Laser grading plays a significant role in the construction of new baseball or softball fields and planning a renovation project. It also plays a role in yearly field maintenance. Taking advantage of this technology will provide numerous benefits to your infields.

What is laser grading?

Laser grading involves using laser technology to grade an infield to the desired surface elevation. Dual slope and cone lasers are the most common lasers used for grading. 

Dual slope lasers:

  • Have two axes that are adjustable
  • Grade in a crown or slope 
  • Typically are used on football and soccer fields
  • If used on baseball and softball fields, they are usually older

Cone lasers:

  • The industry standard for new infield construction
  • Preferred for baseball/softball field grading
  • Grade in a cone
  • Placed at the center of baseball/softball fields, where an invisible cone projects in all directions
  • All three bases are at the same elevation when used

Laser Grading Process

A survey is conducted to determine a field’s existing elevations. The existing elevation information is then used to establish which type of laser should be used. When it’s time to laser grade, the laser is set up and placed at a fixed point on the field.

laser fixed point
Laser set up on a fixed point (new construction)

It then sends a beam to a receiver, mounted to a pole on a box blade normally attached to a tractor. As the blade is pulled or pushed across the field, the receiver will direct the hydraulics to move the box blade up or down, providing an accurate and consistent grade.

Box blade grading the field

What are the benefits of laser grading?

Laser grading creates a smooth playing surface and prevents areas that retain water. More specifically, laser grading increases playability by:

  • Minimizing standing water and cutting down on rain delays.
  • Reducing injuries from bad hops and holes in the field or heavy play areas.
  • Checking the infield slope and correcting any inconsistency.

How often should I get my field laser graded?

It all depends on your budget, but it’s beneficial to laser grade your field once a year to ensure proper slope, .5% for baseball and .4% for softball. Slopes over 1% are not recommended. The water will move too fast across the surface and create issues with infield material and or conditioners migrating. 

It’s especially vital to laser grade if amendment materials were added or if repairs are required to correct dragging practices. Laser grading must be done to prevent irregularities in the grade during construction or a renovation project.