Pitch construction at Hazelwood

10 February 2017

Background

Prior to Hazelwood being our new home we all know that there was a nine hole golf course and driving range here. To enable cost effectiveness to re model the site without taking away soils and bringing in new soils which is very expensive then making use of existing material is the key.

As a result there are four types of grass pitch which in some ways have to be looked after in different ways. Making use of all the existing material on site.

Pitch 1

Pitch 1 as we know is used for the professional part of the club to train on, The Wild Geese to play matches on and other club representative fixtures. There is a comprehensive drainage system 350mm beneath the pitch surface, covering the drainage system there is a 100mm gravel layer. From the gravel layer to the surface is a 300mm profile of special sports sand, the upper 100mm having fibre included as a reinforcement.

This construction is similar to what you expect at a Championship Football Club and allows more playing time. It will drain at up to 400mm per hour therefore never floods and because of the fibre inclusion retains a grass cover throughout the season. The grass roots entwine and tangle around the fibres so that it becomes much harder to pull out, divot etc. However as a result of the drainage capabilities there is a greater need for water and that is why you will see it being watered on a much more regular basis than the other pitches.

Pitch 3

Pitch 3 has the exact same drainage system as pitch 1 including the 100mm gravel layer, above the gravel layer is where the difference begins. The onsite soil and some imported soil make up the 300mm profile. At 1M centres running lengthways up and down the pitch there are sand and gravel slits that connect to the underlying gravel layer so that water can be removed from the playing surface.

The drainage rates are significantly lower however, at the last test conducted in the summer of 2015 pitch 3 was draining at an average of 30mm per hour and therefore is prone to water logging. In the summer of 2016 we added some gravel bands into the surface of the pitch which has greater enhanced the drainage rates but to this date there have been no tests so we are unaware of the exact rates now but know that it is significantly better.

Pitches 4 and 5

Pitches 4,5 and the adjacent youth rugby area have a drainage system but not to the same standard as pitches 1 and 3. There are pipe drains but no gravel layer, the profile is slightly deeper as a result of the gravel not being present and is made up of original and imported soil.

The whole area has the same sand slits as pitch 3 and for some reason drains better than pitch 3 did prior to the inclusion of the gravel bands.

The Paddock

The Paddock is made entirely of the original on site soil, there are no drains at all, there is no irrigation therefore its wet in the winter and dry in the summer resulting in a poorer playing surface for most of the year. i do think though that during the months of September and October the paddock offers a good alternative to other areas and if we are lucky with the weather as we were in autumn 2016 then this can last even longer.

Finally . . .

Pitches 1,2 and 3 all drain into a soak away which is over near to the Cemetery and pitches 4,5 and the youth area drain into the Irrigation lake adjacent to the paddock.

Pitches 1,3,4,5 and the youth area are all fully irrigated by an Automatic Irrigation System that draws its water from the Irrigation Lake. We can water the whole site overnight or some areas more than once if required. There is a computer that runs the system and we can take control via modem if required. Should the lake be low on water then it is topped up from a bore hole which is located by the entrance to Hazelwood.