What is a Sand-dressed Pitch?

Sand-dressed artificial turf is a high specification synthetic sports surface designed specifically for fast paced hockey. Unlike sand-filled (astroturf) pitches, the playing surface is only partially filled (usually about two-thirds of the pile height) so the game is played on the sports carpet, not the sand infill.

Sand-dressed systems usually have a pile height of between 18 and 22mm and can be accredited with an FIH certificate: FIH Global certification is mandatory for all surfaces that host international-level competitions and tournaments. FIH National certification is suitable for national and regional hockey competition.

Blakedown's top specification 3G pitch at the Ormiston Shelfield Community Academy near Walsall

Our Services | Sand-dressed

Blakedown Sport & Play is one of the largest and longest established sports pitch construction companies in the UK.

We specialise in synthetic surfaces and have highly skilled and experienced teams which can construct every element of a sand-dressed pitch: from the foundation works to ancillary components such as fencing, floodlighting, spectator stands and access ways, even clubhouses, changing blocks and landscaping to give finishing touches to a project.

Case Study | Dauntsey's School

Having successfully resurfaced their sand-filled pitch, Blakedown were appointed by Dauntsey's School in Wiltshire to construct a new, FIH-certified, sand-dressed hockey pitch measuring 101.5m x 63m.

  • Client: Dauntsey's School
  • Contract Type: JCT with CD
  • Contract Value: £500,000
  • Build Time: 16 weeks

The surface comprised a 12mm shockpad laid onto an Engineered macadam layer, with Edel's LSR/NDR selected as the playing surface, which also accommodates tennis and football. Adjacent to the main pitch, Blakedown also installed a sand-dressed hockey training facility, and fitted both surfaces with a new sports fencing system.

Choosing a Sand-dressed surface

A sand-dressed surface is ideal for hockey clubs, universities, colleges, academies and schools that want to introduce a higher level of performance to their game.

The denser turf fibres of the highest standard sand-dressed systems are known as 'knit-de-knit' - a textiling term meaning they are woven to be 'non-directional', thus the ball rolls more freely over the surface making the game fast and intense. Tennis, football, netball, volleyball, basketball, badminton, and athletics can all be played on a sand-dressed surface.

Sand-dressed multi-use hockey pitch at Priestly College in Warrington

3G pitch construction

Build up of a sand-dressed pitch, from bottom to top: prepared formation and drainage system, textile membrane, stone base, porous 'Engineered' tarmac layer, shockpad, and synthetic turf playing surface
Playing Surface
The pile of the sand-dressed playing surface will usually be between 18mm and 22mm which is partially filled with infill sand to provide the system with support. Sand-dressed sports carpets are available in a large range of colours - which are also used for coloured run-offs and seamed lines for cross-play lines and other sports. The primary sport on the surface is usually lined in white or sometimes yellow.
Sand-dressed pitches will usually be constructed with a shockpad directly beneath the playing surface. The top-specification shockpad for this type of surface is an 'in-situ' pad, formed and directly laid onto the surface in construction. Pre-formed pads are also available.
Engineered layer
Ideally the playing surface and absorption pad would be laid onto an 'Engineered' base: a single or double layer of porous tarmacadam which acts as a stabilising layer. The alternative is a 'Dynamic' base where the top two layers are built directly onto stone.
Stone layer, Textile Membrane, and Soil Formation
The base construction of a sand-dressed pitch comprises a free-draining stone layer, textile membrane, and drainage system installed into prepared soil formation.
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