Observation and monitoring

A key component of the groundsman’s armoury is observation. It is an essential skill for the volunteer as well as the professional groundsman. Looking at the grass playing surface and assessing what it tells you about the potential playing characteristics and the health of the grass plant will enable decisions to be made about the management and maintenance of a pitch. 

“A key component of the groundsman’s armoury is observation”

When assessing a pitch you are looking for specific characteristics that will give you an idea as to how the grass plant and the pitch are performing. The main characteristics that you are looking for are:

  • How much grass coverage is there?
  • What colour is the grass? is it a healthy green?
  • How much weed growth is there?
  • How even is the playing surface?
  • Are there areas showing signs of high wear?
  • Has the pitch been damaged? Do divots need replacing/repairing
  • How well does the pitch drain? Is there standing water after rainfall?

Further detail on what to look for and test can be found in the Tasks and Equipment section for each sport, however, a summary of the key observational tasks is provide below:

  • Pre-match inspections to assess if safe and ready for play
  • Post-match assessments to decide what remedial work needs to be done so that the pitch is ready for the next match.
  • Maintenance assessment: This occurs on a regular basis to establish the pitch quality and identify what work is required over the short, medium and long term to improve and maintain the pitch quality.
  • Pitch Quality Assessment: This is a formal and objective assessment with specific measurements being taken to demonstrate whether a pitch complies with the the standard required for the level of competition and will give an indication of what areas require improvement. To carry out a formal PQS a range of equipment and training is needed and most clubs will need to obtain the services of an experienced groundsman, pitch advisor or sports turf agronomist.