The New Immanuel Lutheran School Swingset Playground is a Hit in Idaho

Posted on in News, Playground Surfaces, STI Featured Application, Synthetic Turf International.

STI Featured Application: The Immanuel Lutheran School Swingset Playground was recently completed by Jason and Hailey Barnes with Final Cut Synthetic Turf in Twin falls, Idaho

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It’s really neat to see the difference synthetic turf is making in providing a safer, cleaner and in most cases greener world.  This week’s Featured Application is no exception.  The fine folks at Final Cut Synthetic Turf went to work to install and upgrade the swingset space at Immanuel Lutheran School, and succeeded in every way.

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The old surface was a simple pea gravel space that was overgrown with weeds and patches of dirt.  Parents were complaining that their children would bring home pebbles in their shoes and pockets from this playground area.  And after it rained, there was no swinging as recess was either indoors, or confined to the blacktop area due the muddy mess.

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The Final Cut crew first smoothed out the existing surface and framed the area for concrete.  Once the concrete perimeter was poured, a layer of stone dust was added and compacted before the playground pad was installed. Finally, the turf was laid, and infilled with sand.

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The turf has been a great addition because it’s ADA compliant and provides a better critical fall height than the old surface (so it’s safer), there’s no more dirt and pesky pebbles (so it’s cleaner), there’s no more mud after rainy days (which makes the kids happy) and it’s maintenance free and stays green all year.

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“This has been an incredible transformation that will be appreciated by all parents that have found rocks in their washers from the previous pea graveled surface. This surface is now ADA compliant and meets an 8 foot fall height,” said Hailey Barnes with Final Cut Synthetic Turf, who added, “It is beautiful and extremely comfortable to walk on. We like to think that we have created a surface to safely swing and to practice gymnastics! Thank you Immanuel Lutheran, this was a fantastic project and you were a wonderful client!”

Visit our application page for more information, browse our gallery for ideas and contact Synthetic Turf International to Experience A Greener World and a cleaner, maintenance free playground.

National Recreation and Parks Association Annual Congress

Posted on in Controlled Products, NRPA, Playground Surfaces, Sustainability, Synthetic Turf International.

STI paid a brief visit to the National Recreation and Parks Association Annual Congress  Trade Show Meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina

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Last week, Synthetic Turf International visited the National Recreation and Parks Association Annual Congress trade show in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Equipment manufacturers from all over the world made the trip to showcase the best and brightest new products to facilities managers and parks and recreation directors from all across the U.S.

There were over 450 booths at the NRPA Congress, featuring playground equipment, outdoor exercise equipment, water testing products, athletic equipment and just about anything else one could imagine.  There were also several universities present, answering questions and providing information on the many programs they offer related to therapeutic and leisure studies.

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In addition to visiting the many hundreds of booths around the convention center, visitors can earn Continuing Education Unit credits by attending any of the more than 400 seminars and lectures offered on topics ranging from eliminating childhood obesity to the economic impact of frisbee golf, and everything in between.

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The event was kicked off with a golf outing at The Tradition Golf Course in Charlotte on Monday afternoon.  Tuesday featured a NASCAR themed tailgate party before a more formal reception at the neighboring NASCAR Hall of Fame. Wednesday night featured a Quiz Bowl, where students from across the country competed, followed by a movie night outdoors on the terrace of the convention center.

On Thursday, attendees were invited to take part in a 5K Run/Walk along the Little Sugar Creek Greenway, and the Congress concluded with a Closing Reception in the Crown ballroom at the convention center.

The 2015 National Recreation and Parks Association Annual Congress will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada and will mark the trade show’s 50th Anniversary.  STI has plans to exhibit at the show next year.  The dates are September 15-17.

Visit our application page for more information, browse our gallery for ideas and contact Synthetic Turf International to Experience A Greener World and a cleaner, maintenance free playground..

Backyard Transformation Complete Thanks to Synthetic Turf Innovations

Posted on in Lawn & Landscape.

STI Featured Application: Arvo Pikkaranien and the folks at Synthetic Turf Innovations completely transformed this small backyard eyesore into an attractive outdoor space

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Synthetic turf can create a stunning backyard transformation in the right hands.

