Whyalla College Sports Fields

Project Details

  • WORK COMPLETEDMay to July 2021
  • CLIENTWhyalla Secondary College – Outside Ideas
  • TURF VARIETYTifTuf Hybrid Bermuda


Whyalla Secondary College is the latest state of the art $100 million secondary school in Australia, accommodating 1500 students between the years 7 through 12.

AusGAP certified turf producer Sunnyside Instant Lawn had the privilege of supplying 43,000m2 of TifTuf to the super school including two soccer pitches, one AFL oval and school surrounds. This meant that Sunnyside had the colossal task of sending two b-double trucks with 60 pallets per day for 14 days.

Why TifTuf?

The initial turf specification for this project was kikuyu and after becoming aware of the project requirements Sunnyside owner, Andrew Rowett, connected with Sarah Constructions to highlight the opportunity to utilise a new sports turf variety with a higher drought tolerance – TifTuf Hybrid Bermuda.

“The drought tolerance was something they were really interested in, and the fact that TifTuf was voted the best playable sports field in the US last year, that was something that really interested them. Whyalla is probably one of the driest towns in South Australia, it is pretty barren and doesn’t get a lot of rainfall, they rely on Murray River water and the irrigation systems for the sports fields are from recycled water. So, water is a big issue for the town of Whyalla, and TifTuf’s drought tolerance became a big selling point, and eventually were able to get the Department of Education to change the specification from kikuyu to TifTuf.” – Andrew Rowett, Sunnyside Instant Lawn

The turf farm also offered the opportunity to see both Kikuyu and TifTuf side by side for comparison, giving Terry Kildea the confidence to move forward with the specification.

Water usage numbers were calculated by Terry Kildea on a recommendation from Sunnyside. This information was shared with the South Australian Education Department, emphasising the benefit of this environmentally sustainable water saving option.

Sunnyside travelled to Whyalla fortnightly keeping a close eye on the establishment, noting incredibly fast root connection considering soil temperatures dropping below 11 degrees for some parts of the project. Communication was strong between Outside Ideas and Sarah Constructions whilst monitoring the turf establishment and thereafter.


The TifTuf ovals are now the heart of the school with students from years 7 to 12 bringing it to life every day of the week. The community have also engaged with the school to access seasonal sporting events.

Sunnyside shared lawn care, technical data and research with Outside Ideas and keep in contact with both the school and the project team regarding best maintenance practices for TifTuf.

“The results are unreal, it’s had its first couple of months of establishment right in the middle of winter, and we have photos of it rooting up to 100mm just a few months later which I’m really happy with considering it was right in the middle of winter. The TifTuf has been performing in the cold, frost and only 7mm of rain from installation to July so not much rainfall. The Department of Education and Sarah Constructions are really happy with it.” – Andrew Rowett, Sunnyside Instant Lawn