.  Resistance training is very popular with gym members. Building strength and endurance require the use of sledding equipment, high impact conditioning, resistance training, indoor field training, and skills training necessitating quick turns, slides and sudden stops. The selection of a safe surface to allow maximum performance during these activities is critical to the success of every workout undertaken. The best surface for these activities is durable, hard-wearing synthetic turf.

Rugby

A synthetic turf rugby pitch is considerably more durable than natural fields, increasing hours of field usage with more teams playing.

The turf is designed to replicate the best natural grass fields and in cases where this is required, is tested to stringent FIFA/IRB criteria and quality standards ensuring players get the best playing characteristics and consistent performance. 

Full pitches, training areas and mini-football centers are benefiting from the latest developments in football turf. 

Beyond the benefits for synthetic turf ball fields

ARTICLE by Todd Ford

Synthetic Turf

Beyond the benefits for ball fields

More than 8,000 multi-use, synthetic-turf fields are in play today at North American K-12 schools, colleges, parks, and professional sports stadiums, according to the Synthetic Turf Council. This trend reflects a growing desire to invest in surfaces that are safe for athletes, are durable over time, and require minimal maintenance.

At the same time, there is increased demand for synthetic grass in other settings, such as amusement parks and hotels, where natural grass traditionally requires extensive maintenance. While initial funding can be a challenge, installing synthetic turf can turn these sites into local, regional, and national destinations, while generating significant safety, social, and financial benefits.

For example, Bedford (Ind.) North Lawrence High School initiated its new synthetic-turf baseball and softball fields in April 2021. Funded by a board-approved bond issue, the $2.3-million project included new bullpens, fencing, padded backstops, and synthetic turf for the baseball infield and softball infield and outfield.

In the two months following the opening, the fields have supported the practices and games of Bedford North Lawrence students and teams and hosted a regional tournament. Additionally, Athletic Director Jeff Callahan says Bedford North Lawrence has been fielding calls from other schools that don’t have turf to have their games played there during inclement weather. Callahan says the return on investment for these fields is already evident.

“The usage has been incredible, and it’s just going to continue to grow,” Callahan says. “PE classes are playing kickball on the softball field, even on sunny, hot days when we couldn’t do that before because the natural grass would get damaged. Before this project, our softball and baseball teams would have to spend most of their spring practices inside, but they were held inside this year only two or three times.”

Fine-Tuning The Pile

Artificial-grass systems have evolved considerably since their first generation, which was installed in the Houston Astrodome in 1966. There are literally dozens of options now when it comes to the top 3 inches of a synthetic pile, which can feature a pad, sand infill, and rubber crumb that lay between the grass-like fibers. Because there are so many options to choose, project planners are keen to work closely with landscape architects and engineers to find an appropriate, budget-friendly turf solution.

Woolpert Senior Landscape Architect Carl Armanini, who has led a number of synthetic-turf projects during his 35-year career, says having a consultant involved early in the budgeting discussion is a key to accurately forecasting costs and arriving at a solution that provides the best system based on the intended field usage.

All athletic projects start with the same desire from the client: ‘I want the best turf my money can buy,’’ Armanini says. “You hope to have a relationship with the client during the budgeting process to understand their needs and to be ready to adjust when their needs change.”

Armanini says knowing which sports will be played on the field, how often the field will be used, and the age range of the athletes are all important in determining precisely what type of turf system will work best. The optimal turf field for soccer or baseball may be slightly different than what’s best for football or lacrosse. Knowing the age of the athletes who will use the field is a safety factor. A teenager or adult is heavier than a younger child, creating the potential for higher impact with the field, and therefore higher potential for injury or concussion from a fall.

“The suppliers in this industry will say they can design the turf profile for a particular sport, but a lot of that affects cost, and a lot of the fine-tuning with lighter, shorter fiber materials can be done to the top pile to reduce those costs,” Armanini says.

Environmental conditions, water drainage, and each client’s preference all can have an impact on which fiber/filament materials to use and whether a pad is needed. For fields that serve multiple sports and activities, a mix of slit film and monofilament fibers can be a good middle ground.

“As we fine-tune the turf, we can adjust the base materials that are under the field to provide the needed stability and remove water/runoff from the field,” Armanini says.

Synthetic Fields Equal Lower Costs, New Revenue

Field Day Park in Lake Wylie, S.C., is a 50-acre site that opened to the public in October 2020 after two years of construction. The $13.5-million project resulted in three new baseball and softball fields that have Bermuda grass outfields and synthetic-turf infields. The project also consisted of a score tower, six courts dedicated to pickleball, and three synthetic-turf, multi-purpose fields for soccer, lacrosse, rugby, and flag football. 

Park Superintendent Jason Ratteree says the York County park fulfilled a longtime goal to have a local destination for ball games and other recreational activities. Since opening to the public, the park has hosted a regional football combine, travel baseball team workouts, and tournaments that drew out-of-state teams.

“It’s a really neat park because there’s something for everybody to do, whether you’re bringing the kids to the playground, walking the trails, playing pickleball, or taking in a baseball or softball game,” Ratteree says. “Whether rain or shine, as long as it’s not lightning or thundering, we’re able to play through inclement weather and host multiple games in a day without any concern for the fields’ conditions. That’s a big plus.”

Field Day Park is the result of a design-build approach to project planning, in which the client is involved in the planning and execution at every step. Ratteree says this approach included important discussions that led to the best possible outcome. 

“We were able to work really closely with the landscape architects and the construction company to collaboratively envision what we wanted and to make changes as we went,” he says. “With synthetic turf, obviously, there is more of an upfront cost, but the fields are set to last up to 15 years, depending on the usage. Maintaining the fields requires only periodic combing with a Gator attachment to fluff up the fibers.”

At Bedford North Lawrence, long-term cost reductions were estimated for the synthetic-turf fields: expenditures for personnel by $65,000 a year, irrigation and maintenance by $35,000 a year, and minimum overall cost savings of more than $1 million over 10 years, according to the district’s calculations.

“The new fields will lead to a net-positive economic impact for the community, as the school’s facilities can now host tournaments that will bring people into Lawrence County, where they will stay at hotels, eat at local restaurants, and shop at local businesses,” Callahan says.

According to the U.S. Sports Congress, sports tourism—the act of traveling to participate in or watch a sporting event—is an immense and growing driver of economic development. Research shows that installing artificial-turf fields opens avenues for additional and more frequent community recreation and sports activities, which can result in a significant and positive regional economic impact. 

The last phase of the Bedford North Lawrence project is the installation of synthetic turf on the football field and a new track. That phase got underway after the past spring track season, and work is expected to be finished in time for football season. Callahan says the football field will be the site of the high-school graduation ceremony next year. That event will include chairs on the field and guests with high heels—all of which would normally damage a natural-grass field.

“This project provides for our students and our community, and not just athletes,” Callahan says. “A lot of times people think it’s just athletic fields, but there are so many more opportunities for the students as well as the community.”

Todd Ford, PE, LEED AP, is a Professional Engineer with 14 years of experience in educational, commercial, residential, athletic, and governmental land-development projects. His areas of expertise include designing athletic facilities, stormwater management, site grading, and site-development permitting. He works out of Woolpert’s Cincinnati office.