Category: Athletic Fields

2017 Buffalo Bills – Athletic Field



In this week’s featured project we are looking at the 20,000+ sq ft brand new Buffalo Bills outdoor practice facility built by the team at Sports Fields, Inc.

The Bills were looking to avoid the practice area being damaged while the blocking sled and other training equipment was being used. The movement of the blocking sled equipment would create uneven and inconsistent terrain by digging into the stone base under the turf, ultimately resulting in deformation which could create an unsafe practice area.

By using our UltraBaseSystems Champion Panel on top of the subbase and installing synthetic turf on top of the UBS panels, the Bills have now completely averted this issue. The Champion Panels act as a permeable, structural, load-bearing, non-slip base for the new synthetic turf, resulting in a practice area able to withstand the forces of the lineman and the practice equipment. Learn more about this project and how our technology can work for you:

This installation was done by: Sports Field, Inc. (

Pros and Cons of Turf Fields

Pros and Cons of Turf FieldsWhen it comes to considering the pros and cons of turf fields versus that of traditional grass fields; there are a few factors you’ll want to take into consideration. From the onset, it’s important to state that turf fields are a constantly evolving technology. Most people just assume that turf is a standalone product, when in reality, there are various advanced components and layers of technology that get incorporated into successfully creating a turf field and those technologies are constantly evolving in themselves…

With all that being said, It’s also important to keep in mind that each project also introduces with it various challenges and costs that you’ll have to subjectively factor into your decision. But without further ado here is a list of the general pros, and the cons of turf fields:


Increased Playing Time

When compared to natural grass fields, turf fields offer a tremendous advantage over grass fields in that they can be used daily and in all types of weather—both during and immediately after rain—with no concern of damaging the surface. With no “down time,” turf fields offer tremendously more playable hours than grass fields which need time to rest/recover.

Turf Fields Are Not Limited by Climate

One of the biggest advantages of a turf field is that turf isn’t constrained by the climate. Unlike traditional grass fields; where certain temperatures and conditions have to be present, or at least rigorously maintained year-round. Turf can be installed and yield consistent results with little to no worry in regards to the climate and conditions being just right. This subtle feature alone cannot be overstated enough.

Pesticide Free Chemicals

Unlike grass fields, turf fields don’t have to be sprayed and treated with pesticides and other chemicals to keep the grass from disease and other pest related disruptions.

Turf Fields Save Water

One of the more obvious benefits of turf is that turf doesn’t require a consistent input of water. In an increasingly warming climate, water becomes a huge factor to consider regarding the sustainability and the costs related to the maintenance of your field.

Turf Fields Result in Fewer Injuries

One of the great understated features about turf fields is the cushioned support that turf fields offer over traditional grass fields. Some studies have shown that turf fields actually help soften the impact resulting in fewer injuries for athletes.

Turf Fields Typically Require Less Time to Setup and Offer Faster Installation Than Traditional Grass Fields

Another distinct advantage that turf fields have over traditional grass fields is the installation process. Although there are various techniques available to transport and transplant grass and soil, the process overall is typically much longer and requires more logistical components to successfully implement. With advancements in base and subbase technology, turf fields can be set up in a matter of weeks as opposed to months and even years.

Less Risk Associated with Soil and Other Related Growth Factors of Traditional Fields

Grass is a living organism. Unlike turf, grass has to continually be maintained and constantly monitored to yield consistent results. If the conditions are not right, grass can easily die out and very rapidly become unplayable, and in some extreme cases, this can happen overnight. Whether it be due to rapid climate changes, nutrient depleted soil, disease, or even pest related organisms, grass is susceptible to a large range of volatile constraints.

Less Resources Required to Maintain Turf Fields

Because grass is a living organism, it needs a lot more resources to maintain it. This includes, water, sunlight (or alternative energy sources), nutrient rich soil, pesticides, and other growing resources. Additionally, grass fields need to be continually and freshly cut throughout the season. All of this adds up to additional operational costs built into grass fields.

Generally, Turf Is Much More Cost Effective

Although it is true that turf still does need to be replaced after years of usage, generally the maintenance costs are much lower over time when compared with the continual upfront variable cost investments that natural fields must undergo.


Turf Fields Have Negative Stigma Over Grass Fields

Although turf fields offer much more consistency and playability, among other great benefits; turf fields seem to still conjure up negative publicity over traditional grass fields. As an example, recently FIFA stirred up some controversy with their decision to host the 2015 Women’s World Cup on turf instead of natural grass. Unfortunately, the response was mostly negative; with the issue seeming to be more legacy related than anything else.

