In my role as editor of TurfPro I have written several articles pertaining to the costs and efforts required when maintaining sports facilities. One example would be INVESTING IN OUR FACILITIES and another produced during the Covid pandemic in March 2021, was a detailed article on the relative costs of maintaining a grass roots sports club pitch, IDENTIFYING THE TRUE VALUES.
Having spoken to a number of turf professionals, it was felt the best way to estimate annual maintenance costs for each sport was to put together a maintenance calendar and attribute the inputs undertaken and record the time spent for each basic maintenance operation - e.g (grass cutting, feeding, aeration, weed control, fungicide treatments pre and post-match operations and renovations).
We discovered that the minimum number of hours taken to look after a grass roots sports facility was as follows: -
In total, the man hours for one person attributed to carrying out this work throughout a calendar year for a single rugby / football pitch is around 362 hours of manual work. A full end of season renovation cost would be in the region of £6,000, allowing a further £2,000 for the cost of materials and servicing.
As for bowls, undertaking the same formulae, working out the hours invested in time to maintain a bowling green, cutting three times a week and undertaking other relevant work, feeding, scarifying, verticutting and end of season renovations, we came to a figure of 258 hours - with end of season renovations, material and servicing costs being £3,500.
As for cricket we come up with some surprising figures. We broke the work down into five key working areas: - work completed on the square; outfield; auxiliary works; ten-day wicket prep; and renovations, during a typical calendar year.
- Square - this included pre- season rolling activities and maintaining square during the season; 700 hours.
- Outfield - work associated with the outfield, mowing spiking feed etc; 210 hours
- Auxiliary works - Moving covers, site screens, cutting hedges and other works; 105 hours
- Ten-day preparation of wickets – preparing and repairing wickets; 100 hours
- End of season Renovations – cut, scarify, aerate, seed and topdress with loam; 40 hours
- Total hours incurred: 1155
To put that into context, if you divide these hours by 52 (weeks in the year) that would equate to the following amount of hours required each week to maintain each given sport:
- Football and rugby - 6.9 hours a week
- Bowls - 4.9 hours a week
- Cricket - 22 hours a week.
I do not think many clubs realise or even consider the time and efforts that goes into maintaining their facilities.
A recent conversation with Brian Sandalls, senior groundsman at Sussex CCC and promoter of the popular turf care website TurfCareBlog, on this subject got us thinking that we should produce a document that would help clubs to record the amount of time spent at their own facility ,which in turn would enable clubs to equate the total costs for both labour and materials and service costs.
Both TurfPro and Turfcare Blog are keen to help clubs evaluate the time and costs involved in managing their club facilities.
We have decided to start with cricket clubs and have produced a document that will allow clubs to record their time spent working at the ground. We will then roll this out to football, bowls and rugby clubs.
We ideally would like the clubs to use this document for their own use and if applicable, when completed, send a copy for us to complete a nationwide survey on the actual time and costs associated with the maintenance of a cricket club.
The 12-month maintenance task tool for a cricket square is a free resource, which you can use to log your tasks in general as well as having a pitch preparation hour tool, a renovations hours calculator and also a raw material calculator and much more. The aim of this free resource is for clubs to fill in and adjust the formula sheet to suit their available resources and site.
Free Task Tool
The task tool, if completed on a regular basis, could be used to build awareness of your annual inputs required to run a grounds department. There is also a handy machinery log, for you to adjust to your own site and a more basic printable version for those less reliant on technology.
To get your copy of this document you just need to subscribe to TurfPro - which you can do for free by signing up with your email address here.
Or if you're already a regular TurfPro subscriber, email myself directly at email@example.com and I'll send you the free task tool.