Basic Level

  Grounds Management Framework - Basic level

    Grounds Management Framework - Basic level

    A playing surface that is safe for recreational sport and meets the minimum playing needs and expectations of community players nationwide.
Sport Appropriate surface for


Women’s Regional Leagues


Casual cricket and friendlies

Rugby Union

League Levels 9-12

Rugby League

Regional Leagues


The playing surface is of a quality that provides a safe environment for players. It provides an acceptable level of playability however the player experience will be limited as the quality of the surface and may restrict the range of skills possible. It is also likely to perform reasonably well during good weather however it is likely that the playing surface would deteriorate during extended periods of high intensity usage or inclement weather.

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

Benefits Limitations

Provide a safe playing surface for users

Player experience could be poor

Low maintenance costs and time commitments

Playing surface could deteriorate quickly during periods of adverse weather conditions.


Likely to have a relatively high number of cancellations.


Only able to sustain a limited amount of play before surface becomes poor


May impact on player retention and recruitment due to relatively poor player experience


Grounds Manager, staff or volunteer should demonstrate the knowledge to safely prepare a playing surface and undertake basic maintenance operations. They would have the ability to undertake a basic visual assessment and repairs to the playing surface.

The Grounds Manager, staff or volunteer would have a clear understanding of the role and career pathway and an awareness of different sources of support available.

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 quality playing surfaces. The machinery list would be relatively small to maintain a playing surface to Basic standard and would also include a lot of hand tools.

For the 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

Limited resources (time and budget) are available for playing surface maintenance so this in turn limits the quality of playing surface that can be prepared. However small improvements in the resources and capabilities of the Grounds Manager can have a significant impact on the quality of playing surface that can be prepared.

Although it is important to have an individual who has overall responsibility for the maintenance of the playing surface, it is possible to have a team of people to assist with the maintenance to help share the load. This model works in both volunteer and professional settings.

Budgets are often tight when preparing playing surfaces to a Basic standard, so understanding the minimum requirements to maintain a playing surface to the Basic level is essential. At this level small changes in budget can have a significant impact on the quality of the playing surface. A decrease can dramatically reduce the quality of the playing surface, while conversely a small budget increase, in the hands of a knowledgeable grounds manager, can make a significant improvement to the quality of the playing surface.

Support from the organisation responsible for 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.
  • Work with the Grounds Manager, coaches, and players to prevent damage from overuse and poor weather conditions.
  • Work with and invest in your Grounds Manager by supporting them to upskill and acquire more knowledge.
  • Provide a ring-fenced budget for grounds maintenance.
  • Invest in your ground to ensure that appropriate materials and tools are made available to maintain a safe playing surface.
  • Promote and thank you Grounds Manager for the job that they do, as often they are hugely underappreciated.
  • Understand your playing surface and what areas need to be improved to progress to the next level.
  • Obtain a playing surface report to identify the areas of improvement.
  • Invest in your grounds people to develop their knowledge and skills as this alone will have a significant impact on the quality of the playing surfaces.
  • Invest in the right materials to allow your Grounds Manager to undertake appropriate repairs to your playing surface.
  • Support your Grounds Manager to understand what he needs in terms of support and resources to prepare a playing surface to meet your ambitions.
  • Prioritise the playing surface as an asset that has an impact on players, spectators, coaches, and income.

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.