Advanced level

  Grounds Management Framework - Advanced level

    Grounds Management Framework - Advanced level

    A playing surface that is high quality and meets the needs of top-level recreational sport. It meets the playing needs and expectations of both community and semi-professional players nationwide.
Sport Appropriate surface for

Step 3 to 6

Women’s Super League, Championship and National League


Feeder Leagues to Premier Leagues

Rugby Union

Leagues Levels 3-6

Rugby League

National League 1


The playing surface provides a very good quality experience for all users and can host significant levels of activity. The quality of the surface would be very good and provide a consistent and reliable surface for users to demonstrate their skills.

It is likely that the playing surface would have a good functioning drainage and irrigation system which would make it resilient during periods of adverse weather. It should also be able to sustain periods of high intensity usage without significant deterioration of the surface.

For more details about the playing surface standards please refer to the technical data below.

Benefits Limitations

Exceptional player experience

Very high costs and time

Allow players to maximise their potential and demonstrate their skills

Requires a highly skilled and experience Grounds Manager to manage the ground

Top quality standard of play and spectator experience

Requires a significant number of staff and machinery

Sustain very high levels of activity throughout the year


Playing surface is almost entirely resilient to adverse weather conditions



Grounds Manager, staff or volunteer should demonstrate a well-developed, rounded knowledge of grounds management and be highly skilled in all common playing surface preparation operations and techniques. This would be supported by formal training and/or qualifications that demonstrate both practical and theoretical knowledge of agronomy.

Individuals can produce and implement a full turf management programme, have detailed knowledge of Performance Quality Standards (PQS), understand how to use contractors effectively and be able to oversee health and safety management of the ground. Also, the Ground’s Manager can supervise a team and undertake key management functions.

Although the Grounds Manager may not have the experience to undertake all remedial action they would know where to go for further advice.

For more detailed information about what is required to maintain a playing surface to this standard please refer to the full GMF Skills and Knowledge Matrix

Having appropriate equipment and machinery that is well serviced and fit for purpose is essential to maintaining playing surfaces to the desired standard. The machinery and tool requirements to maintaining a playing surface to the Advanced standard would be quite considerable to reflect the range of operations undertaken by the Grounds Manager.

Careful consideration would be required to understand whether purchasing or leasing a new piece of equipment is more cost effective than either hiring or using a contractor. For any infrequent operations it is often more cost effective to use contractors rather than cover the cost of purchasing and servicing machinery that is rarely used. Contractors can often provide expertise and experience that also provides added value compared to undertaking the works in house.

For information on how contractors can provide additional support please click here

The Grounds Manager is supported with good resources from the management in terms of budget and support. The cost of time and money to prepare a playing surface compared to a good standard playing surface does increase significantly.

It is important to have an individual who has overall responsibility for the maintenance of the playing surface, however due to the amount of work required, they may need to be supported by a team. This could be in form of professionals and / or volunteers so that the workload can be shared.

To be able to maintain a playing surface to an Advanced standard, having an appropriate budget to do so is essential. Providing an inadequate budget could make it very difficult to maintain a playing surface to this standard and potentially see the playing surface quality deteriorate.

It is important that any budget is set in consultation and agreement with the Grounds Manager so that all parties are clear of what is required and achievable. However, budget on its own will not prepare an Advanced level playing surface so ensuring the grounds managers has the right skills and knowledge is critical.


Support from the organisation responsible for maintaining the ground is essential. This support should cover the following areas:

  • Prioritise the playing surface as an asset that has an impact on players, spectators, coaches, and income.
  • The Grounds Manager should be considered a management role that has direct input into the running of the club.
  • The club would support the learning and education of the Grounds Manager to ensure up to date knowledge is retained.
  • Have a clear strategy for use of subcontractors, machinery servicing and replacement.
  • Develop a long-term vison for the ground so plans can be created to achieve desired outcomes.
  • There is a clear and protected budget for playing surface maintenance which is the responsibility of the Grounds Manager.
  • The Grounds Manager’s role should be praised and appreciated for the essential and hard work that is put in place.
  • Understand the limitations of the ground and be clear of the balance between playing surface quality and player / club expectations.
  • Understand your needs as a club and what benefits would be gained from developing a playing surface to the next standard.
  • Undertake a value for money assessment as to the benefits vs costs of achieving the next GMF level.
  • Liaise with the Grounds Manager to understand what investment is required to take the playing surface to the next level.
  • Invest in your Grounds Manager to develop their knowledge and skills.
  • Consider recruitment of additional grounds people to provide additional support and resources.
  • Ensure the available budget is sufficient to meet additional work, materials, and machinery to achieve and sustain the next standard.
  • Ensure ongoing management support and effective working relationship with the Grounds Manager is integral to the operations of the organisation.

To understand more about the next GMF level please click here.

To discuss furtherPlease contact :

title Nicola Collins GMA Programmes Support Lead

Telephone: 07874 869 564 Email:

Nicola joined the Grounds Management Association (GMA) in October 2017.