SFMA Board formulates strategy to clarify sports field surfaces terminology

The Sports Turf Managers Association (SFMA) and its board of directors have put a plan in place to clarify sports field surfaces terminology throughout the industry.

The term “turf” has become ubiquitous when referring to playing surfaces. In clarifying proper terminology, this creates a standard dialogue for athletes, spectators and professionals within the industry to consistently describe a sports field surface in an accurate manner. SFMA members have degrees in plant and soil science, turfgrass management, agronomy and other science-based majors in which accuracy and details are vital. A profession that relies on science as its basis must be accurate to maintain credibility.

Recognizing the confusion that was attained by previous terminology utilized within the industry, the SFMA Board of Directors and the Synthetic Turf Council (STC) collaborated and agreed to “natural grass” to describe the specific field surface type and “synthetic turf” to describe artificial surfaces. Additionally, the term “turfgrass” will be supported by the academic community to describe natural grass surfaces.

“Our industry, athletes and fans will benefit by better understanding the type of field surface their outdoor sports are being played on. Player safety has always been and will continue to be our top focus,” said Jimmy Simpson, CSFM, SFMA President “Our members’ have the expertise to manage both types of surfaces to the highest level of safety.”

Founded in 2003, the STC is the world’s largest organization representing the synthetic turf industry. It is a resource for current, credible and independent research on the safety and environmental impact of synthetic turf, as well as technical guidance on the selection, installation, maintenance and environmentally responsible disposal of synthetic turf.

SFMA represents a wealth of sports field managers overseeing both natural grass and synthetic turf facilities. The SFMA Institute serves as the industry hub of knowledge and hosts numerous educational resources from best practices to rules and regulations for both natural grass and synthetic turf playing surfaces. With athlete safety and environmental responsibility being of paramount concern, it is the mission of SFMA to ensure that world-class standards are upheld at each sporting field across the country.