Reported Risks of Potentially Harmful Chemicals and Toxins

There are always bad apples in every industry and although rigorously disputed, there are still some reports of synthetic materials used in turf technology (like heavy metals) that can be potentially dangerous. That is why it’s very important to make sure you source out good suppliers and developers for your turf field technology.

Potential Heat Hazard Scenarios Reported

Although disputed, some turf fields have reportedly recorded higher than usual temperatures on their fields which could potentially result in various issues related to athletes and increased risks of dehydration among other factors.


Over the years, turf technology has continued to evolve, and with it, the ability to produce much more advanced technology over traditional fields. Although there are still some downsides to consider, turf fields seem to be yielding far more pros than cons.

Thayer Academy

Three athletic fields installed for Thayer Academy in Braintree, MA Constructed by R.A.D Sports located in Rockland, MA.

The Market is Changing….So Should Your Base Installation System

The four projects featured and pictured below were installed over the past several months and have emphasize the incredible diversity and market opportunities UltraBaseSystems® provides.  From full-size fields in Southern California to smaller footprint playfields in Tampa and Austin, the demand for synthetic grass recreational areas is exploding, and UltraBaseSystems is at the forefront of this turf revolution.

Why UltraBaseSystems? Simply stated, it just makes sense! Safety, drainage, aesthetic excellence, ease of installation and cost effectiveness make this an all-in-one, common-sense product.

For years, the small market fields have been overlooked due to the impracticality of moving the necessary heavy equipment in to lower budget job sites.  UltraBaseSystems eliminated these logistical barriers.  Three of the featured installations involved simply removing the vegetation, grading and compacting the sub grade, selecting the proper stabilization fabric and getting to work with the UBS panels and turf. In less than a week, what was once an unsafe dirt field became a state-of-the-art synthetic turf masterpiece ready for years of fun and enjoyment.

Don’t be left behind on this newest trend in mini fields. Let the team at UltraBaseSystems show you just how easy making fun can be!


KYA is a first class surfacing solutions company located in Southern California.  Service and value is always the #1 priority. This 89,129 sq. ft.  project was constructed on  an asphalt sub base, with the KYA team using UltraBaseSystems Champion panels as their turf base. The extreme horizontal drainage, coupled with industry required GMAX and superior athletic performance characteristics made UBS the right soluton for the project.

Mono filiment sports turf with four pounds of infill created a consistent, safety focused, well-drained, performance-driven, athletic field. KYA has completed four of these innovative systems in California with more in the planning process. Great job KYA and all the members of your team!

Hendy Turf

Jim Henderson of Hendy Turf in Deltona, Florida was a first time user of the UBS panel system.  This model charter school, located in Temple Terrace, Florida, was recently completed and is now ready for a state-of-the-art sports facility that matches the caliber of education these great kids are receiving.

“We had a great experience using the UltraBase system on our latest project in Tampa. The staff went above and beyond to ensure the product was delivered correctly and on time. They also arrived the following day offering hands on training to our entire crew on product and installation. We found the UltraBase system easy to install and the final outcome flawless. We would highly recommend this product and will be using it again in the future.” Jim Henderson Owner of Hendy Turf

Once again, installation was uncomplicated. The area was graded to the existing drainage system, rolled smooth, and our SF65 permeable geo stabilization fabric installed. Here in Florida, soils are not typically an issue so a permeable system for drainage worked great. The four-man crew was able to install this 31,552 sq ft area with panels in just a few days and move directly to turf and fill.  In a little over a week, Jim and his crew transformed a muddy construction site in to a beautiful sports complex ready for years of activity and fun. Jim has plans for many more of these small size fields to be constructed in the next year, and UBS will be proud to be part of this great program initiative. Click here to see more on this installation

Austin Courts & Floors, Inc.

With the help of Greg Dettman and the team at Austin Courts & Floors, Inc., this Austin private school had previously transformed their playground and athletic court facility, but it was time to give the 6,093 sq. ft recreational field a major face lift. Vegetation was removed, proper drainage grading was achieved and impermeable stabilization fabric was selected to eliminate the need for the clay soil removal.

The UltraBase Panels were carefully and quickly installed and new turf rolled out, seamed and filled. What a transformation in just a few days. Our thanks to Greg and his team for sharing this terrific installation!

Putters Edge of South Florida

Bill Collins with Putter’s Edge of South Florida was given the challenge to build a high quality backyard soccer field for a global music icon’s  large waterfront home.  This demanding  project required removal of over 50 trees and heavy landscaping.  The finished field size is 84′ x 34′ and required over 400 Champion panels, 15 tons of fill and 3,000 Sq Ft of non-infill athletic turf.

