A guide to 3G or 4G surfaces.

One of our most frequently asked questions: “What is a 3G versus 4G Pitch?”.

Artificial turf terminology can be confusing, the ‘G’ simply stands for Generation so 3rd generation or 4th generation.


1G and 2G Pitches:

Before the development of 3G surfaces, 1G and 2G pitches were the only systems available.

1G pitch systems use a short-pile non-infilled surface, also known as astroturf, including the introduction of water-based hockey pitches.

2G pitches use a short pile artificial grass combined with sand-infill which are still readily available, but commonly known as sand-based, sand-dressed, or sand-filled hockey pitches.


Evolution of the 3rd Generation Pitch:

 3G, 3G Turf, 3rd Generation, 3G Artificial Pitches, are all the same system but different marketing terminology.

The development of 3G turf systems offers a long-pile grass-like fibre typically 40mm – 60mm which are filled with silica sand and rubber granules infill.

Currently, 3rd Generation Pitches are the only approved artificial turf system approved by FIFA under their field test requirements which can achieve FIFA Quality Pro or FIFA Quality certification.


What about 4G surfaces?

4G, 4G Turf or 4G Pitches are also sometimes also known as mineral infill stabilised, mineral infill filled or non-filled surface systems.

4G technology exists, however it is still being developed, and is yet to be accredited by any sporting body including FIFA.

In April 2024, The Fédération Internationale de football association (FIFA) published their latest FIFA Quality Programme for Football Turf Test Manual Requirements which states:

 “Turf systems that are mineral infill stabilised, mineral infill filled and non-filled”. “These systems are currently under development for football and are not yet approved by FIFA. As a result, fields that feature these systems cannot be awarded FIFA Quality or FIFA Quality Pro certification.”


For further information, or to discuss a possible 3G pitch installation or refurbishment project; please call or Send Us A Message with any queries you have and we would be happy to help.

Our Sports Surfaces

We offer a comprehensive service from conception and planning through to design and construction.

How much does a 3G pitch cost?

This is one of our frequently asked questions, and one which doesn’t have an immediate or straightforward answer.

Each of our projects is unique, meaning there can be no ‘one size fits all’ cost.

There are several factors to consider which will influence the overall 3G pitch cost. If you are resurfacing an existing pitch, the costs will be considerably lower than a new 3G artificial grass pitch installation.

If you are installing a new rugby or football pitch, consider the amount of work and time required to ensure that it has the perfect sub-base. It is a false economy to invest in a new sports pitch carpet if the underlying groundworks will not support the artificial turf surface.

Site Set Up

To start off the project, McArdle will set up a site office, erect Heras fencing, then bring in the heavy machinery to start clearing the site and removing the top soil or the existing carpet. Machinery will then cut, fill, and level the gradient area for the pitch.


Sufficient drainage will need to be installed under the base layer. The amount of drainage will depend on the outcome of the ‘Infiltration rate’, resulting from the Ground Investigation Report carried out on-site to ensure that the pitch will not become waterlogged.

Once the drainage has been installed, a kerb line is set out on the perimeter of the pitch to create a neat boundary edge. We then lay a permeable Geotextile layer, underneath a stone sub-base. On average, a typical full sized 3G sports pitch will receive 6000 tonnes of stone.

Engineered Base

We then lay a 40mm Macadam layer, otherwise known as an engineered base.

You may hear of or be quoted for a cheaper option called a ‘dynamic base’, which is simply made of compressed stone and will not be bound with any other substances; the Macadam layer is omitted from this process. In the past, dynamic bases have been found to be unstable and liable to shift, resulting in lumps and creases in the pitch.

McArdle Sport Tec will only offer engineered bases; although this increases the 3G pitch cost, we pride ourselves on supplying only the highest quality pitches. Installing an engineered base will assure stability and longevity, prolonging the playing hours invested in your artificial sports pitch.

Shock Pad

A shock pad may be required; this will sit on top of the Macadam layer. Rugby, hockey, and sometimes football pitches or MUGAs (multi use games areas) will need a shock pad installed on top of the engineered base construction to comply with RFU, World Rugby Regulation 22, FIH Regulations or FIFA Quality, FIFA Pro pitch requirements. The benefit of installing a shock pad is that it increases impact absorption from the players, which in turn reduces the likelihood of injuries. A shock pad can also help protect the pitch as well as the player, adding to its longevity.

