Highfields Sport & Recreation Park - Lawn Solutions Australia

Highfields Sport & Recreation Park

Toowoomba Regional Council

Lindsay Petersen has worked at the Toowoomba Regional Council for 36 years. Lindsay started as a machinery operator, before progressing to foreman for all parks and in 1994 Lindsay was promoted to Sports Field & Irrigation Supervisor. Lindsay’s current role is the Coordinator of Sports Infrastructure Services.

Toowoomba is a highly credited sports region hosting state and regional athletes’ events. Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) area covers some 13,000sqm with a population of over 120,000 people. The region including areas of Millmerran, Clifton, Pittsworth, Yarraman, Crow Nest, Jondaryan and Toowoomba.

A community study into sports and recreation instigated the development of a multi-use sports facility for the Highfields and surrounding areas. Lindsay oversaw the planning of the new grounds which would include facilities for a variety of sports and activities.

Highfields Sport & Recreation Park

Construction commenced with great eagerness in 2015, after an in-depth and assiduous planning period that began back in 2012-13. The project was completed over a 4-year period concluding in 2019. With the total value of the project estimated to be in the vicinity of $30 million dollars. The expansive site covers over 40 hectares and is comprised of 3 rugby union fields, 6 soccer fields, 7 grass netball courts, 8 all weather netball courts, 2 turf wickets and 4 tennis/netball areas. All sporting fields are under lights with the main oval meeting lit to accommodate night cricket matches.

The site also includes playgrounds, walking tracks and a natural environment development area. The facility also houses a modern multi-purpose clubhouse.

The fields are highly used with activities 7 days a week, with training afternoon and night, fixtures midweek as well as weekends, along with general community occupied activities. Some of the sporting events that are catered for include QLD Schools state soccer championships, QLD Schools Regional and State Cross Country finals, Schools Rugby Union Regional Championships and Schools Netball Regional Championships.

Turf Selection

There are 4 different turfgrass varieties that have been installed across the fields. These include 2 TifSport fields, 1 OzTuff couch field, 2 TifTuf Hybrid Bermuda fields and 4 kikuyu fields.

Lindsay made the decision to include TifTuf Hybrid Bermuda into this project in 2017 after attending the AGCSA trade show on the Sunshine Coast and visited the Lawn Solutions Australia trade stand. Lindsay saw TifTuf first-hand and discussed the potential use on high use sports fields. After reveiwing valuable trial data and varietal information it was decided that TifTuf would be a perfect option for the 2 main fields directly adjacent to the clubhouse.

These fields were stolonised in November 2017 by Twin View Turf and were ready for play in February 2019. Training commenced in February on the fields, with the official opening on the 9th of March.

Over the next 3-year period the TifTuf has performed beyond Lindsay’s expectations and the two fields are the preferred option for the sporting clubs. General use of these fields being double that of the other fields, due to being located directly out from the clubhouse. Field usage experienced for June this year being over 153 hours with both daytime and weekend sports, including night games and training.

Observations after 3 years of high wear usage:

  • Harder wearing with no bare patches developing
  • Goal mouths and centre areas have experienced minimal damage
  • No turf replacements due to wear on the TifTuf fields required
  • Less water use – Only 2 cycles of irrigation during summer and no irrigation required during winter
  • Vigorous recovery rate experienced in spring

TifTuf Maintenance Practices:

  • Renovation once a year completed in September/October
  • Aeration routine to alleviate compaction using Weidman and Agri-Vator machines
  • Scarification only when required
  • Top dress as part of renovation
  • Limited fertiliser schedule

Fertiliser applications are applied in December and March, no other nutrition is applied outside of renovation. Lindsay runs the TifTuf fields lean and doesn’t need to promote active vigour for leaf growth, TifTuf just doesn’t need the same amount of fertiliser as the other turfgrass varieties.

PGR (Plant growth Regulator) is used during the growing season and is one of the best tools for turf management. It allows the grass to form a really tight knitted surface, which Lindsay believes is part of the reason why TifTuf is such an awesome grass on the two main sports fields at Highfields.

Overall TifTuf Hybrid Bermuda has played an important role in offering two first class sporting fields at the Highfields Sporting Park, with teams and sporting clubs wanting to always play on the TifTuf fields. Lindsay and his team couldn’t be happier with the result.

“From a council perspective we ensure best practices and TifTuf Hybrid Bermuda fits that bill – low fertiliser inputs, less water requirements and a smooth first-class playing surface for the community,” said Lindsay.

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