Because the field was in the middle of the property, there were many access and drainage issues.  The drainage had to be able to handle Florida’s heavy summer rains. The installation of the panels had to be correct to handle this and still provide a ‘true roll environment’.  The turf was installed in 12 foot sections with fringe around the entire field and the entry area from the house.  The field was finished with 18” rubber tiles to provide a runoff area and finish the look.

Once again Bill Collins and team has proven how easy it is to bring a professional stadium quality field outside of your back door.

Congratulations to Bill and entire team!

DeShayes Dream Greens 

Joe DeShayes, owner of DeShayes Dream Greens, has been a longtime customer of Tour Links® and UltraBaseSystems® and provides his customers with some of the most creative synthetic grass putting greens imaginable.  Understanding the panel technology as well as Joe does, there were no issues for his team when migrating to the home practice field arena. This latest installation from DeShayes Dream Greens should serve to inspire everyone to realize the enormous opportunities that UltraBaseSystems can bring to your next project.

“This 2,800 + square foot residential Hockey turf practice field was a clean and simple install thanks to the UltraBaseSystems.   By using UltraBase panels we were able to ensure proper drainage and guarantee the planarity of the turf over time, even with the typical freeze thaw cycle in NJ. None of our competitors were able to do the same using alternate base construction. I have used many different base systems over the past 20 years and have found the UltraBase system to be the best for overall performance and ease of installation. Thanks again for supplying us with the best sports turf base on the market!” Joe DeShayes III

As you can see, for these individual projects ranging from 89,129 sq. ft. to 3,000 sq. ft, UltraBaseSystems provides the most versatile base solution in the world and delivers it right to your job site.

Be sure to contact our sales team. They are standing by ready to help you turn your next great installation idea into a reality.

What Makes an Athletic Field Safe?

What to Look for in a Perfect Sports Field

Over the last several years, an enormous amount of time and energy had been spent focusing on athletes’ head injury issues as it relates to their equipment and playing surfaces. And for the record, every dollar spent to research safer and better ways to protect children who play on a synthetic or natural turf field is a small investment when you consider the alternative.

Home Depot Center AstroBowl 2012

Safety on sports fields or playgrounds goes far beyond having the proper helmet or a cushy surface on which to fall. The fact is, safety on a field has many facets which all need to be addressed in order to ensure the safest experience possible for athletes of all ages and skill levels. Like most, when I hear the words safe play, I immediately think of a child falling off of a piece of playground equipment or getting tackled on the playing field and getting right back in the game, uninjured.


How can a sports field provide the safest play experience possible? What makes a field or playground safe? What can be done to improve the playability of an athletic field? How do we achieve it?

Key Considerations for Athletic Field Safety


When we look at the list above, it becomes apparent that all the factors of field safety must be addressed to ensure the most consistent play surface possible it is imperative that a field plays as well in five years as it did the day it was installed. Hence, extremely important in selecting products that will provide this consistency. It all starts with a great foundation, and in the world of synthetic turf, that is the base.

Historically, synthetic turf bases have been made of compacted stone and/or a layer of asphalt leveled on top. Some have been built directly on concrete slabs and laying grass directly on top. It has worked well, for years, and thousands of fields have been successfully constructed with this method, but we can do better! If you look at the incredible advancements in the quality of the turf compared to base technology, it is time to recognize the base is the starting point of a safe play surface.

I believe it all starts with the base! Let’s take a look at all the properties that make for a great facility.

Critical Fall Height

Historically there have been several ways to achieve the standards of a safe playing surface. Providing a soft landing zone directly in the turf, traditionally, has been achieved in the form of rubber fill. It has worked very well for years and is still popular. Another option is to provide a foam layer attached directly to the underside of the turf or provide some type of additional pad system which rests directly on the stone or hard sub base in an effort to soften the field. These concepts do the job in providing a better feel when you inevitably hit the ground during play. A base replacement system such as UltraBaseSystems will enhance or often times eliminate the need for some of these options providing an “all-in-one solution for safety.”

Energy Restitution

I have always used this description for energy restitution: If you are running on the beach at the water’s edge, the sand is hard and you feel as though you could run forever at lightning speed. Move up to the sand dunes and suddenly each stride is a struggle. The good news is, if you fall down on the dunes the chance of getting hurt is very low, but you will be exhausted after a short run. The return of energy one feels at the water’s edge is energy restitution, in other words, the “good energy” that is retuned back to your body when running on a firm surface.

