Artificial Grass for Sports? The benefits of artificial turf in a domestic garden are many: easy to keep, simple to clean, next to no maintenance and able to withstand constant use are many. But why is it not more widespread in the world of sport, especially soccer in the UK? In fact, it is quite widely used, but not in many cases for the entire pitch. However, this is set to change, as the authorities are considering allowing its use again, following many years of development in its manufacture.
The First in the UK
Famously, Queens Park Rangers were the first to install artificial turf at their Loftus Road ground, as long ago as 1981. This was the fabled Astro Turf, an early development of the concept that came with many advantages, and also a few problems. Players found the surface to be difficult for grip, and it caused more injuries thanks to being a harder surface than natural grass. Needless to say, it soon fell out of favour, and most artificial surfaces were replaced by the early 1990’s.
It’s important to stress that, some thirty years and more later, artificial turf has gone through much development, and the new form is now the favoured surface in many countries, and a number of Premiership clubs are seriously considering its reinstatement. Indeed, Arsenal Football Club recently used artificial turf for its training ground, and the 2015 Women’s World Cup, held in Canada, was played entirely on artificial surfaces. The advantage is that it provides a viable all-weather surface, and is therefore suitable for the Canadian climate. The tournament was, it should be stressed, a great success.
In Rugby and Other Sports
Notably, artificial surfaces are more widespread in rugby, especially in the UK, largely due to the hard-wearing nature of modern artificial turf. Premiership teams Newcastle Falcons, Saracens F.C. and Worcester Warriors all use artificial turf to some extent, as do many teams in the lower categories. It wears well and allows for continued play where a natural grass pitch mat become waterlogged.
Many indoor tennis courts use a form of artificial grass, and have done for a number of years, while it is widely used on golf putting ranges too. One of the fastest-growing areas of use for synthetic surfaces in sport is that of horse racing; many tracks in the UK – and elsewhere – are converting parts of their courses to this method to facilitate all-weather running, as race meetings are frequently abandoned thanks to the unreliable British weather.
Benefits of Artificial Turf
There are many types of artificial turf and synthetic surfaces developed especially for sporting venues, and in addition to the all-weather purposes mentioned above, they provide additional benefits such as resistance to wear and tear and lower maintenance costs. Early forms of artificial grass may have been difficult to run on and not acceptable in many other ways, but the modern product is something very different to those initial attempts. The fact is that with more sporting clubs considering the change -especially the Premiership football clubs who wield great influence in sporting circles, this type of surface is sure to become more widespread. For all the information you need on artificial grass, talk to us at Artificial Grass Warrington, and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.