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STC Newsroom: Industry News

Synthetic Turf Innovations Improve the Golfing Experience

Tuesday, September 20, 2011  
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ATLANTA, GA – From serious golfers looking to fine-tune their scoring skills to players experiencing the game for the first time, a growing number of people are using synthetic grass to improve their golfing experience. During the past year, Synthetic Turf Council members have unveiled creative installations and innovations that have changed the way golf is played on courses and at home.

"While synthetic turf is typically identified with athletic fields or landscaping, golf applications is a rapidly expanding sector of our industry,” said Rick Doyle, President of the Synthetic Turf Council. "Traditional golf courses and backyard greens have been incorporating synthetic grass to create an attractive, environmentally-friendly solution.”

Enhancing golf courses

While many golf courses are recognized for their spectacular landscapes, concerns have been raised about the amount of water needed to keep venues green. A June 2008 National Public Radio story called "Water-Thirsty Golf Courses Need to Go Green” reported "Audubon International estimates that the average American golf course uses 312,000 gallons of water per day. In a place like Palm Springs, where 57 golf courses challenge the desert, each course eats up a million gallons a day. That is, each course each day in Palm Springs consumes as much water as an American family of four uses in four years.”

As Andy White of Challenger Industries explains, "more golf facilities are turning to synthetic tee lines to save water and create relief for natural grass that can’t sustain daily play.” He cites the example of Signal Mountain Golf & Country Club in Tennessee, whose switch to synthetic grass tee lines has made the driving range more usable for all players.

Synthetic grass has also been used to improve the aesthetics of high-use areas. Pebble Beach Golf Links in Monterey County, California, host of five U.S. Open Championships, is considered to be one of the greatest public golf courses in America. When the worn car path behind the 18th hole needed to be modified prior to the mid-August start of 2011 Classic Car Week, they turned to Synthetic Turf International to match ground colors and install synthetic grass in the area, reducing maintenance needs in the process.

Installing backyard golf facilities

Any golfer will improve their game with practice. Now a growing number of enthusiasts are installing synthetic grass greens in their backyards to increase practice time without leaving the comfort of home.

"While most homes will buy a 1,000 to 1,500 foot green, we are now installing 50 to 60 full-blown par3’s a year with proper tee boxes,” notes Henry van Antwerp of Synthetic Turf International, which has installed about 4,500 backyard golf facilities. "This trend represents how serious golfers will customize their ultimate practice experience in the future.”

TurfDIRECT in Scottsdale, Arizona recently helped a client turn non-usable areas of his backyard into an entertainment complex for the whole family. They built a complete par 3 course, with a 72 yard approach shot from the tee box. Adding lush synthetic grass to the desertscape has also allowed the family to enjoy activities like volleyball and bocce ball.

A growing selection of portable synthetic grass golf greens appeal to players at all levels. SYNLawn has partnered with golf researcher and teaching professional Dave Pelz to create a line of do-it-yourself putting greens to allow users to practice their short game in their home or office.

Making golf accessible

Synthetic grass installations and innovations are making golf accessible for more people. Last year, Heavenly Greens completed a 12,000 sq ft installation for the Golf Learning Center at Visitacion Valley Middle School in San Francisco. The first of its kind nationwide, the Learning Center was purposely built in one of San Francisco’s most under-served communities to help bring golf to inner city youth as part of the First Tee Program of San Francisco. Based in San Jose, California, Heavenly Greens calculated that as of 2010, their synthetic turf golf and landscape installations have conserved a billion gallons of water in Northern California.

UltraBaseSystems™ of St. Petersburg, Florida works with Adventure Golf Services to convert under-utilized tennis courts into golf facilities. Take Fort Sill, Oklahoma for example. The military base wanted to create more recreation opportunities for on-site military and their families. Within a day or so, they were able to convert unused tennis courts into a golf practice and teaching facility that can accommodate 20 people at once instead of just four tennis players.

About the Synthetic Turf Council

Based in Atlanta, the Synthetic Turf Council was founded in 2003 to promote the industry and to assist buyers and end users with the selection, use and maintenance of synthetic turf systems in sports field, golf, municipal parks, airports, landscape and residential applications. The organization is also a resource for current, credible, and independent research on the safety and environmental impact of synthetic turf. Membership includes builders, landscape architects, testing labs, maintenance providers, manufacturers, suppliers, installation contractors, infill material suppliers and other specialty service companies. For more information, visit

Our Mission

To serve as the global forum to promote, develop, grow and advocate for the synthetic turf industry.

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