Artificial Carpet

It is vital to consider and research the different types of artificial turf carpets which are available on the market and choose a turf which is appropriate for the requirements of the sports pitch. A cost factor to consider is whether the artificial sports pitch turf you choose will need to meet a certain playing standard, for example FIFA Quality, FIFA Pro, FIH, or Rugby WR Reg 22.

Your choice of artificial turf may also be determined by a specification requirement, such as a specific pile height or weight, which provides a certain carpet quality. The selected artificial turf carpet will have a certain warranty or guarantee period; a better-quality product will have a longer warranty period.

Once the artificial turf has been laid, sand is used to weigh down and stabilise the surface. The introduction of a rubber granule infill is what makes an artificial sports pitch into a 3G pitch, as the rubber improves the playing performance.

Fencing and Lighting

Most sports pitch resurfacing projects or new pitch installations require new fencing or lighting. These extras can add to the costings, especially if a higher specification or longer warranty period is required.

McArdle Sport Tec would be more than happy to supply you with an estimate for your new pitch or resurfacing project free of charge, or if you would like any further information, please email enquire@mcardlesport.co.uk or call us on 01491 827 810.

3G Football Pitch above view with players on pitch
Ive Bridge RFC 3G pitch

Our Sports Surfaces

We offer a comprehensive service from conception and planning through to design and construction.

3G Rugby Pitches – Enhancing the game for all

Can your club benefit from the installation of a 3G World Rugby Reg 22 pitch?

In this blog we explain the benefits and advantages of installing an Artificial Rugby Pitch which could support and nurture rugby player’s development and team progression, whilst creating opportunities for rugby clubs to grow and generate additional revenue.  


Let the pitch do all the work, leaving more time to play:

3G Pitches are approved by World Rugby, and offer fantastic benefits for clubs whichever league you are playing in.

Fed up with cancelled matches due to water-logged, dangerous pitch conditions caused by adverse weather? Artificial Rugby Pitches can be used all year round and in almost any weather.  Strategically designed and permeable infrastructure allows surface water to drain freely through the infill and artificial carpet layers, which is diverted off the pitch playing surface into a drainage outfall.

Consider the addition of LED floodlights which can extend the daily operating hours, particularly during the winters reduced daylight hours; our team can help assist you with the planning application including the approval of floodlighting requirements and restrictions.

North Bristol RFC - Rugby 365 Pitch

Safety First:

McArdle Sport Tec construct Artificial Rugby Pitches to World Rugby Regulations 22, Rugby Football Union, and Rugby Football League standards, depending on your requirements.

We ensure our facilities meet and exceed safety standards, all 3G Rugby Pitches we build incorporate either a prefabricated or insitu shock pad underneath the artificial grass carpet; this shock absorbing layer provides extra head impact protection to players.

The addition to silica sand and rubber granule in-fill, helps reduce abrasiveness and prevents players from getting friction burns when they’re grappling for the ball or diving for a try.

Financing the Future:

Artificial 3G Pitches are durable and able to withstand more intensive hours of usage per week compared to natural grass pitches.

Renting out the facility to other schools and clubs for rugby or football, can raise additional revenue for the club, contributing to any ‘sinking fund’ arrangements and maintenance costs.

3G Pitches do not need time to recover, bookings can be made back-to-back making full use of the facility – Just remember to allocate time for the regular maintenance!

Maintain your investment:

3G pitches will require some maintenance, for instance, you will need to make sure the surface remains permeable through ‘drag brushing’ which evens out the infill and lift the pile of the carpet, this also prolongs the longevity of the carpet and yarn, whilst retaining excellent playing characteristics and surface condition. There is no need to apply damaging pesticides or grass treatments, so it’s a great choice when considering your environmental credentials.

Artificial pitches typically last for 10 to 12 years until they need to be refurbished.  It is advisable to establish a ‘Sinking Fund’ for financial security to cover the cost to replace the redundant carpet when the facility has reached the end of its life.  If you have an artificial sports pitch which needs resurfacing, our team can assist you with a quotation and site survey (if required).

As a responsible contractor, we ensure any redundant carpets removed from our refurbishments are being recycled and do not end up in landfill.

McArdle’s ‘Advantage’:

We construct facilities in accordance with established standards, developed through experience to ensure a quality product. Our goal is to provide high-quality sports facilities which exceed clients’ expectations in terms of build quality, long-term performance, and player comfort.