The picture above is a small backyard in suburban Columbus, Ohio before Arvo Pikkaranien and his crew began working.  It was a weed-infested space with no appeal.  The homeowner was having a tough time getting grass to grow evenly.

Every time it rained, the space became a muddy mess.  Plus, getting the lawnmower back there was always difficult because the area is completely enclosed.

So Arvo and his crew at Synthetic Turf Innovations went to work designing an application that was cleaner, greener and required little to no maintenance.

Now the homeowner won’t have to worry about dragging the lawnmower into the backyard, and the space is clean and safe for children and pets.

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Not to mention, the space is much more appealing.  This doesn’t even look like the same backyard.

The crew installed a nice paver patio area right outside the house, leading into the small courtyard area.  Turf was applied and lined on three sides by a mulched bed, where a variety of plants and flowers were planted.  Finally, the crew pruned back a few trees in the back right corner.

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The homeowner is thrilled with the new look, and can’t wait to entertain friends and family.

Great work, Arvo.

Visit our application page for more information, browse our gallery for ideas and contact Synthetic Turf International to Experience A Greener World and a maintenance free lawn and landscape.

Synthetic Turf Over the Years in Baseball’s Postseason

Posted on in News.

With the Major League Baseball Playoffs set to begin tonight in Kansas City, STI is here to provide a few fun facts about synthetic turf  over the years in baseball’s postseason

 

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It’s one of our favorite times of the year, when the weather is cooling off, the leaves are starting to turn colors, football season is in full swing, and of course the playoffs begin in Major League Baseball.  So to commemorate this year’s postseason, which begins tonight in Kansas City as the Royals host the Oakland A’s, we thought it would be nice to pass on a few fun facts about the long history of synthetic turf over the years in baseball’s postseason.

  • Since the very first synthetic turf field was introduced in the Houston Astrodome in 1966 (above), at least one playoff participant has played their home games on synthetic turf every year, except for seven seasons (including 2014).
  • The very first playoff game on synthetic turf was played on October 3, 1970 between the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh.
  • The same 1970 National League Championship Series (NLCS) was also the first playoff series played entirely on synthetic turf.
  • The Reds were the first team to host a World Series game on synthetic turf, when they played the Baltimore Orioles in the 1970 Fall Classic.
  • The first night game in World Series history was played on synthetic turf  in 1971 at Three Rivers Stadium in between the Pirates and the Orioles.
  • It wasn’t until 1980 that every game of the World Series was played on synthetic turf.  The Philadelphia Phillies and the Kansas City Royals met in that Fall Classic, which also marked the first time that the final out of the World Series was made on synthetic turf.
  • The 1985 American League Championship Series was the first ALCS where all seven games were played on synthetic turf.  It also saw the first Game Seven played on synthetic turf.
  • The 1985 World Series was the first seven game Fall Classic played on synthetic turf.
  • The Minnesota Twins hosted Game One of the 1987 World Series, which was the first ever indoor World Series game, and also the first to be played on synthetic turf.
  • The 1993 World Series between the Phillies and the Toronto Blue Jays was the last World Series to be played entirely on synthetic turf.
  • Game Two of the 2008 World Series in Tampa was the last Fall Classic game to be played on synthetic turf.
  • The Cincinnati Reds have the best playoff record on synthetic turf, boasting a 24-11 mark all-time.  Minnesota has the best American League playoff record on synthetic turf at 16-12.
  • The Twins were unbeaten at home on first generation turf, which required no infill and was composed of short pile fibers.  Talk about a home field advantage.
  • While there have been several years where three teams in the playoffs played home games on synthetic turf, there has never been a year in which every playoff team did.
  • Currently only two Major League teams play home games on synthetic turf, the Tampa bay rays and the Toronto Blue Jays.

Hopefully your favorite team is in this postseason.  Even if there is no synthetic turf this year, it’s going to be fun to watch the 2014 Major League Baseball Playoffs.

Visit our application page for more information, browse our gallery for ideas and contact Synthetic Turf International to Experience A Greener World.

