Rugby Pitches represent one of the most difficult of sports turf surfaces to maintain and keep safe.  The sheer physicality of the sport demands the very best of turf surfaces and this is an immense challenge for the turf industry, not least because players are bigger and more powerful than they were historically due to better training and nutrition in players.

Unlike most other turf sports where ball roll or bounce on quality turf is the premium concern in rugby it is not.  On rugby the turf must be able to present a uniform running surface capable of withstanding the immense pressures of scrum forces on the surface and at the same time present a playing surface which is soft enough to avoid undue harm when landing on the pitch surface.  In addition we also require reasonably good drainage and healthy turf.  Noel MacKenzie has many years managing and advising on rugby pitch management and drainage/construction and is certainly up to the challenge of offering independent expert advice gained over 33+ years to help you with your pitches and their improvement or management.

Noel has worked with an extensive portfolio of clients with rugby being one of their main activities some of which include:

Trowbridge RFC
BBC Club
Barclays Bank Sports Club
Birkbeck Sports Association
British Aerospace Dynamic Club
British Airways Concorde Club
Chesington Sports Club
Epsom College
Gravesend Rugby Football Club
Maidenhead RFC

Holmewood House School
Imperial College
Lancing College
Lensbury Club
Whitgift School
Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society
London Playing Fields Association
Hackney Borough Council
Old Deer Park Partnership
Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

The Metropolitan Police Sports Grounds (Imber Court, Chigwell, the Warren, Bushy)
University College London
Reading Rugby Club
St George’s College
St Mary’s Hospital
University of Surrey
University of Westminster
United medical and dental schools of Guy’s and St. Thomas

The Rugby Pitch Site Visit

Noel MacKenzie, our Principal Consultant, will assess your pitch, resources, usage patterns and technical issues in order to support club and its grounds management team or contractor to achieve optimum results.  We offer both qualitative (observational) and quantitative (measuring) assessment approaches to help ensure the best advice is given relevant to the skills, budgetary and material resources available.

Qualitative Assessments - The assessment will take in observed:

  • Condition of the surface overall
  • Grass species composition and vegetative cover
  • Disease and pest issues
  • Wear and damage issues
  • Irrigation
  • Drainage
  • Soil condition – structure, health, type, depth, etc.
  • Maintenance resources
  • Specific problems being encountered by the club.
  • Such assessments may recommend further detailed quantitative testing but this may not be the full PQS approach listed below, perhaps only certain elements that might be necessary e.g. drainage testing or such like.

 Quantitative Surveys and Pitch Assessments – PQS approach.

Sports Turf Consulting Ltd. can complete Performance Quality Standard (PQS) quantitative surveys of the pitch(es) where required to do so.  The measurements taken can include all or a selection of the following tests:

Criteria/Sample Point
Herbage Height (mm)
Bare Soil Area %
Total Ground Cover (%)
Desirable Grass Species (%)
Broad Leaved Weeds (%)
Small Leaved Weeds (%)
Disease Type And Cover (%)
Surface Level (Gradient)
Surface Smoothness (Eveness)
Hardness (Clegg Hammer Reading)
Infiltration Rate (Mm/Hour)
Traction N-M
Soil Nutrient Status pH, P, K (note we normally test more rigorously than standard testing)
Soil Classification (Particle Size Distribution Test)
Ball Bounce
Soil Thatch, Root And Rootzone Depth
Goal Post Vertical And Horizontal Position

Sports Turf Consulting Ltd. has developed a more detailed testing protocol beyond the basic measure of the PQS system to give more helpful and targeted pitch analysis on condition.  This can then be fed into the management approach on the pitch to assist the grounds manager with better insight into pitch condition and more effective and relevant treatments that can be applied in a more cost effective manner.

Which Pitch Assessment should I choose? 

In our experience Qualitative Assessments are usually sufficient to tackle maintenance or condition issues on most pitches drawing on our Principal Consultant, Noel MacKenzie’s extensive experience on sports turf management, except where drainage is a particular problem.  Quantitative Assessments take far more time to complete properly and the costs involved are significant.  We generally prefer to see our clients use their valuable funds directly at front line operations that are badly needed rather than push them at measuring and gathering data unless there is some very obvious reason a Quantitative Approach is clearly required, e.g. to measure water ingress into the soil or compaction.  We are always happy to discuss your needs.

To ensure we provide what is needed please contact us or call 07739 505862 for an informal discussion

Sports Turf Assessment, Planning, Maintenance and Management