Predictable Ball Roll and Ball Bounce

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Tampa Bay Rays Practice Field

This is one of my pet peeves. I have spent the last 15 years building a base system that delivers one of the most predictable ball rolls possible for a golf ball. How do we do it? Simply stated, we build putting greens on an engineered base, not a pile of compacted stone. The same goes for athletic fields. If I am playing third base, I darn well want to be sure that the ball flying down the third base line is traveling in a predictable path and not hitting pockets of displaced stone under the turf or an irregularly graded base. One bad hop and an athlete’s career could be over in a second.


Non-slide Surfaces

CARSON, CA - DECEMBER 17, 2011: Washington Union defeated Campolindo 14-10 at The Home Depot Center on December 17, 2011 in Carson, CA. All images courtesy of Time Warner Cable. (Photo by John Salangsang | Time Warner Cable)
Home Depot Center AstroBowl 2012

Much work has, and is, being done to improve the traction of synthetic turf. In fact, one of the important tests to achieve industry approval is measuring the foot rotation turf allows or doesn’t allow. There has always been much discussion about the slippage that some base systems allow which can result in wrinkled turf that can cause injury or a sloppy looking installation.

Proper Drainage

nonturf drainage

Not every location in the world drains perfectly. Here in Florida, our sandy soils allow the water to percolate in to the ground very rapidly. However, in many parts of the world, soils which don’t allow good drainage, or are in low lying areas, can pose a real issue. Your base selection better allow for vertical drainage so that rain flows through the turf and in to the awaiting sub base or to run through the turf and be funneled out horizontally to the perimeter edge of the field or some other awaiting engineered drain system. Having the ability to store water in your base system is a huge plus. One of the theories of a stone base is that water can be stored in the stone during a heavy rain and ultimately percolate into the ground or some type of drainage system. UltraBaseSystems creates the storage capacity within the design of the product and ultimately allowing unwanted rainwater off of the surface. Keep the water away from the athlete and you will see safer play.

Perfect Planarity 

This ties directly to ball roll, but it is also a huge aesthetic advantage. Nothing looks nicer than a perfectly manicured natural grass field, and with the selection of a proper base system, this “billiard table” look must be readily and consistency achieved throughout the life of the field.

Structurally Sound

All of the characteristics listed have little meaning if the base of the field is not solid underfoot.  A strong base will be a firmly compacted stone system, a solid base selection such as asphalt or a structural base replacement system such as UltraBaseSystems.  The athlete must feel that his footing is solid and the ground under the turf is stable and will remain that way.

All of these criteria can be a bit overwhelming until you realize there is a single product on the market that achieves all these goals and more. UltraBaseSystems (UBS) is truly a revolution in base technology. These patented, interlocking base panels provide a single solution to achieving the best base system possible. UBS was engineered to provide a structural alternative to stone bases while delivering the safety characteristics every athlete demands. Don’t turn to a drain mat to move rain off the field. Don’t turn to a shock pad to achieve all around safer play. Don’t turn to asphalt to achieve a uniform aesthetic appeal. UltraBaseSystems performs all of these functions and will satisfy your entire base requirements.

Gilbert Lindsay Recreational Center

The ever changing  climate of the synthetic turf industry has continued to spawn exciting advancements in turf systems, infill selections and base construction technology.  Here at UltraBaseSystems, our challenge is to continue to be the innovative force behind base technology advancements.

The recent AstroTurf project at Gilbert Lindsay Recreational Center was a great response to the challenges facing the turf world.  State of the art turf, coupled with environmentally friendly infill and supported by UltraBaseSystems Champion base  panels, left all involved proud to be part of this great opportunity in Los Angeles.



Van Nuys Sherman Oaks Sports Park in Sherman Oaks, California

VNSO 005

Project Overview

Three Athletic Fields

One at 36,000 sq. ft.

Two at 69,300 sq. ft. each

Installed over UBS Champion Panels




Immediately following the installation of Gilbert Lindsay the AstroTurf team set their sights on making easy work of three large UltraBaseSystems fields in Sherman Oaks, California.

Backyard Soccer Field

In the wake of the controversy of rubber fill material, Bill Collins of Putters Edge of South Florida recently finished his second non-filled soccer practice field utilizing UltraBaseSystems® Champion panels and a non-filled, low pile height, felt backed turf. Unlike Bill’s first project which replaced a natural grass yard, this project was constructed over an existing concrete court. Take a look around and see just how many old tennis courts or unused sport style courts are waiting for a face lift. The job possibilities are staggering!

Where can we build a field with UBS?

It is our belief there are virtually no limits to the locations a field can be constructed. Indoors, outdoors, rooftops, parking lots, new construction, retrofit and existing grass field, the sky is the limit with UBS.

Do you glue the turf to the panels?

No.  Our system is designed as a free-floating system. When necessary the turf can be attached to the outer top edge of the outer perimeter panels after the turf has been stretched and filled.