Don’t just take our word for it, we have a number of accredited artificial rugby pitches around the UK including: Shelford Rugby Club, Chippenham Rugby Club, Dartford RFC and Hornets RFC.

Contact our knowledgeable team to discuss your project further:  enquire@mcardlesport.co.uk.

3G Rugby Pitch
3G Rugby Pitch
Two men playing rugby on 3G Rugby Pitch

FIH Announce Changes to Hockey Turf and
Field Standards

In June 2021, the FÉdÉration Internationale de Hockey (FIH) changed their classification methods for hockey pitches around the world – but what does this mean for you?

Using the old system, hockey pitches were classified into the following categories:

  • Global Elite
  • Global
  • National
  • Community

Global Elite water-based pitches were eligible for International Tier 1 televised hockey (such as the Olympics), whereas Global water-based pitches were eligible for National & Tier 2 International competitions and training.

National (Sand-Dressed) hockey pitches were eligible for National & Local competitions.

Community pitches are generally Sand-Filled hockey surfaces, which are deemed suitable for community and the education sector competitions and training, as well as to 3G multi-sport pitches, which would be primarily designed for large ball sports, using hockey as a secondary sport.

The new system may seem confusing at first, but in fact it is a simple restructure, and make the system easier to understand in comparison to the old one. The new classifications are as follows:

  • Category 1 (Formerly Global Elite)
  • Category 2 (Formerly Global)
  • Category 3 (Formerly National)
  • Category 4 (Formerly Community)
  • Category 5 (Formerly Community)

In terms of the type of pitch assigned to each category, from Categories 1-3 the changes are straightforward, with Cat. 1 and Cat. 2 being water-based, and Cat. 3 being sand dressed – the changes from Global Elite down to National are a straight swap. However, the Community classification has now been split into 2 levels, in the forms of Cat. 4 and Cat. 5. Essentially, a Category 4 pitch must be sand filled at least, whereas Category 5 will be assigned to those that are 3G multi-sport pitches intended for hockey as a secondary sport.

We offer all 5 different kinds of hockey pitches, with our Category 3 sand dressed pitches being a popular choice for our clients.

McArdle Sport Tec recently resurfaced the FIH Global water-based hockey pitches at the University of Birmingham which have now been re-certified as FIH Category 2.  We were delighted to refurbish the two iconic pitches which are being used for the televised 2022 Commonwealth Games hockey competition phase.  For more information on our pitch at the university, you can read our case study here

For more information on our different kinds of hockey pitches we offer, check out the Hockey section of our website here.

All You Need to Know About Multi Use Games Areas

MUGAs, or ‘Multi Use Games Areas’, are a type of sports surface which can be used to accommodate various different sports, such as hockey, 5-a-side football, netball, basketball, and tennis.

Multi Use Games Areas are particularly useful to schools and local sports community clubs since they are versatile, cost-effective, and, perhaps most importantly, they make very efficient use of the space available. The latter can be particularly beneficial to clients who have issues with space, such as schools, who often face the problem of having limited areas designated for sport.

There are 3 primary options when it comes to surface choices for MUGAs, with different surface types being more suited to different sports. These are as follows:

  • Artificial Turf (More suited to hockey and 5-a-side football)
  • Macadam (More suited to netball, basketball, and tennis)
  • Polymeric (More suited to athletics training)

The first option, Artificial Turf, is typically a sand-dressed surface, but it can also be 3G-based. These are becoming increasingly popular choices within the market. Sand-dressed surfaces have a shorter and denser pile as a result of dressing the surface with sand rather than filling it. More advanced than the standard sand-filled turfs, these surfaces are well suited to hockey, lacrosse, and 5-a-side football. On the other hand, 3G turf is an artificial surface with a long pile, infilled with sand and rubber granules to make the pile stand up, making it more suited to large ball sports like football and rugby.

Macadam, or Tarmac, is a very durable surface which is good at responding to adverse weather conditions, meaning it can be played on year-round and with little maintenance. These surfaces are typically placed on playgrounds (making them particularly popular amongst primary schools) and can be coated with different colours to both improve the aesthetic and to place markings down for games. Markings can range from organised sports, such as netball and tennis, to everyday playground games such as hopscotch or snakes and ladders.

