What is a Field of Play Team's role in sportsfield design delivery?

Apr 19|Civil EngineeringBy Lucas Skelton

At SPORTENG, our Field of Play team is made up of a diverse group of industry professionals with experience and qualifications covering a wide range of sports and playing surfaces, from elite to community level.

What is a Field of Play Team? 

Our team includes individuals who have worked in various roles across the industry, such as Consulting Turfgrass Agronomists, Golf Course Superintendents, Construction Project Managers, Local Government Managers, and University and TAFE educators, as well as those with experience in turf grass-related sales.

This multidisciplinary team, with field experience and qualifications in Civil Engineering, Agriculture and Horticultural Sciences, Asset Planning, and Project Management, provides a range of services to our clients, including but not limited to the following:

  • Strategic planning advice on Field of Play projects from major competitions (Commonwealth Games to local community infrastructure projects);
  • Provide technical input into the Field of Play related policy, strategies, guidelines and standards;
  • Undertake Field of Play asset condition assessments across both natural and artificial playing surfaces and sports infrastructure;
  • Produce agronomic management plans and supporting technical specifications to engage contractor services for maintenance and capital works;
  • Produce high-level concept plans and cost estimates to inform feasibility studies and business cases;
  • Undertake independent research projects on behalf of industry suppliers and associations to produce scientific data to inform the application of product/service;
  • Undertake a range of turf grass agronomy assessments, including; performance monitoring, turf health condition, pest and disease management;
  • Liaise with sand suppliers and undertake testing to identify suitable sand products for use in a variety of projects, from golf course and sports field reconstructions;
  • Project manage a variety of turf grass agronomy projects on behalf of the client.

At SPORTENG, we leverage our diverse range of knowledge to provide independent strategic and technical advice, which guides the decision-making and direction of your Field of Play projects. As our team continues to expand across Australia, we become more involved in various projects, increasing our exposure to current and emerging challenges and trends in the industry.

At SPORTENG, we value the idea of “challenging the status quo”, which is why we encourage our clients to share their issues and identify potential solutions that can benefit them in the present and future. Since many projects face similar challenges, we utilise knowledge from our previous successes to tailor solutions that increase the likelihood of success in future projects. For example, our innovative valve box storage design simplifies construction, improves maintenance access, and provides a multi-functional community asset for generations to come.


What is the role of a Field of Play Team when designing sports fields?

Our Field of Play team collaborates with Project Managers and Civil Design Engineers to tailor the design according to our clients' needs. With a diverse range of experiences within our team, we work closely with clients and other stakeholders to identify their recreational needs and select appropriate agronomic components that meet their performance requirements. We carefully consider project budget allocation, including Capital and Operational costs, to ensure the design is cost-effective without sacrificing quality.

Initially, the Field of Play team begins by conducting site investigations to gather data and inform decisions for the project. This includes assessing existing soil, turf grass, water quality, climatic conditions, drainage, and maintenance of vehicle access. This valuable information allows us to create a comprehensive plan tailored to the unique needs of the site and the project.


We use the information gathered during site investigations to inform the concept design, including the natural turf profile. Our team of Turfgrass Agronomists brings significant practical experience to all stages of the Field of Play's life, from feasibility to ongoing maintenance, to guide our recommendations to our clients.

During construction, the Field of Play team provides quality assurance inspections to ensure the design is being executed correctly. Our Turfgrass Agronomists carefully undertake quality checks on materials like sand, gravel, and turf before and during construction, while our civil engineers oversee subgrade preparation and stormwater drainage. This combination of independent agronomy and civil engineering ensures that the project is delivered to specification and any issues are proactively resolved to utilise the combination of experience and technical expertise.

Finally, before the project's handover, the Field of Play team conducts a series of tests to ensure that the field meets the design standards, including turf health, surface levels, traction, infiltration rate, and hardness. Any non-compliance areas are addressed via recommendations to the contractor to complete prior to completion, ensuring the field performs as required by the user group.

Independent research and science-based solutions at the heart of SPORTENG's approach

A core value at SPORTENG is to "challenge the status quo". We tackle our clients' challenges head-on and strive to find innovative solutions to evolve the way fields are designed, constructed, and played on.

Under the guidance of Senior Turfgrass Agronomist John Neylan, we’re proud to be trusted by industry suppliers and associations to conduct independent research trials to gather evidence-based insights.

SPORTENG itself has commissioned its own research projects investigating:

  • The potential use of recycled glass as a substitute for the finite resource of sand - Click here to learn more about this project.
  • Sand selection and sand profile research to optimise water storage and reduce water demand.
  • More sustainable sand amendments, such as compost, as a substitute for coir fibre and peat moss.

These projects are excellent examples of our Field of Play Team’s efforts in educating the turf industry in ways of reducing its environmental impact.


With the Tahoma 31 project, our Agronomy team is collaborating with ASTMA in testing new couch grass cultivars that have improved drought tolerance. Our aim is to tackle the challenges brought on by climate change and water restrictions. These new cultivars are not only more resilient and drought-resistant, but they also require minimal water, making them ideal for playing surfaces. Additionally, they have proven to perform well even in prolonged flooding situations, showing great promise for future use.

In conclusion, the Field of Play Team at SPORTENG plays an essential role in delivering quality sports field design that meets clients' needs. Our team's independence and focus on finding the best solution for each project, combined with our commitment to sustainability and environmental conservation, make SPORTENG a standout in the industry.

Join us in our commitment to delivering quality sports field design. Whether you are an architect, a sports facility manager, a city planner or a sports enthusiast, you can make a difference by choosing a team that puts the environment first.
Contact SPORTENG’s Field of Play Team today to learn more about how we can help you create a Field of Play that is both functional and environmentally responsible.

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