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FACTS & FOES of Nylon vs. Artificial Grass Deep Infill

"Artificial Grass Deep Infill" Systems vs. Nylon

Synthetic putting greens are manufactured with several different materials. Two of the most common materials are polypropylene and nylon. A green made with nylon typically does not take an infill product, whereas a polypropylene green does. It is this artificial grass deep infill process that determines whether you birdie or bogey your game because of the advantage way that a surface, with artificial grass deep infill, reacts to your golf ball while putting and chipping onto the green. Non-filled synthetic putting greens obviously do not require infill. These greens are typically made of the nylon fiber. Nylon is what you see on miniature golf courses.

Disadvantages of Nylon

Problems with nylon synthetic putting greens:

  • Nylon, a more porous fiber, will absorb water, retain odors, and lead to mold, mildew and fungus growth.
  • Because a nylon green does not normally take an infill material, the fibers will "mat down" in a given time. When this happens the ball roll becomes very fast and there's nothing that can be done to remedy the problem. In an attempt to resolve this issue, some companies will add infill to the turf, but because nylon is not designed to take an infill product, it just won't work. Many companies claim nylon fiber is "heat set" with "memory" and will not mat down. It simply makes sense that if there is nothing to support the fibers upright, they will mat down over time. Also, read the "fine print" of these companies' warranties on their nylon greens - "normal matting or compression of fiber or compression of rubber and foam backing or padding is expressly excluded from the warranty". Draw you own conclusion from such contradicting statements.
  • Nylon is a stiffer, more rigid fiber. A rigid fiber can also make the ball "bounce" or "hop" and not hold the green well. Furthermore, it has to be virtually flat for a nylon green to hold a golf ball.
  • Although nylon greens should be built over a concrete slab, you might as well just take your penalty stroke and start over. Concrete will always crack or will always need joint for contraction and expansion. Joints and cracks will eventually agitate the green's surface creating visible ridges. Vice-versa, nylon turf with urethane backing will actually "crawl" across the surface creating wrinkles. A latex backing won't do this, but it will retain water and odors and lead to mold, mildew and fungus growth. For sure Stimp speed is not adjustable and undulations are almost nonexistent for a green built on a concrete slab.
  • A concrete slab must have a slope for water drainage. The slope has to funnel water somewhere, which usually means towards the putting holes or all to one side of the green, resulting in puddles of stagnant water; again leading to rot, mold and growth of fungus. If the nylon turf has a latex or rubber backing or padding, the problem is compounded.
  • Rubber padding will compact and break down, forming irregular dips in the green, similar to what happens to an old worn out couch cushion. Stagnant water can accumulate under those too. Add that to the matted down fibers and you've scored a "double-bogey" of a problem.
  • Nylon fibers tend to be darker. A darker color gives the surface an unnatural blue-green appearance. Don't take our word for it. Go to the internet and look at the photo galleries of companies selling nylon greens. You will notice greens that are abnormally dark or greens that actually look blue-green. Putting greens should "accentuate, enhance and blend" into the surrounding landscape, not detract from it.
  • Nylon has streak lines caused either by inconsistencies of the dye lot or during the shearing process, which runs the length of the turf and can seriously hamper true ball roll.
  • Final Note: Nylon greens cost almost twice as much as polypropylene. But because of the problems associated with nylon greens, you're getting half of the product for twice the price. All of these problems combined are sure to handicap your short game.

    After extensive research of the fiber and manufacturing process, we have determined that the technology for nylon putting greens has yet to produce a putting surface that consistently provides true ball roll and holding characteristics of a real grass green.

    Artificial Grass Deep Infill putting greens manufactured with UV-treated polypropylene fibers, designed to accept an infill product, represent a truly professional synthetic golf putting green. And here's why:

  • Polypropylene greens are the most realistic looking and have the most consistent surfaces.
    Its durable fiber can withstand all inclement weather conditions that Mother Nature can hurl at it. This increases the longevity of the green's life.
  • They provide many more options for designing undulations, especially when built over a crushed sub-base.
  • The fibers of an artificial grass deep infilled green are pre-bent and will not mat down over time
  • They are maintenance free -: blow debris off with a leaf blower.
  • Polypropylene greens have proven performance.

Some companies claim that the taller the turf, the better the ball roll. They use a 1-1/2 turf, which requires much more infill product. More infill means that the fibers will be further apart. More distance between the fibers means the ball can roll on between fibers and infill, which is not a true and consistent ball roll. Usually a 1-1/2 fiber is used for the installations of synthetic football and soccer fields. These companies will try to adapt that fiber to a putting green surface, which signals the beginning to a multitude of frustrating problems. Some of these companies claim to be the manufacturer of their products. Buyer beware! Most companies are simply the "middlemen" who sell products that they never actually see for themselves or who will sell factory "seconds". A product may be classified as a second if there is color difference in the yarn used, a flaw or streak in the length of the material, or the backing is defective. Their "manufactured" products are not fully inspected for quality.

Facts About Nylon

Nylon golf greens offer the worst of all possible combinations. They are sold by "sales people", not textile experts. At one time Dupont's nylon 6.6 dominated the sport field market place but was never intended for golf course applications. Except for commercial driving range golf mats, new fiber and infill technologies have virtually eliminated nylon from the sports turf and golf green scene.

American Sports & Recreational Surfaces manufactures range mats with SFI monofilament nylon (SFI is the available source for monofilament nylon in the United States). Golf greens using this nylon have "streak" lines. If you absolutely have to purchase a nylon golf green demand "in writing" that the turf will not have "streaked" lines in it. Nylon should be installed over concrete, not nailed down over sand or crushed stone. Nylon with a urethane secondary backing will expand and contract as the ambient temperature changes. This will cause the turf to "crawl" on top of the sub-base. Using spikes to hold down the perimeter edges will create bubbles and wrinkles in the turf. You are probably not installing the green for "goofy golf" but that is exactly what you will get when the turf bubbles, wrinkles or covers half the cup due to shifting. This is why outdoor nylon turf installations have always been a total direct glue down onto concrete, asphalt. E-Layer or other stabilized substrate.

Nylon Golf Greens Will Not Hold A Shot

Some companies are still selling nylon turf with an attached expanded urethane foam cushion for outdoor golf greens. These cushions are open cell products that absorb water, retain odors and have a fatigue factor. This will accept short chip shots until your golf green rots or your wife demands it's removal. If you topdress this nylon turf with the sand these same sales people recommend you will have a nice hard surface to park your boat on.

Nylon turf golf greens seem attractive because they are quick to install but the fact is that nylon should be limited to indoor installations where entertainment is the primary objective, rather than a tool to improve your golf game and your home value, if "streaks" are not a concern.

6 Good Reasons Why Not To Buy Nylon

  • "Streaks".
  • Will not hold a shot.
  • Does not look like a natural turf golf green.
  • "Stimp" speed is not adjustable.
  • Nylon is porous and will absorb water and retain odor.
  • Moist materials promote mold, mildew and fungus growth.

Advantages of Tour Play Golf Greens:

  • Realistic performance is proven from backyard greens to 18 hole golf courses.
  • Systems designed to hold shots from any distance while providing a true ball response and putting roll. The surface is more consistent.
  • Life cycle is much longer.
  • Stimp speed is adjustable.
  • Greater options for undulations. etc.
  • More sub-base alternatives.
  • Bunkers will not alter the performance of the golf green.
  • More realistic in appearance.
  • Greater product selection.
  • Stable in all weather extremes.
  • Does not absorb moisture like nylon.
  • Not as susceptible to vandalism; paint, fire, tire damage, etc.

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