Feature Article - February 2011
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From Blueprint to Ballgame

The Ins and Outs of Sports Field Design

By Brian Summerfield

Synthetic Turf Equals Winning Teams?

Synthetic turf has both proponents and detractors, but there's no questioning this: 12 of the top 25 Bowl Championship Series teams have synthetic turf at home, and these teams have a combined win-loss record of 133-29, a total 86 percent win percentage.

While there's no way to prove a connection between the turf type and the wins, the number of winning teams does highlight another trend: the growing reliance on synthetic turf.

"Over the past decade, we have seen a steady increase in the amount of winning teams that play and practice regularly on synthetic turf," said Rick Doyle, president of the Synthetic Turf Council. "These fields have created more opportunities for America's amateur athletes to play and practice football without worrying about weather disruptions or over-used playing surfaces."

There are more than 6,000 synthetic turf playing fields in use throughout the United States, and their popularity continues to grow. According to Recreation Management's most recent State of the Industry Report, synthetic turf fields were among the top planned amenities at colleges and among local school districts.

Proponents of synthetic turf claim that they conserve water, drastically reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers, and also recycle 25 million tires, which would otherwise end up in the landfill.

And they're not just popular for college-level play. About half of all NFL teams also currently play their games on synthetic turf, and it was approved by FIFA for the 2010 World Cup soccer competition.

Learn more about synthetic turf by visiting www.syntheticturfcouncil.org.