31 Aug

Artificial Grass – A Peek into the History and Benefits of Artificial Grass in Sport

Artificial Grass – A Peek into the History and Benefits of Artificial Grass in Sport

Artificial grass was first used for sport in the 1960’s and only became popular as a replacement for natural lawn in landscaping during the 1990’s.

In fact it was in 1966, that AstroTurf – a short-pile artificial grass – was first installed in the then newly-built Astrodome in Houston, Texas in the USA.

Originally, the Astrodome had natural turf installed, but because of the materials used to construct the transparent roof which allowed the grass enough light to grow, the glinting of the sun on the ceiling panels made day-time games difficult. The roof was then painted to try and solve this problem, but ended up reducing the amount of sunlight needed for the grass to grow properly.

In a bid to find a good alternative solution, the stadium owners and a team of product engineers began working on a new, artificial grass playing surface which they eventually name ‘ChemGrass’. It was installed and tested at the Moses Brown School in Rhode Island in 1964 and proved to be a huge success. They later changed the name to ‘AstroTurf and installed it at the Astrodome.

AstroTurf soon took off in popularity and quickly spread to the rest of the United States, followed by Canada and Europe. By the early 1970’s, AstroTurf was being installed in the many closed and domed sports arena’s which had become a trend across the globe.

AstroTurf in its early days was a pretty hard and unforgiving playing surface that wore quickly and resulted in injuries and a reduced quality of game play. It was only after decades of further research and product development that the artificial grass we see today, was developed and started regaining popularity as an sports field turf alternative.

Modern Artificial Grass – the innovations that made the difference

Artificial grass was originally made of polypropylene which made it hard and unyielding. Today however, artificial grass is manufactured using polyethylene. Polyethylene is not only much softer and kinder to the skin, but it is also not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones.

The substrate used before laying artificial grass has also improved immensely, resulting in a more cushioned experience and less stress on players joints.

Instead of short, hard blades of grass, the grass blades are now longer and spaced further apart which allows cleats to sink into the surface, just like they do on natural grass.

How Artificial Grass will make your sports field a pleasure

Maintenance: Artificial grass does not require irrigation, mowing, fertilising, top-dressing, scarifying or any other tasks that make natural grass so challenging to keep looking perfect.

Wear and Tear: It is very difficult to keep sports fields that are used regularly looking their best. Natural grass wears quickly and constant use can cause it to die off – particularly in harsher climates. Artificial grass on the other hand is extremely hard-wearing and can be used almost permanently without degrading.

Water-wise: Because artificial grass does not need watering, it is a definite winner in water-scarce regions.

Increased Practice Time: Artificial grass fields can be used for up to 3000 hours per year, whereas natural turf can only be used for around 700 hours per year.

Aesthetics: No matter the weather, artificial grass always looks fresh and green, and lines can be inlaid to ensure the field always looks perfect.

Versatile: Artificial grass fields can be used for a wide range of sports both indoor and outdoor. Some of the more popular South African sports that use artificial grass include soccer, rugby, hockey, athletics, golf and cricket.

Perfect Grass offers the professional installation of sports fields with artificial grass. With offices in both Johannesburg and Cape Town, if you are a school, sports club, university or any other organisation looking for a sports field with artificial grass – give us a call.

Call us on 021 212 9898 (Cape Town) or 010 442 0400 (Johannesburg)

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