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Natural Turf 5 Yr. Texas A&M Research Project in Partnership with the USGA Proves AirDrain a Success

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A Natural Turf 5 Yr. Texas A&M Research Project in Partnership with the USGA Proves AirDrain Agronomic Natural Turf Drainage a Success


In a five year research project sponsored by the USGA and Airfield Systems, overseen by Kevin McInnis and James Thomas at Texas A&M University, the AirField Natural Turf Agronomic Drainage System for sports field and golf applications and any sand profile was shown to hold up to 3 days more plant available water than a traditional gravel drainage profile.

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Download the PDF of the USGA – Texas A&M research project here:

Comparison of Putting Greens Constructed with AirField Systems and USGA Design


AirField has been marketing the AirDrain geocell for drainage since 2002, one of the first to understand the dramatic performance of an Airfield System was Tim Peterson with the Arizona Cardinals. Tim eventually selected Airfield over 20 other drainage systems in 2003, for the University of Phoenix Arena, home of the Tostito’s Fiesta Bowl and Super Bowl XLII.

In an NFL Players Association poll, the field at University of Phoenix Stadium was voted the league’s top playing surface in 2006 through 2012. This field was also selected as the league’s best playing surface in a 2008 Sports Illustrated poll among NFL players.

“We are pleased to see extensive laboratory testing prove what our customers have known all along, AirField drainage helps prevent standing water, missed practices and increases playing time. It also significantly reduces irrigation frequency by keeping plant available water in the soil profile. Said Michael Bean, AirField Systems Director of Sales. “We have enjoyed working with Texas A&M, and having some of the brightest minds in the field of Agronomy document the AirField advantage.”

“Low impact development and sustainable designs will dominate modern construction in the future. AirField Systems has a strong advantage in being 100% recycled. We can ship over 91,000 square feet of AirDrain in one 53′ foot trailer.

AirField only needs about 2 trucks for an entire sports field and just days to install. A gravel system can take 80-100 truck loads in and out of your sight, and weeks for installation,” said Charles Blackwood, President of AirField Systems.

Charles added that “AirField also saves water consumption over the life of a field, and also provides water reclamation and reuse capabilities. This helps reduce storm structure usage and dramatically lowers the site development impact of any sports facility.”

AirField Systems is the premier manufacturer of American made, 100% recycled synthetic drainage systems for natural and artificial sports facilities.


Kevin McInnes – Texas A&M University 
Professor of Soil and Environmental Physics in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A&M University. Dr. McInnes teaches the undergraduate and graduate courses in Soil Physics and teaches a graduate course in Environmental Physics. Dr. McInnes has more than 60 referred publications. He has attracted more than $4 million in research funds from State and Federal sources to support his research projects. Dr. McInnes is a Fellow of both Soil Science Society of America and the American Society of Agronomy.

He is a licensed Professional Geo scientist. Prior to being employed by Texas A&M in 1988, Dr McInnes was a Research Scientist with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia. He received his Ph.D. in Agronomy from Kansas State University, and his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Agronomy and Soil Science, respectively, from Washington State University.

Mr. James Thomas 
Senior Research Associate with the Department of Soil & Crop Sciences. His professional interests are in the design and use of high sand content root zone mixtures, soil-plant relations, and environmental preconditioning of plant responses. Mr. Thomas has a B.S. in Agronomy from Delaware Valley College of Science & Agriculture, and a M.S. in Plant Physiology from Texas A&M University.

He is President of Thomas Analytical Services, Inc., and President of Thomas Turf Services, Inc. Mr. Thomas is a licensed Professional Soil Scientist, a Certified Nutrient Management Specialist, and a Certified Professional Agronomist. He has co-authored 85 peer reviewed scientific publications and 6 non-refereed publications.