Bavarian Inn Lodge Debuts a New Putt-Putt Course

Posted on in News, Specialty Sports, STI Featured Application.

STI Featured Application: Jim Petrarca brings us an indoor putt-putt course at the Bavarian Inn Lodge in Frankenmuth, Michigan

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Guests and visitors at the Bavarian Inn Lodge have a new place to play thanks to Jim Petrarca and the folks at STI Great Lakes. The Lodge recently completed an entire facelift of its popular “Willy’s Kingdom” 18-hole mini-golf course, with new colors, features, and a whole lot more.

The Bavarian Inn Lodge, nestled along the Cass River in Michigan’s No. 1 tourist attraction – Frankenmuth – is the state’s largest Indoor Water Park Hotel. The Lodge has 360 European-themed guest rooms, including whirlpool and family suites, four indoor pools, three whirlpools, two water slides, a miniature golf course, two gift shops, two lounges and two restaurants — all under one roof.

Guests can also enjoy live, year round, nightly entertainment and test their own musical skills during weekend family karaoke shows.

Located inside the Lodge’s sprawling 35,000 square foot Family Fun Center, the mini-golf course now sports new turf in a variety of colors, together with new foliage, décor, and lighting. The lighting improvements include three new LED-illuminated trees, each glowing with 5,000 lights. The largest of the trees, standing 20 foot tall, regularly changes colors to further delight indoor golfers.

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“Renovation of the course began in April and was just completed last month,” said Martha Zehnder Keller, Bavarian Inn Lodge vice president of sales and marketing. “We were able to make all of the upgrades gradually during the busy summer months in order to keep the course open for our guests.”

She added that in the short time the course remodeling was completed, the Lodge has received many positive comments from guests about the improvements. “The course offers a fun and relaxing golfing experience for youngsters and grown-ups, and a great way for couples and families to spend time together,” she added.

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After their round, mini-golfers can catch some “19th hole” fun, food and relaxation at the Family Fun Center’s Rathskeller lounge and restaurant, which offers cafeteria-style dining from morning to night, plus a full-service lounge featuring more than 70 beers and malt beverages, and weekend karaoke.

Visit our application page for more information, browse our gallery for ideas and contact Synthetic Turf International to Experience A Greener World.

The Unknown Benefits of Synthetic Turf

Posted on in News.

This piece comes from our Northern counterparts with STI Canada about the unknown benefits of synthetic turf

 

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We often hear people talk about the usual benefits of synthetic turf; we know that it requires low maintenance, no water and provides a soft, safe, and allergen-free area for children and pets.

What we don’t hear about very often though, is the fact that bacteria can’t survive in synthetic turf products, and the benefits of that. One of our very own sales representatives has a story about that.

This gentleman, much like all of us, likes to spend his summers outdoors and around his home, and with this comes the typical household chores. Last summer this young man (in his mid-30’s) became ill. He began experiencing flu-like symptoms, but they were lasting for far too long.

He then started to go blind in one eye.

The doctors didn’t know what was wrong. He was only in his thirties, kept a typical healthy lifestyle, and they didn’t see any red flags. They then discovered he had contracted Toxoplasmosis, a parasitic disease which lives in organic materials or on host animals.

Toxoplasmosis can infect most warm-blooded animals, including humans, though the primary host is the cat family. The most significant risks come through contamination of raw meat, hands, and from animals. Up to one third of the world’s population is estimated to be carrying the infection.

For some, they will never even know they are carrying it and it will never make them ill. Those with weakened immune systems have a greater chance of becoming severely ill, and it can occasionally be fatal. This parasite can cause an inflammation of the brain, neurological diseases, and can affect all major organs.

In this gentleman’s case, the infection had spread to his eye, leading to him losing his eye.

The doctor assumed he picked up the infection by cutting his lawn, handling the grass clippings, then touching his mouth, nose or eyes. The infection then quickly spread to his eye and caused him to lose it. Due to his life-changing experience last year, this man decided to make some changes.

Once he learned bacteria can’t survive on synthetic turf, he wanted to make the switch as one of his ways to protect himself and his family from any future harm. He is now a synthetic turf sales representative and promotes all it has to offer. His goal is to educate people to prevent anyone else having this happen to them and get the word out.

