A permanent line marking solution
Recently we published an invitation to members to see a demonstration of a new system that installs a permanent synthetic line. Last Monday I went down to Cobham FC in Surrey and watched the installation along with a number of other Groundsmen.
Based on my own calculations of a 40-week season, a pitch marked out once a week would cost around £160 in paint, and a week's worth of labour plus a depreciated cost of a marking machine over three years of another £100 per season. Taking an average labour cost the sum total of marking the pitch 40 times works out at around £610. Over five years that cost would be £3,050. However many pitches are marked out more often and/or by outside contract so costs could be much higher.
From my professional view working on high maintenance sports venues, line marking is always the last job in pitch presentation. The sheer number of cylinder mower operations physically moves the pitch surface so line markings do move with the direction of the mower travel when completed in advance. However for lower maintenance areas, where mowing is usually with a set of gangs, carried out weekly or even fortnightly, 'snaking' would be unlikely to occur.
The football pitch at Cobham has already had in excess of 100 games and we're just into November, the Groundsman cuts the pitch weekly and because there can be seven or eight games in a week, the markings were having to be topped up in places almost on a daily basis. Grass cover is already thinning considerably through the middl
The Chairman of the club, Chris Wolston states that because of the play load on the Cobham pitch, the material costs alone for marking this one pitch are in excess of £650 per annum.
Certainly on this point all local authorities have major headaches trying to mark out pitches during the week when it's raining. Each season, parks departments, the country over have to deal with numerous complaints from clubs who didn't have adequate lines for their game, because the pitches had been marked out during a wet week, or as often happens the marking out took place before the pitches were mowed!
The manufacturers say that the synthetic material stays bright and any discolouring caused from mud, washes off when it rains, keeping the lines nice and bright. This adds another factor - how many contentious refereeing decisions will be avoided on muddy match days due to the clearly visible lines!
In summary I was impressed with the latest innovation in labour saving devices, it certainly has merit for lower maintenance sports areas, particularly at schools, local authorities and smaller private clubs. I will be visiting Cobham FC again in a month or so time to see how the system is standing up to vigorous wear and shall add my findings then.
If you would like to know more about this system in the meantime, please contact Trevor Symmonds via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org