The Great Grass vs. Turf Football Field Debate (Part 2)
The Wizard will now re-visit the issue of grass versus turf fields. During Part 1, The Wizard of Oddz investigated the potential environmental and safety concerns between the two fields. Today, The Wizard finishes the analysis by reviewing the financial and recruiting implications.
Turf Field vs Grass Field – Financial Impact
The cost of fields is always a hot topic and also the area that was hardest to research. Ample evidence is available from manufacturers and others with an economic interest in one solution or the other, but unbiased information is hard to come by.
Here is what The Wizard has to say about field costs -
The cost of both grass and turf fields are going to depend primarily on the size, location, quality of materials used and intended use of the field. Similarly maintenance costs will also vary based on how often the field is used, which sports are using the field, the climate of the area, the security measures at the location and again the quality of the construction. If a synthetic field is replacing a natural field, some special equipment may need to be purchased such as turf grooming equipment, sweepers, top dressing to recrumb the field, rubber blade snow plows, etc. (A Guide to Synthetic and Natural Turfgrass for Sports Fields).
The Wizard of Oddz believes that when thinking about the costs of a field a few things should be considered. Where is the financial information coming from and does the source of the material have a vested interest in the results. What is the school or community’s current costs (assuming they are switching from one field type to the other) of maintenance and does this jive with the marketing materials you are receiving. Overall it is likely that there will be more consistent maintenance of a grass field, however in the 8 to 12 year range, you should expect to have to have a major refurbishment of your turf field.
While hard financial data is difficult to find, The Wizard believes that turf fields would make more sense in areas that are not favorable for strong grass turf growth, very high use areas and in areas where an alternate grass field does not already exist. If these are the conditions your team faces, The Wizard rules in turf’s favor.
Grass fields should be used in areas where a grass field already exists, weather conditions are satisfactory and field overuse is not an issue.
The major skewing of financial analysis on the turf field side usually occurs when not factoring in the true current costs that a school has for their grass field, the fact that a new grass field does not need to be purchased if one already exists, the cost of having to get new equipment for a turf field, but no new equipment being needed if the school already has it for the grass field and the high replacement cost of a turf field after approximately 10 years.
Overall, The Wizard rules the financial impact as a toss-up. The finances behind a team’s need for grass or turf is important to consider, and unbiased financial information at this time is too hard to come by. Because of that, we conclude the Great Grass vs Turf Football Field Debate at 2-1-2 in favor of grass fields over turf.
The Wizard does believe that both types of field have potential places in the sport of football, and that there are pros and cons to the use of both type of fields. In the end, the Wizard of Oddz believes that there are more times when the application of a grass field makes better overall sense than that of a turf field.