The final option, Polymeric surfaces, are good for sports where cushioning is required, such as athletics training – however they are still versatile, and can be used for sports such as netball, 5-a-side football, tennis, basketball, and even wheelchair sports. Their porous rubber crumb surface means that they, like tarmac, can be used in most weather conditions, with the added advantage of being less slippery than tarmac. They can also accommodate running spikes, making them even more suited to being used for athletics tracks.

So, not only are Multi Use Games Areas versatile, cost-effective, and space-efficient, but they can also be tailored to your needs, with custom size, colour, and sports markings options available to be implemented.

Multi Use Games Area
MUGA Pitch
MUGA Pitches

The Importance of Artificial Pitch Maintenance


In this guide, we’ll give you our top tips on how to maintain your pitch, from 3G surfaces used for rugby and football, to high level water-based hockey pitches.

Keeping your facilities well-maintained will make them last longer and shorten the length of time before you’ll need to resurface your artificial pitch! Proper pitch maintenance can also help you avoid player injuries and flooding or drainage issues in poor weather conditions, as well as generally improving your playing surface to allow those using it to play to the best of their ability.

Although the maintenance requirements are lower compared to a natural grass pitch, no pitch is completely maintenance-free, and there are a number of areas to consider if you want it to function for years to come.


Before you even think about installing a new pitch, you should work with your sports pitch consultant and specialist contractor to ensure it is built in the best position to protect it from the elements. Ideally, your pitch would be situated away from any grassed areas that players, spectators and maintenance teams might need to cross before stepping onto it. This will help to reduce the amount of mud, debris and contaminants coming onto the synthetic surface and prolong the playing quality and lifespan of your pitch.

You can also keep the area around the pitch looking clean and tidy by installing tarmac paths leading to the pitch, landscaping with non-shedding trees, and even installing artificial turf warm-up areas so the pitch doesn’t get covered with mud.


One of the most fundamental aspects of maintaining a pitch is checking on it regularly! Small tasks such as keeping the pitch clear of litter, leaves, twigs, mud, and any unwanted growth, i.e. weeds around the edges, can significantly help your pitch in the long term. This will also improve the visual aesthetic of the pitch and prevent it from looking worn down or dirty.


Another crucial part of pitch maintenance is to ensure that the correct footwear is worn. Wearing the wrong shoes can cause damage to the surface of the pitch, and injury to those wearing them. It is advisable to make sure that all who use the pitch are aware of what the appropriate footwear is, and provide signage to remind them of the rules.

For 3G pitches, this is particularly relevant, as flat-soled shoes and boots can increase the rate of infill compaction and flatten the carpet pile (which we want to keep upright). We advise only wearing moulded or screw-in stud football boots on a 3G field.


Relying on a bi-annual pitch maintenance service will not be sufficient to keep your pitch in good condition. Weekly brushing helps to keep the synthetic fibres upright on both hockey pitches and 3G pitches. On 3G pitches especially, this will help to protect the infill from compaction and further damage to the surface. We recommend using a drag brush behind a tractor for the best results. It’s particularly important to brush over heavy traffic areas such as pitch entrances and goals.


It is important to keep an eye on your pitch’s infill to ensure the levels are not too low (with the exception of water-based hockey pitches, which have no infill). Those small rubber pieces you find in 3G artificial pitches, or the silica sand in hockey pitches, are there to support the fibres and keep them upright. However, over time, some infill will leave the pitch in players’ boots or just from flying about during play or in windy conditions, so you should keep an eye on your infill levels whilst brushing to prevent shortages and surface damage.

Have a walk around your sports pitch whenever you get a chance. Take a look to see if the fibres are bending over in places, or if excess infill is gathering around the edges. This could mean that there are uneven or low levels of infill on the pitch. This often happens in areas such as the goal mouth. If you are unable to do this yourself, hiring an expert company to thoroughly inspect the pitch for any tearing or loosening of any seams, and to top up infill levels if they are running low, will contribute massively to the upkeep of the pitch.


The build-up of moss and algae is particularly common in water-based pitches, as naturally the frequent presence of water means that they are far more susceptible to it. This is more likely to occur in cases where the surface suffers from poor airflow, poor sunlight and improper drainage, so it’s a good idea to ensure these needs are met when installing your pitch.

Various treatments are available to eradicate moss and algae, and you might want to consider a deep clean if the pitch becomes dirty over time.


