Welcome to AstroTurf
Since 1965, the AstroTurf brand has been driven by forward thinking ingenuity. Today AstroTurf continuously improves its system design to deliver playing surfaces with the most realistic, sport-specific performance, longest lasting durability, and sound player protection.
Welcome to the Second Half of the AstroTurf Century!
Welcome to our series of Five Minutes with… blogs that will feature interviews with AstroTurf’s staff of experts, partners, clients and friends. We hope you learn something about our industry and the great people associated with it. Today we talk with USA Field...
Louisville, KY – For decades AstroTurf has dominated the Field Hockey market and this still holds true today. No greater example of this can be found than at the NCAA DI Field Hockey Final Four being played this weekend. The four remaining teams are all members of the AstroTurf family and the matches will even be played on an AstroTurf surface at the University of Louisville.
The teams are all amazing and are all AstroTurf customers from way back. Princeton plays their home matches on an AstroTurf 12 system on top of an ELayer®. The Princeton and AstroTurf relationship has definitely been a strong one as this is Princeton’s 3rd AstroTurf field in the last 35 years. In 2012, the Tigers took home the NCAA title while playing the finals at Old Dominion University on AstroTurf. Finalist Wake Forest won three straight titles from 2002 to 2004. They updated their AstroTurf surface with an AstroTurf System 90 just three years ago.
Two legendary coaches and hockey programs round out the remaining field. Coach Karen Shelton and the North Carolina Tar Heels are seeking their seventh national championship. AstroTurf built a new field for UNC on a new site this year. The Tar Heels finished the season undefeated on the new turf that comes from the AstroTurf Poligras line of products. Not to be outdone, Coach Missy Meharg and the Maryland Terrapins enter the tournament seeking their eighth national championship. The Terps will be updating their home field in 2019 as they have once again committed to the inventor of synthetic turf by selecting AstroTurf System 90.
A quick scan of the list of DI Field Hockey Champions over the last 35 plus years reveals an overwhelming majority of the winners and even the runners up are AstroTurf customers. On top of that, no one seems to be able to remember when the DI Championships were played on any surface other than AstroTurf. This most likely hasn’t occurred since the seventies.
“When we step back and just look at all of the great fields that we have installed at top-flight institutions, it does give us a great sense of pride and accomplishment,” said AstroTurf Director of Field Hockey Andy Belles. “It may seem like shameless bragging but we work very hard all year for our customers to get to this week and we are very excited to be a part of their successful seasons. We are very appreciative for the confidence and trust that our customers have placed in us.”
AstroTurf® has a long history of innovation and leadership in the hockey world. It’s the brand that changed the sport. And it’s the sport that has shaped AstroTurf’s history. AstroTurf’s specialized knitting equipment and manufacturing history has kept AstroTurf at the very top of the hockey world’s elite surfacing. It is the preferred surface for Field Hockey as demonstrated by every DI Final Four tournament being played on AstroTurf since the game left natural grass. To drive that point even further, AstroTurf has 29 fields in North America certified by the FIH… all other synthetic turf providers have 2 combined.
The NCAA semi-finals begin on November 16th at 1:00 PM with North Carolina going against Wake Forest. At 3:45 PM, Maryland will face Princeton. The championship will take place on Sunday, November 18th at 1:00 PM. No one knows who will win the championship yet, the only certainty is that it will be an AstroTurf family member and that the game will be played on a premium AstroTurf surface. Champions play on AstroTurf!
About AstroTurf®: For athletes and sport enthusiasts, AstroTurf® has redefined the way the game is played. The brand offers advanced, state-of-the-art, multi-sport and specialized synthetic turf systems with proprietary engineered technologies. A growing number of high schools, colleges, professional sports teams and municipalities continue to select AstroTurf-branded products for their premium quality, technical superiority, and safety. To learn more, visit AstroTurf’s website at www.astroturf.com.
Why build just one field when you have the space for more? After all, there is no shortage of athletes waiting for some field time in our communities. Whether it is a parks department shuffling schedules to meet the needs of the youth teams in their city or it’s a destination complex organizing regional and national tournaments, the demand for multi-field and multi-purpose facilities is skyrocketing. AstroTurf has definitely been a part of their fair share of these type of complexes and we are happy to share some of the amazing facilities that we have had the honor to be a part of creating.
