What is a 3G pitch?

17th March 2015

3G may be a term you’ve heard being batted around when discussing artificial sports pitches with your friends or colleagues. But, what is it exactly and what makes a 3G pitch?

A 3G, or ’Third Generation’ artificial turf pitch is a surface created using synthetic rubbers and fibres which is manufactured to appear identical to real grass. In this type of turf, the artificial grass blades, or pile is then supported by a thin base layer of sand and an infill of rubber crumb, as well as a shock pad that is inserted underneath to take the force of landing players.

Man kicking football on 3G pitch

Artificial grass has a real history, and the product itself goes back to the 1980’s in which it became extremely popular as an all-weather pitch. Although sports players were overjoyed at the fact that they could play their game in the rain, a lot of them were not too keen on it due to the fact it was very abrasive compared to natural grass. Over the years, artificial grass technology has evolved greatly and what we know now as the fantastic 3G pitches that we play on, have been seriously redeveloped and fine tuned. Now players can enjoy a safe game of football on a realistic looking pitch that responds like real grass, enabling them to perform at their best.

The actual 3G pitch construction really depends on the intended use of it. If the surface is intended for football, then you would have a different structure than you would for rugby, for example. Rugby surfaces are constructed with a shock pad and a pile height of around 60-65mm which is standard if it requires the industry accreditation. Football pitches differ in that there is a bit more flexibility in pile height. This is decided by looking at the intended use of the football pitch at consultation stage and who would be playing on it. You may go for a slightly different pile height for older, skilled players compared to that of younger school children that may use the pitch once a week, for example. Schools and colleges may even go one step further and get their 3G pitch tested to FIFA or World Rugby standards to ensure that it is suitable for its stated usage.

Man kicking rugby ball on 3G artificial pitch

The third generation pitch has created a huge impact on professional sport itself, with an increasing amount of clubs investing in this type of artificial turf. The concept of artificial turf has been somewhat unfavourable in the past, as it was only really used in training grounds and not pitches where matches would take place. This has greatly reversed and now it revered as the must-have pitch to play on. FIFA have also had to adapt their rules to suit the artificial grass revolution and have updated their ’Laws of the Game’ so that 3G pitches can be incorporated into professional football.

This worldwide acceptance from the governing bodies of the sports themselves is indicative of the quality of artificial turf that is available now. Not only this, but many schools and colleges are now aware of its fantastic advantages, both financial and practical, which has led to more and more educational establishments UK wide investing in them.

For more information on 3G pitches or any other sports and play surfaces, give us a call on 01642 713555 or email us on info@stmworld.co.uk.


We understand the design and construction of your pitch/court is vital. We can help you optimise your space with an extensive array of options for size, colour, markings, fencing & lighting and gate positions. We’ll guide you through the process of designing your turf, so that you can visualise your pitch/court before its construction. 

Try our free pitch builder, or give us a call to talk to one of our experts.