As long as your pitch has a good drainage system, the only weather conditions that could potentially stop you from using it are snow and ice. Heavy snowfall can freeze the fibres and make them brittle, increasing the risk of damage to both the pitch and the players. If this does occur, sometimes the easiest solution is to close the pitch until it thaws and becomes safe to use, but we do appreciate that this can result in cancelled fixtures and bookings, potentially leading to loss of important revenue and customers.

Once the snow has settled on the surface, it is very difficult to move, particularly if it has been left for a day or longer. If it can be moved, then you will have to consider where to stockpile it until it melts, and make sure that the essential rubber or sand infill is not removed in the process!

However, as with many things, prevention is better than a cure: laying Pure Dried Vacuum (PDV) salts on the turf before forecasted snow or ice can help to prevent freezing from happening in the first place, protecting your pitch and reducing your downtime. You should avoid using other products, such as rock salt or grit, because once they dissolve, they could cause contamination and damage to the playing surface. Chemical-based solutions do work, but they can be costly and offer little in the way of residue life.


You should let your teams and players know how important it is to look after a sports pitch! McArdle Sport Tec can install team boot brushes if required to help reduce mud on the pitch. Every pitch we build as standard has an information board erected clearly listing the ‘Dos and Don’ts’, including footwear guidelines, and rules such as no eating & drinking and no dogs on the pitch. This will help ensure that the the pitch is treated with respect.

McArdle Sport Tec recommend that you conduct regular pitch maintenance to ensure that any issues are identified early, prolonging the life of your pitch and keeping the players safe.

Why it’s important to resurface your sports pitch

Once you’ve had a good-quality synthetic turf pitch installed, it will typically last for around a decade, depending on how heavily it’s used.

Resurfacing the pitch after this time is important if you want to maintain a high-quality surface for the smoothest play possible. If you leave it too late, the pitch could become waterlogged and unsafe to play on. To avoid this, it’s best to think about sports pitch resurfacing sooner rather than later.

How can I tell if my pitch needs resurfacing?

You’ll know when your sports pitch has reached the end of its life if you see any of these warning signs:

  • Surface looks worn and shabby
  • Seams are coming loose and splitting apart
  • Drainage is not working properly, leading to waterlogging

So, if it’s been several years since your sports pitch was installed and you notice any of these issues starting to creep up, it’s probably time to think about getting it resurfaced. Don’t wait until it’s on its last legs!

What are the benefits of sports pitch resurfacing?

Resurfacing your artificial turf pitch can benefit your sports club or organisation in many ways. For example:

It’s safer. When your pitch starts to show its age, the surface may get slightly lumpy, or the seams may tear, causing tripping hazards. Excess water on the pitch could also make play unsafe and lead to injury.

It looks smarter. A worn out and scruffy-looking pitch is going to appear less professional than a fresh, brightly coloured new one. Having it resurfaced will therefore make a big impact on the public image of your facility.

Play will be smoother. As the main purpose of your pitch is to allow sports to be played to the highest standard possible, having it resurfaced will ensure ball bounce, roll, and slide are working at optimum condition.

It allows you to incorporate new technological advancements. New designs and technology are always being developed to make artificial sports pitches as realistic and effective as possible. This means that incredible new surface types which could really benefit your club may have become available since you last updated your pitch.

Will this affect my pitch accreditation standards?

Artificial pitches will require re-testing on a periodic basis by an accredited Field Testing and Certification body, ensuring that the facility complies with mandatory governing body standards and that the pitch maintains its original classification.

Providing the pitch passes the required ‘re-tests’, the facility will be accredited once more to a specific governing body and classification, whether this is FIH, FIFA or WR Reg 22 standards. This establishes that the facility is still ‘fit for purpose’ and being managed and maintained to the required standards.

Once your pitch has reached the end of its lifespan, the Field Testing and Certification body will no longer be able to pass your facility. At this point, you will know that it is absolutely essential to arrange a refurbishment of the artificial carpet as soon as possible, and once completed, apply for a new test on the resurfaced pitch to obtain your pitch classification once more.

What can McArdle Sport Tec do?

We’ve delivered many sports pitch resurfacing projects for a range of clients, with great results. For instance, we’ve refurbished hockey pitches at Eton College, reconstructed and extended an existing sand-dressed hockey pitch into a full sized 3G sports pitch for for the Dorothy Hyman Sports Centre in Barnsley, and resurfaced a 3G pitch for Huish Episcopi Academy. For more detail on what we’ve done, read some of our case studies.

