HORT20060 Sportsturf Construction

Academic Year 2021/2022

Topics covered include the following: Primary, secondary and tertiary drainage systems. Aims, benefits and functions of drainage systems. Drainage requirements for different sports facilities and amenity areas including attenuation; Hooghoudt's equation and modified Hooghoudt's equation to determine drainage intensity. Sand and gravel specification used in construction including particle size diameter and shape and chemical attributes. Percolation, bridging and perched water tables and their significance for moisture retention in sand profiles. Construction protocols for basic, sand carpet, suspended water and engineered specification natural turf pitches. Construction of artificial turf pitches, golf course construction including specifications for all the relevant areas; golf greens, tees, fairways, roughs, and bunkers for different locations; Bowling green and tennis court construction. Water sources including primary/secondary/tertiary water; irrigation components and requirements for football pitches and golf courses; Sprinkler spacing, performance and efficiency. Identification and selection of different turf genera for different sportsturf situations, turfgrass cultivars, qualities and suitability, seed mixtures and mixture principles, seed blends; regenerating perennial ryegrass, tetraploid ryegrass, seed and sod establishment methods. Commercial turf re-inforcement systems and methods. The biological effects of shading on turfgrass growth and development. The significance of and use of supplementary lighting. Seed sowing and establishment together with grow-in difficulties following construction. Students will be introduced to critical turf management practices and given an annual calendar detailing them month by month.
There will be one continuous assessment on an unspecified date towards the end of the seven week trimester. A written examination in this module will take place during the trimester break.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students will be able to:- Design a drainage system for different sports and landscape scenarios. Illustrate and describe how sports pitches are constructed to different specifications from basic constructions through to engineered systems.- Similarly, learn how to construct golf putting greens, golf tees, different types of golf bunkers, bowling greens and turf tennis courts.- Explain the effect and importance of sand particle size and shape on bridging, water percolation and surface drainage of golf greens and engineered football pitches and evaluate the significance of rootzone selection on drainage characteristics. Describe the impact of soil texture on natural drainage characteristics as well as on the quality of different natural turf playing conditions- Select suitable turfgrass genera and species for sport and amenity uses including shaded areas and evaluate the principles governing seed mixtures. - Evaluate the use of supplementary lighting in sportsturf and elucidate the biological effects of shade on turfgrass growth. Discuss suitable water sources for turf irrigation and its application via dedicated irrigation systems and be cognizant of irrigation distribution efficiency. Learn about key management requirements for golf greens, tees, fairways, football pitches and bowling greens. Prepare a basic year round monthly turf management protocol. Learn how to identify grasses and be mindful of protecting native biodiversity in sports turf facilities.

Indicative Module Content:

Primary, secondary and tertiary drainage systems for Sportsturf including golf courses. Artificial and natural pitches for different situations; soil and USGA specification golf greens. Advanced or engineered pitch construction systems. Sands in sportsturf, including particle size and shape, bridging, percolation and perched water tables. Agrostis, Festuca, Lolium and Poa grasses used in sportsturf and their identification both as seed and grass plants. Choosing turfgrass mixtures and blends, turf establishment methods. The use and role of artificial lighting on turf growth; also the effects of shade on turfgrass growth. Modern lighting methods, systems, photoperiod and management. Irrigation water quality, sources, storage and requirements and the potential for using secondary/tertiary water. Possible problems arising during and following construction. Annual maintenance protocol for sports turf.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Case based learning, lectures and active/task-based learning 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Examination: Written examination 1 hour End of Trimester Exam No Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Continuous Assessment: Continuous assessment assignments Unspecified n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Post assessment feedback individually available directly or via email to students

Natural Turf for Sport and Amenity: Science and Practice – W.A. Adams and R.J. Gibbs.
Grass tennis Courts – J. Perris. (STRI)
Bowling Greens – R.D.C. Evans (STRI)
Winter Games Pitches – R.D.C. Evans (STRI)
Irrigation Design and Drainage – Edward Pira.
Turfgrass Science and Culture - J.B. Beard

It is recommended that students become familiar with the following turfgrass organisations and their publications/journals:

Golf Course Superintendents Association of Ireland. (GCSAI)
Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA)
British and International Golf and Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA)
Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG)
Sports turf Research Institute (STRI)
Name Role
Mr Conor Aherne Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Caroline Elliott-Kingston Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Noeleen Smyth Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Mr Greg Whately Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Caroline Elliott-Kingston Tutor