As one of his efforts to protect his and all other children, he began promoting the Playground Turf.

Children are much more likely to play in the dirt and pick up bacteria on their hands, which then spreads very quickly through those little bundles of energy. The safe recreation surface is ADA/ABA compliant and consistent with all CPSC requirements. It exceeds national safety standards and is ASTM certified.

The surface is soft and safe for kids with fall zone safety ratings to 12’. Not to mention, this surface provides a lush, grassy, play area which is inviting for children. Facility owners and parents alike, never again have to worry about exposure or contact with harsh chemicals found in pesticides and fertilizers.

Visit our application page for more information, browse our gallery for ideas and contact Synthetic Turf International to Experience A Greener World and an allergen-free play area.

The Ko’olani Luxury Condominium Putting Course

Posted on in News.

 STI Featured Application: Ko’olani Putting Course installed by Rory Otto and the folks at NyLawn in Hawaii

 

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This week’s featured application comes to us all the way from beautiful Hawaii.  Rory Otto and the folks at NyLawn recently completed the Ko’olani Luxury Condominium putting course in Honolulu.

The development is only minutes away from Waikiki Beach and downtown Honolulu and just across the street from Ala Moana Beach park.  The views of the Pacific Ocean are incredible.

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The putting course has 18 holes spread out over seven greens.   The course is part of a long list of amenities, which include the tennis courts visible above, a swimming pool, a spa, a DVD viewing theater and lots of conference space.  Of course, the surrounding scenery isn’t too shabby, either.

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The script on the installation was installed by Rory’s crew on site using the same turf product as they used for the “water” hazard.

Visit our application page for more information, browse our gallery for ideas and contact Synthetic Turf International to Experience A Greener World.

 

The High Maintenance of a Natural Putting Green

Posted on in natural putting green, News, Putting Greens & Golf, Stimpmeter.

Ken Gentile, owner of Executive Putting Greens and the STI licensed dealer in Stamford, Connecticut recently shared with us his thoughts and expertise about what goes into the upkeep and maintenance of a natural putting green, along with a few benefits for a synthetic putting green from Synthetic Turf International.

Augusta 16As an Ex-Golf Course Superintendent, Ken Gentile gets lots of questions about natural putting greens.  Below, he provides his expert insight into what it takes to maintain  a natural putting green

The first thing to consider about golf green turf maintenance is that you are moving away from the low to medium maintenance level to a much higher maintenance level.

What does this mean?

Well, most home lawns are kept at a height of 2 to 3 inches, which means most lawns are cut no more than once a week.  And they are able to survive without fertilizer, pesticides or other cultural practices. That level of maintenance would be on the low end of the maintenance spectrum.

Then there are those who fertilize, apply pesticides and perhaps aerate or overseed.  This is more of a medium maintenance level.

Now, if you want to maintain a natural putting green, you will need to get into the high maintenance level.   Before I scare you away from the idea, high maintenance is not necessarily more work than medium maintenance.

What you need to move up to this level is more of a dedication to follow a strict golf course turf maintenance program and closely monitor what the turf requires. For example, you may well put down less fertilizer than some of your neighbors, but you will be moving to a more expensive type of fertilizer, or you will be fertilizing extremely small quantities every two weeks.

At this level, golf course turf maintenance costs more money and requires more labor and dedication to the turf.

The most important things that affect turf health are sunlight, air movement, irrigation and drainage. Keeping in mind that the grasses used for putting greens are plants that need full light, you need to make sure the green location will have a minimum of 6 hours of full sunlight every day; and that the most important sunlight is morning sunlight.

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Also, keep in mind that during the year the hours and angles of sunlight per day change significantly, but you can get a good average by observing the light on the first day of spring or fall.

A simple way to determine the hours of sunlight is to take pictures of your site every hour from sunrise to sunset. Finally, even if you do have enough light presently, consider the potential future conditions of the site, such as young trees that may block sunlight in the future.

After light, wind is the next crucial ingredient.

Air movement is very important, particularly during hot summer days when the turf’s only methods of cooling itself is by evaporating water from its leaves which is known as evapotranspiration.You don’t need a gale force wind.  Enough of a breeze to move the flag on the pin is adequate.