Whatever standard of sport you’re playing, we’ve got a first-class pitch to suit your needs. If your sports pitch is looking worse for wear and could benefit from resurfacing, it’s important that you get it sorted as soon as possible to restore it to a high quality. Get in touch with us today for a quote.

Dorothy Hyman Before Sports Pitch Resurfacing

Dorothy Hyman Sports Centre – Before Resurfacing

Dorothy Hyman Sports Pitch Resurfacing

Dorothy Hyman Sports Centre – After Resurfacing

Partners TigerTurf and McArdle Sport Tec are celebrating successive appointment on the consecutive Football Foundation AGP Supplier Framework

The Football Foundation is a charity that channels funding through the Premier League, The FA and Government through Sport England. They invited artificial grass producers, alongside their construction partners, to participate in a manufacturer-led Framework tender, to deliver artificial grass pitches (AGPs) and associated works for clubs, the education sector and local communities across the country. To date, 914 artificial grass football pitches have been installed on the original AGP Supplier Framework.

McArdle Sport Tec partnered with TigerTurf, and were thrilled to be selected on the original Football Foundation Framework in 2015; but were ecstatic to learn we had been successful on the subsequent 2019 Framework tender. The tendering process was challenging and complex, however our comprehensive in-house policies, procedures, accreditations, and qualified skilled members of staff ensured we provided a thorough and successful tender submission.

We have installed numerous FIFA Quality and FIFA Quality Pro artificial turf pitches on and off the Framework and take pride in constructing high quality facilities, transforming clubs, schools and universities across the United Kingdom gaining an exemplary reputation along the way.

Steve Barclay Estimating Director – McArdle Sport Tec quoted:  “Following a great deal of hard work by our team in a demanding and meticulous tendering process, we are thrilled to be appointed onto the new Football Foundation AGP Supplier Framework with our partner TigerTurf.  We take great pride in knowing that the pitches we build will benefit local clubs and communities by providing sporting opportunities for all, resulting in positive effects on physical health, mental health, participation and the overall economy”.


TigerTurf and McArdle Sport Tec Logo

We are delighted to have been selected by the Football Foundation for the next phase of installations. Along with our construction partners, McArdle Sport Tec we have worked on the Football Foundation framework for over seven years and it’s an achievement we are extremely proud of. The Foundation’s commitment to supporting grassroots sport is something mirrored by TigerTurf and McArdle and having the opportunity to provide state of the art facilities to schools, clubs and communities across the country is something we are very honoured to do. We are excited to continue to build the next generation of 3G pitches with McArdle and to continue working alongside the Football Foundation to focus on sustainable, high-performing surfaces for the next generation of sporting stars.”

Paul Langford Managing Director for TigerTurf UK

Athletics tracks: Which is right for you?

We’re specialists in athletics track construction, with installations ranging in size, track system, colour and budget.

We’ve installed numerous tracks since starting out in business – from the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games, to schools and colleges (such as Stowe School and University of Birmingham) across the UK.

When considering installing an athletics track, one question we are most frequently asked is: What is the difference?

For the professionals

For those looking for a track suitable for professional training and competing at a high intensity usage, a pre-fabricated, solid or sandwich track provides a durable, absorbent surface. Each of these tracks are non-porous surfaces, allowing water to be removed by slope and gravitational flow to a surface drain system.

Each non-porous track type has a range of advantages dependent on your requirements and budgets.

Pre-fabricated track

Materials: Pre-fabricated tracks are made with a layer of vulcanised rubber and latex. While a more expensive solution long-term, they provide outstanding performance characteristics, are hard wearing and require less maintenance and repairs.

Usage: Designed for all levels of training and competing and high intensity. Pre-fabricated tracks are the preferred surface for major track and field championships, including the Olympics.

Cost: More expensive than porous, sandwich or solid systems, but require less maintenance and repairs long-term.

Solid track

Materials: Solid tracks are made of specially formulated ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubber granules, with a double polyurethane top coat.

Usage: Designed for high level competition and high intensity usage. Solid tracks have a harder surface consistency, typically preferred by elite level athletes.

Cost: More expensive than porous or sandwich systems however is a more durable surface that requires less maintenance. View more information on pitch cost here.

