With a variety of different types of artificial grass systems available on today’s market, end users have a number of factors to consider in order to choose the right 3G pitch for their facility and its needs. Here are three things to consider in order to pick the right one.
1. What is the intended application?
It’s important to have a clear idea of exactly what the surface is going to be used for. Making assumptions on the best surface for the facility, rather than consulting a qualified sports surface contractor can have hugely negative consequences on the lifespan of the pitch itself, the quality of the sport played on it, and ultimately the return on investment.
In the case of 3G pitches, this means considering whether it is going to be used recreationally, such as in a school environment, or if it’s intended for elite level football.
2. The FIFA QUALITY mark
To distinguish the differences in qualities between pitches, FIFA has set a benchmark for pitches to meet – the FIFA QUALITY mark and the FIFA QUALITY PRO mark.
The FIFA QUALITY PRO mark identifies pitches which successfully mimic the high quality performance and safety requirements for professional football, for a typical usage of up to 20 playing hours per weeks. There are also stricter requirements for international match pitches, such as its size.
On the other hand, the FIFA QUALITY mark distinguishes pitches that meet the standards for community and municipal football. This includes being durable, resistant, safe and high-performing in environments where there are 40-60 playing hours per week.
3. What does the end-user really need and expect?
For schools in particular, a new surface may need to be used for a multitude of activities in addition to football, in order to fulfil their curricular obligations or even open up additional revenue streams through community hire. Therefore, versatility and durability can often prove a key factor as to which 3G surface is chosen. There is also an increasing number of schools keen to use their sports pitches as an additional revenue stream by making it available to community sports clubs.
Those looking for a multi-use playing surface should consider a 3G pitch with a monofilament yarn. This is due to the manufacturing process, which enables different profiles and thicknesses to be offered, increasing its resilience. In addition, straight monofilament yarn can be created to reduce ball roll and offer a slower surface for football.
4. What is the reality of usage?
From the very start, it needs to be known how many hours per week the 3G surface will be used for and who by. A pitch that is only used during school hours Monday – Friday is very different to one that is also used by community football clubs during weekday evenings and at weekends, so this needs to be factored into the specification stage of a project to ensure a system is fitted that is well suited to its intended use.