Past generations have left us the legacy of open grassland ovals. As the decision to replace natural grass with synthetic turf is not easily reversed, due to the solid base construction required by synthetic ovals, current alternative solutions should be thoroughly investigated before removing this option for future generations.
The assertion that natural turf sporting fields can be utilised for only 25 hours per week is based on false information provided to local councils and sporting clubs by purveyors of synthetic turf.
The key issue is that many natural turf fields are not allocated adequate budgets to enable them to perform at high levels of performance, particularly after heavy winter use or wet weather.
As a result, facility owners consider replacing natural turf fields with synthetic turf, when instead performance issues may be addressed upon examination of maintenance requirements, turf type, design, or location.
There is now demonstrable evidence that properly designed and constructed natural turf fields can achieve up to 50 hours per week utilisation throughout periods of high use.
- Natural turf fields that are built and maintained to best practice are a real alternative
- Properly built natural turf fields can achieve 2-3 times increase in capacity
- Players prefer to play on natural turf
- Councils and clubs should be revisiting natural turf fields as an option
Case Study - Middle Head Oval
A recently reconstructed natural turf oval at Middle Head, Mosman has been able to achieve carrying capacity of 55 hours per week. The Middle Head development is not a one-off achievement, but reflects the work that Dr Mick Battam and colleagues have done with sports fields throughout Sydney. This is proven technology.