Sandwich track

Materials: Sandwich tracks are ‘hybrid’ systems, compromised of a rubber granule base, and EPDM layer and sealed with a polyurethane top coat.

Usage: Designed for use at an elite level, suitable for international athletics.

Cost: A lower cost non-porous track option. The EPDM layer can be retexturized numerous times, saving cost in the long-term.

For schools and communities…

When looking for an athletic track suitable for low-level competition and training, such as that in athletics clubs, colleges and schools, porous tracks are the most popular option.  Surfaces are designed so that water will flow through the surface to the underlying sub-base, allowing moisture to filter through. Most athletics tracks will incorporate a porous aggregate sub-base and drainage system.

Porous tracks

Materials: Made with a robust rubber granule base and a polyurethane top-coat, creating a stable and supportive surface.

Usage: Designed for low-level competition and training and most regularly used across athletic clubs, colleges and schools.

Cost: Economical, cost effective option for low-level training and competing.

To find out more about which professional track surface is right for your facility, get in touch or call 01491 827810.


Wet or dry – which type of hockey pitch is right for you?

Choosing which type of hockey pitch is right for your establishment is a big decision to make – here’s our handy guide to help.

A hockey pitch is a valuable asset for your club, school, or college, and a worthwhile investment that provides years of fun and education. It’s also an expensive investment, so it’s best to research which type best fits your needs is before you commit. Do you need your pitch to be used for a variety of sports? what level of hockey are you playing? and what’s your budget? Keeping the answers to these questions in mind will help you narrow down your decision.

Dry pitches

Sand-filled pitches

Sand-filled pitches are great for playing hockey at a club and recreational level and are the most affordable option of the three pitch types we offer. They’re also versatile in that they can also be used for a variety of sports such as tennis, football and netball, making them extremely cost-effective for schools or colleges.

Sand-dressed pitches

Compared with sand-filled pitches, sand-dressed pitches are made of more yarn and less sand, which results in reduced abrasion and the ball rolling faster. This makes them ideal for a higher standard of hockey – although they can also be used for other low-impact sports.

Our most popular sand-dressed pitch is TigerTurf’s EvoPro which meets FIH national standards for hockey. Head to our case studies page to read more about our process of installing these pitches at Eton College and Marlborough College.

Water-based pitches

The top surface specification for hockey is a water-based hockey pitch, as the presence of water reduces friction and improves the speed and consistency of the ball roll, allowing for smooth, fast play. These must be regularly watered to maintain the optimum playing conditions, as the water also provides shock absorption to put less strain on the players joints. For these reasons a water-based hockey pitch is the first choice for professional hockey matches.

Whether you’re looking for an all-round games pitch or a pitch suitable for elite matches, at Mcardle Sport Tec we offer the choices to suit your budget and needs, from top-specification water-based systems, to affordable sand-based pitches. All of our synthetic hockey surfaces are installed on a engineered macadam base with a separate shockpad to increase player comfort and surface longevity, making them a safe and high-quality option.

To find out more about our prices and what we can offer you, get in contact with us with your query and we’d be happy to provide more information.

Finding funding for sports facilities

When you are looking to invest in a 3G sports pitch or refurbish your existing artificial sport pitch, there are numerous schemes available to help you raise the necessary funding.

Applying for funding is often a time-consuming process, so it’s worth investing some time into researching sources fully before making the decision to apply. Here are some ways you can raise money to fund sports facilities.

Major sporting funds

We often recommend that our clients approach some of the large nationwide sports organisations, such as Sport England and the National Lottery, who offer funding programmes that support major sporting events, as well as smaller-scale organisations. Sports Match is a branch of Sport England, and offers small sports grants to community clubs that benefit certain priority groups, including women, ethnic minority groups, and those with disabilities.

Specific sports

Some organisations offer funding with the goal of increasing participating members, and improving the standards of a specific sport, such as the Football Foundation, which is the country’s largest sports charity, providing everything from kit and goalposts to brand new sports pitches or upgrading existing facilities.

If you require a 3G football pitch for your community, the Football Foundation’s Premier League and FA Facilities fund is ideal, as it provides substantial funding to build artificial playing surfaces. The Rugby Football Union’s Rugby 365 programme is also crucial in providing funding for 3G pitches, as in 2015 it pledged to invest £50 million over a four-year period to build 100 artificial grass pitches to benefit the sport.

