The first artificial grass was created by a team of researchers led by David Chaney in 1960. Chaney was a professor of textiles who eventually went on to be Dean of North Carolina State University College of Textiles. It wasn’t then until 1964 that artificial grass was first installed commercially. A prep school in Rhode Island decided to replace all of the grass in their play area with the newly available artificial grass so that the children could play outside all year round without getting their clothes dirty.
However, artificial grass was still a relatively new concept and the vast majority of the public were still unaware of its existence. It wasn’t until 1966 when AstroTurf was installed at the Astrodome in Houston, the home of both the Houston Astros baseball team and the Houston Oilers American football team, that recognition of artificial grass became prominent. The stadium had troubles keeping their grass in playable conditions and so decided to invest in an alternative. The artificial grass allowed both teams to play in the stadium all year round regards of the weather conditions which not only pleased the teams but also the fans as they could now see their team play much more frequently.
Other teams from both baseball and American football saw the benefits of having an artificial grass playing field and invested in the product in the early 1970s creating a huge market for both installers and suppliers.
One sport in particular that saw the benefits of not only having an all-year round playable surface, but one which could be made completely flat with ease, was field hockey. As artificial grass became more advanced a sand infill was introduced in between the grass fibres creating a durable, stable and flatter playing surface which consequently was ideal for hockey pitches. Many teams recognised that artificial grass was a much better alternative than playing on real grass and would also cut down the maintenance costs of the club. Playing on artificial grass has now become standard practice in hockey with even the Olympic games being played on artificial grass.
As the years have gone on and more and more research has been put into artificial grass a new generation of artificial grass has been created. Using high quality polymers and taking away the sand infill meant that artificial grass was now much more comfortable to walk on and turned away the general presumption that artificial grass was only useful in sport. Homeowners had witnessed the realistic look and feel of artificial grass and began to install it in their own homes. Not only did this now mean that there was no more garden labouring, but it also meant that they could have a perfect looking lawn all year round. Homeowners in hotter climates saw the advantage of not having to spend great amounts of money watering their lawn to keep it alive, whilst businesses also discovered that it meant they could have a grand looking reception all year round at a fraction of the cost.