GUELPH, ONTARIO—When setting out to build the next great playing field professionals strive to create a masterpiece that will be used for generations. Construction standards have been a missing link in the creation of the most effective and highly functional sports fields.

Commenting on the problem the sports turf industry has faced, Michael Bladon, former Grounds Superintendent at the University of Guelph, says, “Specifications could have saved grounds maintenance personnel and others thousands of dollars in corrective action when poor construction methods were used, partly because pertinent information was not readily available.” 

The Sports Turf Association has moved to solve this issue through the creation of construction specifications in The Athletic Field Construction Manual. “The value of this manual to the industry is in the recognition of the need for a comprehensive set of specifications which, if followed or used, ensure that athletic fields are built correctly the first time,” says Bladon. 

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Landscape Architect Lawrence Stasiuk of the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects, adds, “Competitive athletes demand high quality and safe playing surfaces.  The Athletic Field Construction Manual provides standards for five categories of field construction that will help designers determine the appropriate field design for the intended level of use and competition.”

This classification system is primarily based on the root zone material and the provision of drainage, irrigation and lights. The resulting specifications for each category of field are based on the best available scientific information.

The Sports Turf Association has made the manual available through its website at: www.sportsturfassociation.com. Bladon encourages “any municipality, private enterprise, consultants, landscape architects and any involved in maintenance budgets to make use of this invaluable tool.”

SportsField Management