Smaller funding sources

As well as the main sources of funding for sports in the UK, there are other organisations offering smaller sources of finance, such as:

  • Cash4Clubs
  • Comic relief
  • Bag 4 sport
  • UK sports funding

These are more likely to be appropriate for small community clubs who require modest grants in order for facilities to be upgraded or installed.

Local and regional councils

Local and regional councils have a budget available to dispense to clubs and organisations that are benefiting the local community.

Although budgets differ depending on where you are, they are worth researching as some councils offering free advice services to help you put together a funding bid.

The application process

Each funding source will have different criteria that needs to be met, with most applications requiring your organisation to be not-for-profit, as well as a full project plan for what is needed and what the benefits will be. Certain supporting documents are also often required, such as bank statements. The majority of funding organisations have their own advice documents to help you plan your application and have the highest chance of success.

Private investors, fundraising events and crowd funding

For more expensive projects, as well as applying to the major sporting governing bodies in the UK, funding can also come from private investors, fund raising events, and crowd funding campaigns.

Please find below website links to some funding options which may be suitable:


Big Lottery Fund

Cash 4 Clubs


Coalfields Regeneration Trust

Community Foundations

England Athletics

Peoples Postcode Lottery



To find out more about how our previous clients have funded their 3G pitches, head to our case studies page. Or, to find out how much a 3G pitch costs click here.

Hockey Pitch Construction

Where to Begin

This guide has been designed to assist with answering initial questions we are often asked by clients when they first embark on their hockey pitch construction journey. 

-How much does artificial hockey pitch construction cost?
The cost of building a pitch can vary immensely. Do you require a simple resurfacing of an existing pitch with a new sand-dressed artificial turf, or brand new pitch to be constructed with drainage, sports fencing and a new floodlighting system?

Initially, the existing ground conditions will need to be assessed. If the soil is contaminated, this will need to be removed from site and replaced. The more material that needs to be removed and replaced with suitable base material, the more the overall project will cost. A basic sand-dressed pitch resurface with no lighting or fencing can start at around £150,000, and can be in excess of £1 million for a brand new International standard, water-based pitch with new fencing, team dug outs, LED floodlighting and state-of-the-art irrigation systems.

-What are the first steps in artificial hockey pitch construction?
One you have secured land for the build, you will need to speak with an artificial pitch contractor, or a consultant. They should be able to assist with planning considerations and applications, design options, ground surveys, product specifications and pricing. Should you require funding, England Hockey is a good place to start.

-What type of surface does my club need?
Most international tournaments are played on FIH Global standard water-based surfaces and league games are usually played on FIH National standard sand-dressed pitches. If your club doesn’t host international fixtures then a sand-dressed surface will more than likely be sufficient. Water-based and sand-dressed surfaces are becoming available in a range of colours. Types of hockey surface available.

Do I need to have a shock pad under the artificial turf surface?
Although the FIH doesn’t specifically state that a shock pad is required, the testing criteria make it necessary to pass either ‘Global’ or ‘National’ criteria.
The addition of a shock pad in hockey pitch construction will aid player comfort, as the impact on the knees and back is significantly reduced when a shock pad is present. The most commonly used types shock pad systems are; pre-formed roll out pads, and ‘in-situ’ shock pad. An in-situ pad is a combination of SBR rubber and PU Polyurethane binder which is mixed on-site and laid upon the tarmac pitch base.

-How long should an artificial hockey surface last?
Manufacturers will offer a guarantee for each product in their range, to give an example, TigerTurf UK Ltd’s most popular hockey surface Evo Pro is guaranteed for 12 years, or 30,000 playing hours (2017). Many of the UK manufacturers have similar product guarantee periods, either measured in playing hours, or years. It is vitally important that the surface is maintained to the manufacturers standards for the guarantee to remain valid, artificial turf pitches are not maintenance free.

-Can an artificial hockey pitch be used for other sports?
More and more artificial hockey pitches are becoming multi-sport facilities as hockey clubs and local councils look to maximise the number of hours that the surface can be used for, therefore increasing pitch hire revenue. Artificial turf surfaces can be used for multiple sports, many manufacturers have sand-dressed systems which can be used for 5-a-side football, hockey and tennis. Other sports suited to a sand-dressed surface include volleyball, lacrosse, touch rugby and athletics.

Hockey Pitch