Assuming that installing synthetic turf on practice ranges or elsewhere means no maintenance will be required is a mistake, according to one supplier. The material cannot be simply installed and forgotten, warns Warren Bailey of Southwest Greens UK.
“A minimum level of care is essential if synthetic turf surfaces are to remain playing and looking at their best,” he said. “This is particularly important for tees, practice ranges and greens which have a high footfall or are located close to trees, fields and planted borders. A further factor dictating maintenance routines is whether a sand filler has been used to pack out the fibres.”
Apart from the need to brush the surface and blow away stray leaves, twigs and other green material before play, most outdoor synthetic turf installations will require weed seedlings to be removed from the surface physically or with the aid of herbicide applications. Similar spray treatment may be necessary also to deal with moss growth resulting from microscopic spores drifting in on the breeze.
“Greenkeepers regularly aerate and scarify natural turf to combat the effects of compaction caused primarily by golfers’ feet,” said Bailey. “Although synthetic turf offers greater durability than grass, over time it can become similarly compacted, affecting drainage, the run of the ball and ability to accept shots.”
To help customers extract the maximum life and playability from their synthetic turf surfaces, Southwest Greens’ installations incorporate a unique shock-absorbing underlay to help minimise compaction. A further measure, employed primarily on high footfall projects, is the use of graded sands layered within the profile to absorb downward forces without compacting.