You may have heard of the concept of a 3G pitch in the context of a sports surface or a five-a-side football field, but not be aware of what the term means. Interestingly, 3G pitches are becoming popular around the country everywhere from schools and sports clubs to leisure centres and even professional football stadiums. So let’s take a look at what a 3G pitch is, and why it is used.
3G stands for ‘Third Generation’ and it is an artificial playing surface that mimics natural grass. You might be more aware of the term ‘AstroTurf’ – 3G is just the most up-to-date and advanced version of this playing surface.
What is 3G made from?
3G pitches are effectively a carpet-like surface with pile (artificial blades of grass) supported by a layer of sand and an infill of rubber crumb. The height of the pile depends on what the surface is going to be used for. A shorter pile is suitable for sports like hockey, while a longer pile can be used for rugby. Football can be played on any pile length depending on preference.
What is it used for?
3G pitches are now common throughout the UK. They are used by schools, sports clubs and leisure centres as a MUGA surface, allowing for a full range of activities to be played. Interestingly, however, the Football League voted in 2014 to permit the use of 3G pitches in stadiums in professional football in the UK. A number of clubs, including Sutton United now use a 3G pitch.
One of the major advantages a 3G pitch over real grass is that it is an all-weather surface that does not become waterlogged. It also does not suffer from the same level of wear and tear as real grass, making the pitch more consistent.