These are just a sample of the hundreds of multi-field projects that we have helped design, manufacture and install over the years. The demand for these type of facilities are at an all-time high right now so we should soon be able to share even more great field projects with you in the very near future. AstroTurf is proud to be able to provide high quality, premium playing surfaces designed with performance and safety in mind. New multi-field projects are being developed all across the country giving you and your family more opportunities to compete and lead active lifestyles. The stages are being set, so now go play!
Welcome to our series of Five Minutes With… blogs that will feature interviews with AstroTurf’s staff of experts, partners, clients and friends. We hope you learn something about our industry and the great people associated with it. Today we talk with AstroTurf Director of Field Hockey, Andy Belles.
Andy, you’ve been in the sports construction business for 41 years, employed at AstroTurf for twenty years and involved with the sport of Field Hockey for just as long. What else should our audience know about Andy Belles?
I began my career in Fort Lauderdale estimating turf, tennis, and track projects. I have been involved in the design, manufacture, sales and installation of just about every type of sports surface imaginable. I am the past president of the American Sports Builders Association, a product developer and a patent holder. I have served AstroTurf as International Business Manager and representative to FIH, NFHCA, and USA Field Hockey.
What can/does AstroTurf do to support Field Hockey?
A better question might be what can all suppliers and vendors in the industry do to help strengthen the sport? In my opinion, the key for us here in the United States is the USAFH “Grow the Game” initiative. We supply support at National and Regional meetings, we put on educational seminars, tailgate with parents and friends and of course, contribute financially to this program. All this to help build more fields, and build them right!
That’s it? Grow the Game? What does that even mean?
According to Sally Goggin and Simon Hoskins, USA Field Hockey Brand Manager and CEO respectively, it’s that simple. Get sticks in the hands of more young kids. The more we can get young kids, all kids, girls and boys, picking up a stick, the more our ranks will grow. We have a great sport that leads folks to an active lifestyle forever. It keeps them focused on competing, it instills strong character, establishes a self-starter work ethic that makes them driven to succeed. What’s not to love? More kids, more clubs and pickup games. More games equals more interest. More interest equals more kids. Eventually, this all leads to more fields.
How does the surface affect the playing characteristics of the game?
USA Field Hockey and FIH have strict policies about ball bounce, ball roll, planarity, ideal depth of water, etc. Pile height is important to ball speed. The shorter and thicker the fiber, the faster the ball roll. Water plays an important part in keeping the ball on the surface by creating adhesion between the fiber and the ball, keeping it down on the surface longer with less bouncing or chattering. Water also keeps the ball rolling in a straighter line. It’s all about safety and high performance. AstroTurf’s Field Hockey product line meets all the necessary criteria for exceptional play and we have a long and extraordinary reputation in the sport.
You have been called “Mr. AstroTurf” and AstroTurf’s “resident historian”. Can you tell us just a little bit about your love for the brand and its history?
In the 1960’s I grew up listening to Howard Cosell talk about AstroTurf on Monday Night Football in prime time with my dad and brother… a very special memory. In the sixties technology was king. AstroTurf was a new surface that guaranteed teams a place to play and practice. Think of that. Before the invention of AstroTurf, I don’t believe there was a field anywhere in the world that could be guaranteed playable all of the time. That was the beginning of the reign of AstroTurf.
In 1976 at the Montreal Olympics, Field Hockey was played for the first time on any surface other than grass. AstroTurf totally changed the way the game is played. In 2018 we have 29 FIH Certified Fields in North America, all our competitors have just 2 combined. NCAA Field Hockey has been on AstroTurf longer than that. No one can remember when a DI championship was played on anything other than the AstroTurf brand.
AstroTurf has been the solution to sloppy fields and the creation of consistent surfaces. Indoor stadiums and practice facilities have thrived because of it. Our Magic Carpet system can roll out a FULL-SIZE FIELD in only 21 minutes allowing indoor stadiums to play a Collegiate game on Saturday, a NFL game on Sunday and run a major, full-size convention on Monday, generating major revenue unattainable without AstroTurf.
Research and Development? That’s us! The five million dollar AstroTurf test site at The University of Tennessee is the largest, most technologically comprehensive facility for testing and comparing artificial turf systems and natural grass. It is an independently run, 3rd party turf research facility managed by the doctors and agronomists at UT and it places an emphasis on athletic field safety.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much that AstroTurf has done for the sports industry that I could go on forever.
Yes I love the AstroTurf Brand. What’s not to love?