Hockey on Artificial Turf

Artificial turf has been the primary playing surface for competitive hockey for more than forty years: at international, national, and club level. There is a wide choice of turf systems available, from the top-specification water-based system, used at the Olympics and Hockey World Cup, to sand-based systems suitable for a wide variety of additional sports and applications.

Artificial turf hockey pitches can be accredited with International Hockey Federation (FIH) certification and can be tested to FIH International, FIH National Class 1, and FIH National Class 2 standards.

Our Services | Hockey

Blakedown Sport & Play is one of the country’s leading hockey pitch construction contractors. We offer a range of high specification surfaces suited to top-level competitive hockey through to recreational surfaces for schools and leisure centres. Our in-house design and build service can be tailored to meet clients' requirements for any type of hockey facility.

We are Sport England framework contractors for hockey pitch construction, principal contractor members of the industry body SAPCA, and a leading contractor for pitches built for professional hockey clubs requiring FIH or England Hockey certification.

Hockey pitch construction by Blakedown

Case Study | Magdalen College School

The state-of-the-art sand-dressed pitch at Magdalen College School in Oxford, designed and built by Blakedown Sport & Play, was surfaced with an Edel Grass Triple T monofilament turf and meets FIH Global and England Hockey Category 1 performance standards.

  • Client: Magdalen College School
  • Contract Value: £560,000
  • Build Time: 20 weeks

The playing surface was laid onto an Engineered base of double-layer macadam, with 15mm in-situ shockpad, and seamed lines for cross-play hockey training and football as well as the main hockey layout. The construction also included twinbar fencing, goal recesses, a tarmac spectator area, modular changing block, and tree planting and landscaping around site.

Sand-dressed hockey pitch at Magdalen College School, Oxford

Sand-dressed hockey pitch at Magdalen College School, Oxford

Installing the goal 'D' for cross-play hockey

Installing the goal 'D' for cross-play hockey

Installing hockey pitch 23-metre line

Installing the 23-metre line

Hockey pitch with changing rooms construction

The completed pitch with new changing rooms to the left

Surface choices for hockey

Sand-based and water-based artificial turf systems represent the best and most popular surfaces for hockey at both professional and amateur levels.

A sand-dressed system is a high specification artificial turf surface designed for fast-paced hockey. The pile height of the turf will usually be between 18mm and 22mm, and the turf is only partially filled with sand. This system is popular with professional and amateur hockey clubs, universities, sports colleges, and schools. A sand-dressed hockey pitch can also be accredited with an FIH certificate marking its quality and performance characteristics.

Tennis, basketball, football, netball, and volleyball can also be played on a sand-dressed surface.
A sand-filled system is the technical term for what is often called ‘astroturf.’ This is an artificial turf surface with a pile height of between 20mm and 26mm which is filled almost or completely to the top with infill sand.

Sand-filled systems are no longer the preferred surface for competitive or high-level hockey games, but do offer a robust and reliable surface for hockey at a recreational level and a variety of other sports
A water-based system is also an artificial turf surface but is not ‘in-filled’ with sand. Instead, this system is sprayed with water before play to lubricate the turf fibres. A water-based pitch is the top-specification sports surface for hockey, it is used at all international hockey tournaments, and is popular with professional hockey clubs and universities.

A water-based hockey pitch can be accredited with an FIH Global certificate marking its suitability for top-level hockey.
Sand-dressed systems are high specification hockey surfaces that offer a rapid rate of play. Sand-dressed pitches are popular with universities, academies, sports colleges, and schools
Sand-filled or astroturf surfaces are best suited to recreational hockey or as multi-sports facilities
Water-based hockey pitches, used at the Olympics, are popular with professional hockey clubs and universities

3G Hockey Pitches

3G artificial turf systems use an infill of rubber crumb as the support material, with only a thin layer of sand at the base of the pile. 3G systems with a shorter pile length of 40mm are suitable for hockey and replicate well the play characteristics of a grass pitch.

A 3G system might be the preferred choice of surface for a new hockey facility if the pitch is to be used at a recreational level, or if the facility must accommodate football as one of the primary sports, or where there is a specific intention to replicate the attributes of a grass pitch.

Examples: Glossopdale College | Toynbee School | ESSA Academy

Blakedown's 3G artificial turf hockey pitch at Glossopdale Community College in Derbyshire

Polymeric Hockey Pitches

A polymeric sports surface is comprised of small, tightly packed granules of rubber held together by a binding material. Polymeric surfaces have natural shock absorption qualities and are easy to maintain making them a popular choice for multi-use games areas, netball, tennis and basketball courts, and junior football pitches. Recreational hockey can also be played on this surface which offers satisfactory ball roll and a quick pace of play.

Example: Gladesmore Community School

Blakedown's polymeric hockey MUGA at Gladesmore Community School in north London
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