A common debate in sporting circles is the merits of artificial turf vs. grass. Which one is safer? Which one causes the least amount of injury or stress to athletes? The answer to these questions is complicated and context dependent. If you’re interested in turf, but not sure about the best use for your situation, check out our guide to the top 3 uses for artificial turf. Let’s dive a little deeper so you can make a good decision when considering which type of surface to invest in.
Dangers of normal grass
The primary thing to consider when thinking about creating a “natural” turf field is maintenance. Grass fields require enormous amounts of upkeep to keep healthy, safe, and clean. Especially if a high-contact sport like soccer or football is being played, groundskeepers will have to deal with a constant amount of upkeep, where divots are made, weeds begin to grow, or certain areas start to die or overgrow due to sunlight exposure or lack thereof.
The primary cause of injury with normal grass is uneven terrain. When divots form, or if the ground that the grass is growing on is uneven, it creates ample opportunities for athletes and others to trip, twist ankles, and be injured. Unevenness in terrain is a difficult thing for any landscaping crew to correct, and with grass fields, there’s a lot of work required.
On top of that, while natural grass has some antimicrobial properties, in contact heavy sports, it can be difficult to keep everything clean and safe and prevent outbreaks of diseases like staph.
Drawbacks of artificial grass
Artificial turf is not danger-free, and there are some drawbacks to using it. Older generations of artificial turf technology could have problems when not installed properly, and some versions of it created more opportunities for injury than a perfectly maintained grass field.
However, the technological strides in cushioning have made modern artificial turf much safer than ever before. Now, the only serious dangers that can arise from artificial turf revolve around improper installation and poor maintenance.
Is turf or grass safer for soccer?
According to a recent Guardian article, artificial turf is safer and better for a sport like soccer than ever before.
The key benefits of artificial turf are many (and not just because we sell it):
- Safety: Artificial turf, when installed properly, insures a level and easy-to-navigate playing surface, free from obstacles that might cause players to trip. In addition, it is cushioned to prevent injury as well. We’ve come a long way from artificial turf that was installed over concrete floors.
- Hygiene: One of the major benefits of artificial turf is the fact that it is easy to clean and protect from pathogens and other diseases. Most artificial turf is hypoallergenic, and easy to sanitize and clean with minimal overhead and maximum cost-savings.
- Maintenance: Whereas natural grass requires constant mowing and proper exposure to sunlight and watering, artificial turf has none of these requirement. And, in the event that many of the durable materials that artificial turf is now manufactured from is damaged, repairs are easy.
So, from where we sit, artificial turf is the safest, most easily maintainable solution for soccer fields.
What about other sports?
There are many benefits of artificial turf; and its flexibility and utility goes beyond soccer.
- Baseball: Artificial turf is excellent for sports like baseball, and accommodates the mixed landscapes of the field flawlessly. Notable examples include Chase Field in Arizona and Tropicana Field in Florida.
- Football: The number of artificial turf stadiums for football is growing to rival the many natural fields. 12 of the 31 NFL fields in the US are utilizing artificial turf.
- Tennis: Artificial turf is a staple of many indoor tennis courts, and is an excellent alternative to grass, so much so that Wimbledon is currently considering switching.
- Golf: Artificial turf isn’t usually the best choice for a golf course, mainly because of the sheer volume required. However, artificial turf is one of the best choices for driving ranges and putting greens, as it can reduce the overall maintenance costs on the course.
What is artificial turf?
Artificial turf is a surface that is made from synthetic fibers, designed to look and feel like grass. Artificial turf has come a long way from the early days of AstroTurf, which is what most people are familiar with (originally branded and marketed by the Monsanto corporation). First generation turf was generally just short fibers, but as we’ve moved into second and third generation turf, artificial turf is made with more complex materials that are safer and more environmentally friendly. If you want to become an informed buyer by learning more about turf, check out our list of terms to know!
Modern artificial turf generally features a synthetic fiber with an infill or sand or recycled rubber (aka “rubber crumb”), which leads to a much softer, gentler surface that is even and uniform.
But is it safer than regular grass? The answer to that question is complicated, so let’s go over the potential dangers of each.
Where can I get artificial turf?
Glad you asked! Turf Factory Direct is one of the nation’s leading suppliers of artificial turf and artificial grass. We have an enormous collection of different options, colors, and grades of artificial turf, so you can be sure that when you work with us, you’re getting the highest of quality, backed up by incredible levels of expertise.
Get in touch with us, or check out our pricing and shop for turf today!