FIH has established a new category of hockey turf that is designed to ensure that dry turfs replicate, as far as possible, the playing qualities of wet hockey turfs, provide satisfactory levels of foot grip, acceptable levels of player comfort and have an acceptable durability.
Dry turf is a major focus for the International Hockey Federation, as it recognises that watering a hockey field comes at a cost, both financially and environmentally, that is no longer acceptable.
Until recently, it wasn’t uncommon to use 18,000l for one watering of a synthetic turf hockey field. Since hockey first embraced synthetic turf surfaces in the late 1970s, players have preferred to play on them when they are wet. Experience shows that water provides fast, predictable, and consistent playing conditions that allow players to perform to the best of their ability.
With a growing awareness of sustainability challenges around the globe, the FIH challenged the synthetic turf industry in 2018 to develop hockey turfs that retain the desired characteristics, but without using water.
Subdivided target range
Ideally, dry turfs will have similar playing characteristics to wet hockey turfs, but this may not be possible for all aspects, so the FIH Innovation Category is sub-divided into a target range, based on the performance of wet hockey turfs, and a wider range intended to ensure that the surfaces have performance that is better than that provided by national category hockey turfs.
Many of the parameters for the various target ranges were established by a research programme that is discussed in this article.
Together with national hockey associations, FIH will seek player feedback. This will help establish how good the performance of dry turfs are, and where the limits of acceptable performance can be set. FIH will use this information to amend its Hockey Turf and Field Standards to include the new performance properties and to remove the requirement for global category turfs to be watered prior to use. It is currently envisaged that this will be done no later than in the second half of next year.
To download the criteria for the Innovation Category of Hockey Turfs click here.
To download the latest FIH Dry Turf project update report click here.
To download the background research report that allowed us to create the Innovation Category of Hockey Turfs click here.
FIH acknowledges that it might have to consider additional parameters to meet its aim. This can include, but is not limited, solutions like discussed in this article.