Guest Column - March 2008
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Sports Fields

Choose Wisely
The Wrong Turf Decision Could Cost You

By Troy Squires


The University of North Carolina (UNC) also recently realized the tremendous savings afforded by upgrading to a higher-quality synthetic turf. In 2002, UNC selected an all-rubber, cheaper artificial turf product, but after only five years of use at Hooker Field, decided to remove it and install new turf.

Marty Pomerantz, UNC's director of campus recreation, noticed the difference in quality almost immediately. When asked to compare the old field with the new field, he said that "within a year, the old field was beginning to break down." Not so with the new field.

Interestingly enough, both ISU's Hancock Stadium and UNC's Hooker Field ensured minimal use and were both fully equipped with world-class maintenance equipment and crews. However, despite the normally ideal conditions, the cheaper, low-quality products failed to last more than five years.

Unfortunately for hundreds of schools and thousands of athletes and students, the necessary finances to replace failed artificial turf fields are simply not available. With no third-party-insured warranty, the hundreds of facilities that decided to roll the dice with an artificial turf field that has since failed are currently left without options. Their athletes and students must now endure the potentially hazardous conditions associated with field failures until field replacement funds have been raised.

Third-party-insured warranties are not issued to everyone. In order to become eligible for this highly protective and guaranteed warranty, a company's financial history is thoroughly evaluated. When determining your best option for artificial turf fields, be sure to investigate the warranty thoroughly.

The true test of product quality lies in its longevity. The Amarillo Independent School District has already begun to experience this.

Athletic Director Tex Nolan decided to install an artificial turf field 10 years ago. Today, this same field continues to be used nonstop by hundreds of students and community members.

"Our field continues to provide unmatched durability and consistently safe playability. All the savings that were promised to us from the start continue to remain true today. Even after 10 years, we continue to see a return on our investment, as we receive maximum usage out of our all-weather field," Nolan said.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Troy Squires has been a leading sports synthetic turf sales and marketing executive since 1979, and is currently vice president of Sales & Marketing for FieldTurf Tarkett. Squires also has held key positions at Southwest Recreational Industries and was instrumental in the development of their key products. For more information, visit www.fieldturf.com.