Sometimes the reason for a lack of air movement is the surrounding terrain such as greens built in protected valleys, or at the bottom of severe slopes.  The most common reason, however, is that there are too many trees too close to the green.

A typical part of a golf green management program is monitoring the growth of trees over years to be sure they do not block good light and air movement.

Once you have determined that your site is suitable, you have to consider the most important element the turf needs for its survival. No, it’s not fertilizer, but water.  And to paraphrase an old superintendent’s proverb, “it is as important to be able to put water on the green quickly as it is to get it off.”

A good golf green management program will always have a good watering system that will give good, even coverage throughout the green. Then, when Mother Nature sends you too much water, you need a way of removing it.

This is done through drainage, using either good surface movement or subsurface drainage pipes.

Finally, the last thing your green management program needs is a good agronomic plan.

Fertilizer needs should be based on soil test results. Aerating and topdressing are two other important practices. A home green will usually get less wear and tear than a green at a golf course, so these methods are your principle ways of controlling the natural organic layer that will develop (better known as thatch).

Oh, and don’t forget to cut the turf on a daily basis, which requires sharpening the blades of your $20,000 mower on a weekly basis.

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Probably the next most important part of golf course turf maintenance is cutting. Greens really should be cut at least 5 times a week. The main reason for this is that the less leaf blade we remove from the turf each cut, the less we stress the turf. A rule of thumb is that we should never cut the turf down by more than ⅓ of its height.

You can get away with cutting less often, but in the growing season it will be mostly the playability of the surface that will suffer first. The advantage of all this cutting is that we have very few weed problems as most weeds become much weaker under this type of regime.

Of course not any old mower will work.  At this height you need to cut with a reel mower.

Greens: from 1/8 to 3/16 of an inch (3 to 3.5mm)

Another aspect to consider is irrigation.

There is no golf green turf maintenance program that doesn’t call for at least some supplemental irrigation as needed. At short heights of cut the turf is much more vulnerable and needs the right amount of water to remain healthy.

It is essential to have supplemental irrigation around a green and it’s recommended to use separate heads for lawn areas.

The irrigation can be a simple as a hose nearby that is used to water the green by hand when needed. While that may be inexpensive, you will need to be there when the turf needs irrigating, and it is preferable to do it just before sunrise to minimize disease pressures during hot humid weather.

On the other end of the spectrum would be a fully automatic, programmable irrigation system with weather station to monitor evapotranspiration. On average, turf needs 1 inch (25mm) of water a week during summer, which includes any water received through rainfall. It’s important to keep in mind that too much irrigation is just as dangerous as too little.

Now we get into the things that golf courses do that makes all the difference.

One of the most important aspects of golf green turf maintenance is aeration. By forcing the turf to grow through regular fertilization, you start to build up organic matter at the surface which becomes thatch. This is an ideal place for disease to grow.

The best way to deal with thatch is to physically remove it through core aeration. Golfers hate this practice, but it is absolutely essential twice a year. This reduces compaction and promotes better root growth.

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Another practice is sand topdressing. This dilutes the organic matter at the surface, creates a firmer surface, keeps the surface true and rolling nicely and may even help to modify the upper rootzone.

Verticutting is the practice of vertically cutting the turf, which also removes thatch, promotes better turf vigor and give a better ball roll across the surface.

Finally, rolling is a good way to get a smoother surface, and more importantly, to create faster green speeds and a truer ball roll.

However, too much rolling creates compaction problems and poor rooting, so rolling should be limited to once or twice per week and never when the surface is very wet.

These are the general practices needed in a golf green turf maintenance program, there may be other things you need to do, and the frequency will change depending on climactic conditions where you live.

Notice I haven’t mentioned pesticide applications, in many instances you may not need to apply any pesticides if your growing conditions are perfect for turf.

In other areas you may need only fungicides when diseases start to appear. In difficult areas you may find a need to apply fungicides or insecticides on a regular basis because you know you will encounter certain problems.

