Packers to Practice on New Training Camp Surface

PWT36

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Packers To Practice On New Training Camp Surface

by Jeff Fedotin, Packers.com
posted 07/11/2005

Clarke Hinkle Field





The Packers ground crew Monday completed installation of a new surface at Clarke Hinkle Field, allowing fans to watch their team practice more frequently and players to practice on a more comfortable surface during training camp.

"It was totally rebuilt from top to bottom," field manager Allen Johnson said. "The organization wanted to improve the drainage and create a softer field."

The old soil could not hold water sufficiently and took a long time to drain, causing the surface to become muddy, slick and unsafe for the players.

The new root zone composed of sand and a few organic materials will eliminate those drainage problems and create a softer playing field.

"The big difference is the moisture-holding capacity," Johnson said.

Last year's soil was made with a high concentration of clay. After a rainy day in training camp, the clay would retain water and create a soggy field, forcing the Packers to practice inside the Don Huston Center, which does not have room for observers. As a result, fans would be unable to see practice on those days.

The new soil will not only stay dry and allow for more outdoor practices, but also will serve as a softer player surface. Last year, Clarke Hinkle's surface started wearing thin under the hot August sun.

"When the sun beats down on that clay, it gets hard like a rock," Johnson said. "Clay gets like cement."

The players' cleats did not penetrate that hard clay well, and the pounding took a toll on their feet and joints.

Although a sand-based root zone reduces flooding and creates a softer playing surface, it has less stability.

To alleviate that problem, the grounds crew has worked with Desso DLW Sports Systems to install the artificial stitching. They used 40 million individual strands of a combined polyethylene and polypropylene materials eight inches below the surface with one inch exposed on the top.

Tents surrounding stitching machines, which put in nearly 90,000 kilometers of yarn, protected the spools of yarn from becoming entangled by wind or weather.

Although the Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles use the synthetic surface and sand-based soil in their stadiums, the Packers will become the first NFL team to use it on a practice field. European soccer fields also have used the technology.

Because the sand requires more maintenance than last year's clay-based soil, the grounds crew treats it with water and fertilizer around the clock.

In addition to the field improvements, the Packers paid for a new sidewalk around the Don Hutson Center and upgraded an asphalt surface on the side of the field where the media observe the team. Reporters will stand more comfortably on the rubberized surface.

As a result, players, fans and media alike should have a more enjoyable training camp experience this summer.
 

IPBprez

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If this is what I think it is.. last year we saw an article which commented about that stuff over at Ford Field. Something about how when it comes loose, the Players hit the turf and puffs of that material go floating up in the air for a small bit of time and then gets inhaled... I don't see that happening at this Practice Facility but there it is....
 

PWT36

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IBPrez--Detriot does not have this type of surface as the story noted-Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles use this surface in their stadiums. The Packer are the first to use in on their practice field. Euopean soccer fields have also used this surface. There should be no problem with it, as Detriot encountered.
 

Bobby Roberts

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IPBprez said:
If this is what I think it is.. last year we saw an article which commented about that stuff over at Ford Field. Something about how when it comes loose, the Players hit the turf and puffs of that material go floating up in the air for a small bit of time and then gets inhaled... I don't see that happening at this Practice Facility but there it is....

Ford Field uses fieldturf. This is the same surface as used inside the Don Hudson center and at Randall Field (where the Badgers play.) It's a totally artificial indoor surface which uses woven plastic grass with a strong matting underneath. On the top, ground up rubber pellets are mixed into the plastic grass. As players run and hit the turf, the rubber pellets bounce into the air. These pellets can potentially be swollowed or get caught in a player's eye, but both are very rare. I play soccer on fieldturf during the winter, and it's a great indoor surface to play on.

The surface that is now on the Packers' outdoor practice field is a natural grass surface. To keep the grass turf bound more tightly for wear and tear, the plastic strands are woven into the turf. Under the turf they've placed sand for drainage. Of course the problem here is that sand has a loose hold of the ground, which means it's more difficult to keep the turf from being torn up.
 

Ryan

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These pellets can potentially be swollowed or get caught in a player's eye, but both are very rare. I play soccer on fieldturf during the winter, and it's a great indoor surface to play on.

Exactly, I love the stuff. Being able to wear my moldeds inside during a winter game is ideal. It chews up the leather a bit quicker but well worth it!
 

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