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External Courts: Should You Stick To Natural Or…?

The use of artificial grass is nothing new – the use of synthetic materials to recreate natural surroundings and landscapes is a concept more than a few decades old. However, one trend that is changing is the increased acceptance of artificial grass and the like: in the past, the average person was more likely to view natural environments as a more preferable choice. Nowadays, on the other hand, the use of synthetic materials has become more acceptable both because of its advantages and because of the fact that synthetic materials are coming more and more closer in appearance to their natural counterparts. 

The use of artificial grass is especially obvious in outdoor courts made for outdoor sports such as football, rugby, cricket, etc. There are a number of varieties of synthetic grass, but the latest technologies include the 3G and 4G artificial turf varieties. If you are wondering what this exactly means, the ‘G’ stands for ‘generation’, with the number indicating the generation number. Accordingly, 3G would be the third generation, and 4G would be the fourth generation. As in computer technology, they basically refer to improving technologies.  

Nowadays, you can find artificial turf pitches (ATP) of the second, third and fourth generations in general.  The first generation was better known as ‘AstroTurf’, and can be witnessed to this day in the pitches of Switzerland. The technology is from the 1980’s, and this type of artificial pitch does not have any sort of internal filling. The second generation dates back to the 90’s, and first used infilling – which was sand. The third generation took a step further and added rubber to the sand infills, making use of long piles. At present, the fourth generation does not make use of rubber crumbing, instead opting for grass-only pitches. 

The third and fourth generation artificial grass varieties are ideal for the aforementioned pitches, but also for other purposes such as outdoor gyms with outdoor fitness equipment. The main advantage that these synthetic grass pitches provide is the relative lack of need for continuous maintenance: natural grass needs to be tended after meticulously, with re-seeding, watering, weeding, etc. On the other hand, artificial grass does not require any of these routine tasks. This not only translates to lesser expenses, but it also cuts down the need for extra personnel to tend to the pitch. 

Furthermore, artificial pitches nowadays are built with changing weather situations in mind: basically, these pitches can better withstand rain, snow and other inclement weather. This means that matches do not have to be postponed during bad weather. The presence of infills and good drainage patterns is the reason behind this; infillings also provide better shock absorption and thereby reduce the probability of players injuring themselves.