Hybrid field offers a natural playing experience with high playing capacity
During the past few years, many football clubs transitioned to an artificial grass field. According to Hendrik Nagelhoud of the Dutch company Innoseeds this is a shame, because there are many benefits to playing on natural grass. In addition, the playing capacity of natural grass can be extended by using certain types of grass that ensure a thicker grass carpet and by opting for an XtraGrass hybrid field, for example.
Artificial grass fields are very popular, but have some disadvantages. For example, it is not possible to properly slide and in certain cases, the blade of the artificial grass could even fall flat. In addition to this, artificial grass is expensive, but this is often offset by the savings on maintenance. In short: more than enough reasons to choose natural grass. In relation to artificial grass, natural grass has a relatively low playing capacity. By using certain types of grass that ensure a thicker grass carpet, for example iSeed and 4turf, the playing capacity of natural grass can be stretched quite a bit.
Hendrik Nagelhoud, product manager at the Dutch company Innoseeds, is very surprised about the investments made by municipalities in artificial grass fields. “With a high number of playing hours per field per year, I could imagine you would lean towards it, but if your football club requires approximately 700 to 900 hours per year per field, a hybrid field would also serve you excellently. With a hybrid field, where artificial grass is combined with natural grass, the number of playing hours can be stretched to more than 900 per year.” According to Nagelhoud, the hybrid field is also a sustainable option, because it is 95% natural grass. It is also a lot cooler than an artificial lawn and the playing experience is more natural.
In the mean time, a number of football clubs in the Netherlands have transitioned to hybrid fields. This includes V.V. Papendrecht, where ProMaster SV7 iSeed was used for two hybrid fields. According to Theo Wolters, the first results are positive. “The players thought they were playing on a “normal” natural grass field.” According to Wolters, the field also had additional benefits in comparison to natural grass. Players indicated that the field’s stability was better than that of natural grass. Due to the backing of the carpet, the field was closer to the surface, sliding left hardly any traces in the sand and no pieces of grass carpet were coming loose. “This also implies fewer maintenance activities for the club.”
“When choosing the grass type, I always recommend to field managers to use variants that root better”, said Nagelhoud. “The rooting largely determines the stability and the playability of the field.” Apart from iSeed, the 4turf grass type is also very suitable: “Both show an excellent and thicker rooting; which is exactly what we need for hybrid fields.”