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Dr Ian Plummer

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Lawn Care
Problems with Artificial Surfaces

John Riches describes some of the problems with artificial lawn surfaces.

Here in South Australia we have a very low rainfall and have tried artificial grass for croquet (and also for bowls and tennis) over the past 20 years.

None has proved to be satisfactory for croquet.  At HQ we had two artificial lawns, one club had two lawns and another club with one lawn.  They were in different parts of the state.  They have all been replaced by natural grass lawns.

The main problems were:

  1. they were OK at first, but soon packed down and became too fast.  Even a slight wind would move balls around, as on a concrete verandah, and it was impossible to control where the balls stopped.
  2. they developed slight slopes and depressions which became increasing problems as the lawn got faster.
  3. they still needed to be swept, re-sanded and watered to retain their condition.
  4. leaves from trees would fall on them and rot, causing slippery patches.  Mould was also a problem.
  5. the "carpet" wore around the hoop holes, and it was not feasible to shift the holes.
  6. in hot weather they become much hotter than natural grass.

Before the HQ lawns were abandoned, on one occasion Neil Spooner played a tournament game against another top player on one of the artificial courts and after three hours the score was about 11-7.

There are no doubt better versions available nowadays, but it does not pay any company to try to solve the particular problems for croquet.

I believe that one bowling club and a few tennis clubs have artifical grass courts and consider them to be acceptable, although some players do not like them.

I suggest that your friend should be wary about spending a lot of money until he is sure that there will be no such problems.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

JR.

Author: John Riches
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Updated 28.i.16
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