How to choose the right sports sand for your playing surface

3rd October 2022
How to choose the right sports sand for your playing surface

If you’ve ever tried to hit a golf ball out of a bunker or hopped, skipped, and jumped into a long-jump pit, you might have noticed the sand under your feet feels different from regular sand. That’s because it is - it’s sand that’s been specifically designed for use in sports and athletics.


While it may make the inside of your trainers a bit gritty, sports sand serves two important purposes: it improves player performance, and it keeps surfaces in good playing condition.

The specialists at M B Wilkes are experts in all types of sand, soil, and gravel. Let us walk you through everything there is to know about sports sand, so you can rest easy knowing that your club’s playing surface is in tip-top shape.


What makes sports sand different?

Because it needs to provide an even, safe surface for sports to be played on, sports sand has key differences from the sand you find on the beach or on a construction site.

Most sports sand goes through a special ‘cleaning’ process that removes clay, silt, dust, and other impurities. This creates a fine, smooth finish that’s perfect for recreational use.

To provide you with a safe surface on which to play your sport, sports sand usually has:

  • Smaller, finer grains for a softer surface
  • Impurities removed by washing
  • Air-filled porosity to provide excellent aeration and drainage
  • Consistent grading

These qualities make the sand super soft to walk on and quick to dry. It also won’t get stuck on your legs or feet as you run over it.


What makes high-quality sports sand?

Not all sand is the same. Different types of sand have different sized grains, mixes, and consistencies, which make certain sands more suited for certain uses than others.

Selecting the correct grade of sand for your playing surface is vitally important. The ‘grade’ of a sand refers to the size of each individual particle, ranging from the smallest and ‘finest’ to largest and ‘sharpest’. Each type has distinctly different qualities that are useful in different applications. You’ll find finer sand has less structure and more malleability, while sharp sand is strong but prone to cracks and lesions.

Sport sand shouldn’t be either too sharp or too fine – you’ll find that a quality, washed silica sports sand will be between grades 30 and 45, placing it somewhere in the middle.

Sand aids in the process of drainage, with each grade of sand having a different effect on the playing surface. For example, fine sand effectively seals up the playing surface if spread over the top layer, meaning you’ll struggle to get your pitch to drain. Sharp sands will destabilise the surface over time, negatively impacting the general makeup of the soil. This makes it even more important to remember the 30 to 45 grading.

In order to get the best results out of your sand spreading, there are steps you should take to make sure you don’t cause unneeded damage to the grass. Post-match, it is recommended that you divot the pitch with a fork, as this aerates the surface after being compacted by players. It also allows you to spread the sand into the top layer of surface soil.

If you’re looking for high-quality sand to use for sporting and recreation, make sure the sand is:

  • Low maintenance, so it’s easy to lay and look after
  • Naturally sourced, as sand from natural sources has fewer contaminants and is therefore of higher quality
  • Washed clean of any unwanted particles for a smooth finish.
  • Made of durable aggregate, so it can withstand even the toughest of sports.


Which sports sand do I need?

The exact type of sand you should choose depends on what you’ll be using it for: sports and recreation, or equestrian use.


Sports sand for recreation

Our imported washed sand is 0-2mm and ideal for surface dressing sports fields, rugby and cricket turfs, golf bunkers, bowling greens, goal mouths, and much more.


Sand for equestrian use

If you need a highly durable sports sand for use in equestrian pursuits, our Silica arena sand is the perfect choice. The sand is between 25 and 63 microns, offering excellent drainage while helping your horse run safely and comfortably.


Specialist sports sand from M B Wilkes

At M B Wilkes, Dorset’s leading supplier of sand and other landscaping supplies, we have a range of top-quality sports sands for you to choose from.

Our naturally-sourced sports sand will create a soft, all-weather playing surface your sports club can rely on. Browse our range of sands to find the right type of you.

Our team has the knowledge and experience to answer any questions you may have. Simply get in touch for help choosing the right sports sand for your playing field.

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