Naturally, grass came first, but since 1970 it has been largely replaced on playing fields by synthetic turf products. The primary reasons for using synthetic turf are player comfort and safety.
What is Synthetic Turf?
Synthetic grass carpet, the first generation synthetic turf pitch, was constructed of polypropylene and is officially known as AstroTurf. It was less expensive and more comfortable than natural grass, offering less risk of player injury. The second generation of synthetic grass had widely spaced, longer tufts that provided a greater amount of firmness and stability. Its construction gave players better ball control, especially in field hockey. Third generation, or 3G, synthetic turf pitch far exceeds earlier generations in performance and durability.
Why Use 3G?
3G pitch is far more realistic than first-generation turf pitch and safer than natural grass. 3G pitch has fewer bumps and holes, so players performing on it are less likely to trip. 3G looks like natural grass and possesses many similar characteristics during play.
How Advanced is 3G?
3G far exceeds original AstroTurf's sophistication. The 1970s saw widespread artificial pitch use with a sand infill, but the concern regarding friction burns and blisters always lingered. By the late 1990s, less abrasive polythene turf was introduced with a softer rubber infill. 3G is composed of a quartz sand and rubber granule mixture layered into the pitch. This scientifically advanced combination provides effective protection and additional impact absorption.
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