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Field Playability Guidelines

Field playability has always been a subjective issue and everyone seems to have a different opinion on the matter. To ensure countywide consistency in determining whether or not a field or diamond is fit for play, the Department developed the criteria below. Predicated on safety and maintenance concerns, these guidelines are a product of the efforts of program staff, maintenance personnel and volunteers. 

Athletic Fields

Under any circumstances, the safety of the participants is paramount. Strong consideration must also be given to the potential damage to the turf and the length of time required for the field to recover.

When determining field playability, the following guidelines should be followed:

  • Large areas of standing water on any part of the playing field is just cause for cancellation.
  • Any attempt to remove standing water from small areas should be done by bailing or by a pump.
  • During the course of inspection, any visible  water or sound (squish) while walking is an  indication that the field is unfit for play or practice.
  • Footprints and the collection of water around them is an indication that the field should be closed.

Ball Diamonds

While ball diamonds present a unique challenge, the approach to determining playability is similar to athletic fields.

  • Never attempt to remove water from playing fields using a broom to push the water toward a grassy area.
  • Pushing water from a dirt surface to grass creates a deeper hole causing lips that are unsafe and difficult to remove.
  • Remove standing water by the use of a pump or by bailing with a container.
  • The use of a drying agent such as Turface is permissible. Care should be taken to apply drying agents in a light coat and to keep it out of grassy areas.

For specific information about canceled or postponed games and events in your community, you should contact your local community office.

Revised January 22, 2013

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