Turf or grass? Terminology cleared up by STMA


The Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) – the non-profit, professional association comprised of 2,700 men and women professionals overseeing sports fields worldwide and critical to athletes’ safety –  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. STMA 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 STMA Board of Directors and the Synthetic Turf Council 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,” says Jimmy Simpson, CSFM, STMA President “Our members’ have the expertise to manage both types of surfaces to the highest level of safety.”

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James has been Editor of Stadia since 2018 having worked at print and digital magazines and websites around the world covering everything from lifestyle to sport, technology, motoring, and more. He also edits Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International.

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