Artificial turf is a surface manufactured from synthetic fibers made to look like natural grass. It is most often used in arenas for sports that were originally or normally played on grass. It’s now becoming more popular for residential uses like landscape, playgrounds and pet areas. The benefits of artificial turf are aplenty; it resists heavy use (i.e. in sports) and requires no irrigation or trimming.
Historically, a man named David Chaney – who moved to Raleigh, N.C. in 1960 and later served as dean of the North Carolina State University College of Textiles – headed the team of Research Triangle Park researchers who created the first notable artificial turf. That accomplishment led Sports Illustrated to declare Chaney as the man “responsible for indoor major league baseball and millions of welcome mats.”
Over the past 50 years, turf has become a popular staple in indoor and outdoor stadiums for sports like baseball, football, field hockey, lacrosse and tennis. It is also used for putting greens, miniature golf, Bocce courts, playgrounds and residentially as landscape and pet areas. Here are some of the many faces of artificial turf:
Putting Greens: Nylon putting greens and polypropylene putting greens have made radical advancements in the last decade. Artificial turf is also used for teelines, chipping and driving mats, sand bunkers, target greens, modular greens and backyard putting greens.
Bocce Courts: A game of skill and patience, Bocce is a family-friendly game hailing from Italy. Various forms of Bocce courts like synthetic turf bocce, granite dust and Har-Tru along with croquet courts are popular backyard additions.
Landscape: Since the early ‘90s, the use of turf has increased in residential and commercial landscapes. This trend has been driven by the dramatic improvement in the quality and variety of available synthetic grasses, thus reducing the cost of maintenance and care compared to natural grass. It is also a significant water conservation measure in arid areas like Arizona and Nevada where water usage is a major concern.
Playgrounds: Artificial grass has become a popular replacement for mulch and gravel in playgrounds and schoolyards. It’s easy to maintain, stays clean and in many cases, a crumb rubber in-fill is used for cushioning.
Pet Areas: High traffic indoor and outdoor areas such as pet runs are also becoming popular uses for artificial grass. Pet facilities are jumping on board because artificial grass is clean, low maintenance and safe from dog wear and tear.
Sport Surfaces: Synthetic sport surfaces are desirable for use in indoor areas, batting cages, outdoor stadiums, multi-purpose fields and training facilities. A wide range of sports like tennis, lacrosse, football, baseball and field hockey all use artificial grass.