Pros & Cons of Artificial Turf

By Mike Pile

The look and feel of real turf is preferred by many golfers when it comes to practicing their golf swing. But for everyday use, artificial grass consistently delivers better overall performance. If you are considering installing a backyard practice area, you need to understand both the advantages and the disadvantages of artificial turf.

Playability

Pro: Since artificial turf is always ready to be played on, time you might spend mowing your lawn can be spent draining long putts. Properly installed artificial turf drains amazingly well, even better than the real deal. After a rain--or even during a storm if you feel compelled--you can putt and chip all day without soaking your socks. Finally, artificial grass delivers a consistent roll, which means one less variable for you to consider when improving your game.

Con: Even the best synthetic turf will never exactly mimic the performance you expect from a natural grass green. Some are better for putting, and other types are better at receiving pitch shots. But there is not a single style perfectly suited to both. The cups are permanently fixed, so the variety of putts you face is limited.

Maintenance

Pro: Artificial turf is virtually maintenance free--one of its best selling features. You need not spend time or money watering, trimming, mowing, fertilizing, weeding, or repairing damage done by pets or rodents. Clean-up of debris is fast and easy. Artificial grass is easy to clean with a rake or blower.

Con: Leaves and other organic debris tend to be more noticeable on a synthetic lawn, as they rest on top of the surface as opposed to nestling into the blades of natural grass.

Look and Feel

Pro: Artificial grass is always green, smooth, uniform, soft and weed free. Improvements in materials and manufacturing give it a natural appearance. Today's artificial grass comes in so many shades, gradients and styles that you can match to nearly any landscape. Some suppliers even offer artificial grass by species, so if your home course has Blue, Rye, Bent or Fescue, your back yard can have it, too.

Con: Part of what makes natural grass look natural is its imperfections and color variation. While artificial grass looks real, and improvements are constantly being made, a synthetic lawn can look just a little too perfect.

About The Author

Mike Pile is a professional golf writer. Pile has been writing for 11 years with work appearing in Golfing Magazine, Solar Industry, North American Clean Energy, Electrical Construction and Maintenance, and GolfLink among others. He holds an MBA from the University of St.Thomas.

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