Having a person on the property that can manage these types of conditions is extremely important. Hand water when needed, spray pesticides at moment’s notice, identify when disease conditions maybe at a high and choose the correct product and apply it at the correct rate.

Being an ex-golf course superintendent with over twenty five years in the industry, I highly recommend against natural greens and would truly consider synthetic green surfaces. Being in the synthetic turf industry for the past twelve years and distributor for Synthetic Turf International, I have yet to come across a turf product that compares STI.

STI offers several different putting green options, from sand filled to nylon greens.  We also offer options for which type of infill product to use so that you can replicate the speed of your favorite course.

Our nylon products roll at a speed of 11.5 on the Stimp Meter without infill.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a putting green in your back yard that didn’t require all the maintenance and cost of a natural green, but performed and looked like one 365 days?

Visit our application page for more information, browse our gallery for ideas and contact Synthetic Turf International to Experience A Greener World and a better golf game.

Back to School Playground Ideas from STI

Posted on in News, Playground Surfaces, Press.

As millions of American kids go Back to School, Synthetic Turf International offers advice on playground systems

 

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It’s the time of year that kids loathe and parents love.  A time when the students of America get reacquainted with their pencils and their books.

And for some, their teacher’s dirty looks.

It’s the time when kids across America go Back to School. Many schools across America started weeks ago, but a majority of American school children start the day after Labor Day.

It goes without saying that school has changed a great deal over the last twenty years.  Those pencils are traded in for computer keyboards.  And the books for laptops and tablets.

The dirty looks will never change, only the people giving them.

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But seriously, education is changing. Debates over standards are never ending. Technology is an integral part of almost every classroom in America.  Going to school and sitting in a classroom isn’t like it used to be.

Neither is recess on the playground.

Over the last few years, there has been a serious push to install synthetic turf in more playgrounds than ever before.  A synthetic turf playground is a very low maintenance alternative to natural grass, where someone has to mow and weed.  And if schools don’t stay on top of the maintenance of their natural grass play space, the grass gets worn down and is gone in a matter of weeks.

A synthetic turf playground system eliminates the need to worry about maintenance.

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Synthetic Turf International offers numerous playground turf systems that are certified by the International Playground Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) and can meet critical fall height requirements up to 12 feet. Imagine a green playground that looks like natural grass, performs better than natural grass, is much safer than a mulch system and simply looks better than a poured-in-place system.

Visit our application page for more information, browse our gallery for ideas and contact Synthetic Turf International to Experience A Greener World and a safe, maintenance free playground.

STI Goes to the College Football Hall of Fame

Posted on in News.

Synthetic Turf International is honored to be a part of the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience Grand Opening in Atlanta

 

The gang from Synthetic Turf International was on hand for the Grand Opening of the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience on August 23 in Downtown Atlanta.

Atlanta Mayor, Kasim Reed was on hand for the event, which featured a huge outdoor tailgate party and several vendor booths set up along Marietta Street, with a few Hall of Famers scattered throughout.

STI was invited by Sporturf, our sister company, who supplied the turf field that is an integral part of the Chick-fil-A Fan Experience.

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Guests to the hall enter through an entry tunnel into the Quad, where they are greeted by the Helmet Wall.  The Wall features helmets from all 768 college football teams.

The hall is filled with interactive multimedia stations where college football fans can find a wealth of knowledge about their favorite teams, and the sport in general.  There are booths designed to show fans what it feels and looks like on the field at their home stadiums.

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There are exhibits featuring the evolution of football uniforms over the past 150 years, the history of tailgating and the most intense rivalries in college football history.

There is also the state-of-the-art Game Day Theater, with an ultra high-definition 4K film, “The Game of Your Life,” which shows visitors to the hall a glimpse behind the scenes of big time college football through the eyes of Hall of Fame players and coaches.

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The indoor field has a number of football related games, running through the tackling dummies, pushing the sled, kicking a field goal and passing accuracy.  The turf on the field is a short pile height product with a foam pad backing.

The College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience is a must see for any college football fan, and it’s a place where you can learn more about the game than just about anywhere else.

Visit our application page for more information, browse our gallery for ideas and contact Synthetic Turf International to Experience A Greener World and a maintenance free lawn and landscape.