Trends and capacity

Have you determined the trends in your sport/s and the capacity of your existing playing courts, grounds and greens?

 A key component of determining whether to use natural grass or synthetic turf is the demand for the use of the surface. Sporting participation trends fluctuate and are often cyclical in nature. A number o
sports such as soccer and lawn bowls have experienced significant growth in the last five years.

In addition to statewide trends local factors need to be considered, such as:

  • Facility provision
  • Club management
  • Availability of volunteer resources
  • Competing sports and their fixturing
  • Local demographics and
  • Marketing techniques

These all impact on participation rates and need to be considered when determining the demand for your sport.

The capacity of a sports ground is the maximum level of traffic/usage that the site can sustain without resulting in a major decline in the turf and surface condition that renders the site unfit for use.

When assessing the capacity of a sports field, two principle considerations are asset management and player safety.

  • Asset management refers to the condition of the asset or the sports field, and in particular the condition of the turf and surface in relation to the desired condition and intended us.
  • Player safety refers to the standard or quality of the turf and surface that is required to safely undertake a specific activity on the site.

Given sports fields are used for diverse activities and levels of sport, the asset management and player safety standards will vary depending on the activity. It is not appropriate for elite sports standards to also apply to local level sports fields. However, all sports fields should be maintained to a ‘fit for use’ condition to minimise the risk to users.

The factors that directly impact on the capacity of a sports ground include:

Sports ground condition

  • Grass species and quality
  • Surface quality
  • Drainage

Weather conditions

  • Temperature
  • Rainfall

Type of usage/sporting code

  • High impact on surface (e.g football, rugby)
  • Low impact on surface (e.g cricket)

Level of usage

  • No of registered teams
  • Competition games
  • Training schedules

Work has been done in developing benchmarks for sports ground usage using the IPOS – Sports Ground Usage Model. Using data in relation to the number of competition games and training schedules, usage rates are determined on the basis of “person hours per week”.

More information

Demand and capacity: Chapter 4 of the Natural Grass vs. Synthetic Turf Surfaces Study Final Report

Next step

Step 2 - Local environment


The information in this guide was published in 2011 and cannot be relied upon as professional advice concerning the decision as to natural grass v synthetic turf. No assurance is given as to the accuracy of any information contained in this guide and readers should seek more up to date information prior to making a decision. Readers should obtain their own independent and professional advice in relation to their project.