Editor’ note: The following letter was sent to Westfield Town Administrator Jim Gildea before the town council meeting Tuesday. To read about that meeting, click here.

Re: Synthetic Turf Replacement at Sid Fay & Houlihan Fields

Mr. Gildea,

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FieldTurf has recently obtained the recommendation letters by Mr. John Belle with respect to the above mentioned turf fields, copies of which are attached for your review and reference. In his letters, Mr. Belle recommends the Desso iDNA‐60 and ranks our product (FieldTurf / Tarkett XM6‐6049H) 2nd – even when considering that our offer was $75,000 cheaper than that of Desso.

I wanted to personally reach out to you because of my concern with the recommendation made by Mr. Belle. It is clear by the arguments made by Mr. Belle that he does not have a clear understanding of the technical issues involved in either product and, as a result, may be misleading the client in to believing that they are receiving a higher quality product from Desso.

Several of Mr. Belle’s technical recommendations are made without merit:

‐ Mr. Belle makes a statement about the artificial turf polymers. We proudly use a C6 metallocene fiber – the most durable combination that we’ve seen.

We also know that fiber durability is a lot more than just Polymer. It’s about PPG – Polymer, Process, and Geometry. The combination of these three attributes is what makes a fiber durable and resilient.

‐ Mr. Belle continues with his flippant technical points in his letter dated January 6th, 2014 by commenting about UV inhibitors. FieldTurf’s XM6 fibers are packed with 10,000 HALS of UV protection – the most we’ve seen by any turf manufacturer.

- Ironically, despite the fact that Mr. Belle relies heavily on the Lisport data, he has ignored the fact that Lisport is done in a laboratory without the presence of sunlight or UV.

‐ Mr. Belle makes an absurd comment that “a heavier face weight will last longer”, when there is actually no proof to support that claim. It’s quite shocking that a consultant would make such a comment when there is absolutely no scientific evidence.

- In fact, as proof to the contrary, Penn State University’s Sports Surface Research Center conducted their own independent testing on 13 different monofilament fibers and found the 40 ounce FieldTurf product to be the most durable of all tested. The 60 ounce systems from Astroturf and 45 ounce system from Mondo were significantly less durable.

The entire report is available here: http://plantscience.psu.edu/research/centers/ssrc/documents/lisport‐report.pdf

- What is interesting is that Mr. Belle keenly refers to the wear scale implemented by Penn State (Good, Hair‐Splitting, Fractured, Complete Splitting), but fails to recognize the actual test report and superior results of the FieldTurf Revolution system.

- What is of equal concern is the source of the referenced Lisport testing in the January 6th, 2014 report. Mr. Belle makes reference to the results of XM6‐6049H, but truthfully no such test results exist – specifically because we have never produced such a sample for testing.

‐ Mr. Belle goes on to discuss monofilament versus slit‐film and chooses to ignore the slit‐film product results. We believe that it is common knowledge in the industry that slit‐film turf systems are far more durable than monofilament turf systems. If it was a durable system that Mr. Belle sought, then he should have opted for a slit‐film option at Sid Fay and Houlihan Fields. That would be our recommendation.

Considering the following:

‐ Both of Desso’s “high profile” fields in North America were recently replaced. The University of Wyoming was replaced with FieldTurf and Oklahoma State University was replaced with Astroturf. The turf field at the University of Wyoming was installed in 2005 and removed in 2012 – a year before the termination of the field warranty. Again, while Mr. Belle has relied on Lisport test data, he has chosen to ignore real life examples.

‐ Desso’s annual market share in North America is approximately 1%. FieldTurf’s, on the other hand, is greater than 45%. In fact, the only architect to routinely recommend Desso in the region is John Belle.

‐ The Desso product comes with an 8 year warranty. The same as FieldTurf. FieldTurf, on the other hand, has over 250 fields in the US that are at least 10 years old. Desso has zero. Has Desso published an anticipated life service that exceeds this warranty period? Are they willing to extend their warranty?

‐ Mr. Belle claims that the “service life of at least 12 years can reasonably be expected from the least of these” is negligent. I don’t believe that any of the turf proponents would agree with this. If they did, I would challenge them to step forward and provide a 12 year guarantee.

‐ Last, but not least, Desso is a European based company, announced last year that they have retrenched and changed their overall business strategy after a failed attempt to sell their business. Will Desso be around to service this field? Read more here: http://www.dessosports.com/news/new‐strategy‐desso‐sportssystems


Darren Gill

Vice‐President, Global Marketing