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Bowls In Focus : August September 2010
46 Bowls In Focus Tiff Greenkeepers Head North The 4th annual Gudgy’s Tiff Tour was held in north- ern NSW last month with 17 greenkeepers from many parts of Victoria flying out of Melbourne headed for Coolangatta. As in previous years the aim of the tour was to visit clubs with Tiftdwarf greens, talk to their greenkeepers and hopefully learn more about this relatively new type of grass for a lot of Victorian greenies. After landing we headed straight for Tugun Bowling Club just north of Coolangatta, where former Queen- sland Greenkeepers Association president Graham Cooper was waiting to show us over his three excellent tiff greens. The thing we noticed at Tugun, and most of the clubs we visited, was that the greens all have some sort of disease, from spring dead spot to the much more common White (Helmo) Helminthosporium. Cooper explained that a lot of greenkeepers are using organics, carbon and beneficial microbes to combat disease and do mostly foliar feeds. This time of year all the greens are cut at a height of the thickness of a five-cent coin and being cut six times a week. We then headed south into NSW where our next stop was Cabarita Beach and we met Dave Perez who took us around his three tiff greens. He also uses little fungicides and relies mostly on his foliar feeds, which include calcium and beneficial microbes. Dave has sprayed Banner Fungicide only once in the past three years, adding that he believes that greens cut higher than 2mm (20c) are more suscep- tible to wear and his greens run at 16-seconds all year round. With the rain starting to come down hard we con- tinued south, through Broadwater (home of Australia’s first Tiftdwarf green) and on to Evans Head. Next morn- ing we met Tony Morgan and his young assistant Josh at the local bowls club for a look over their tiff greens. Like the other greens inspected so far on the tour, they had white helmo disease and also signs of patch disease, which normally appear late May. Tony, like oth- er greenkeepers in the region, isn’t overly concerned with disease as long as the greens roll okay. With Tony and Josh also joining us, we headed in- land through sugar cane territory where we called in to Woodburn Bowls Club. This club has no greenkeeper but plenty of Ground Pearl - little sap-sucking insects that devastate the greens and can’t be killed. Fumiga- tion is the only option there. It was then a short stop in at Coraki Bowling Club, which is also looked after by its members. Their green was battling with severe spring dead spot. The tour rolled on to Lismore with a stop at Lismore Workers Bowls Club where Bob Everingham invited us to look over his three 13-year-old tiff greens. We also stopped in at the Lismore City club and then on to South Lismore for lunch and a look at another three excellent tiff greens. Again the greens all had white helmo disease, which appears now to be standard in this region. It was good to chat with greenkeeper Patrick about managing the greens, and then it was back through the pouring rain northward bound for Tweed Heads. Day three saw our first stop at the massive Tweed Heads club where there are four tiff greens and an indoor carpet green. This fantastic venue holds many huge tournaments throughout the year and although we didn’t meet up with greenkeeper John Whipper, his assistant Damian was happy to show us around. Our final stop before heading for the airport was at the historic Coolangatta club where greenkeeper Mark showed us over his three tiff greens. The Gold Coast this time of year is very busy as a lot of bowlers from down south travel north for the better weather. Most clubs have full greens all day for 6-7 days a week but show little sign of wear and tear. The warmer weather is ideal for Tiftdwarf greens to be brilliant all year round. By managing a few things differently, Victorian greenies can have success with them; it’s just a matter of sharing information and help- ing each other out. - Warren Maynard. VGA Vice President. Turf Talk Turf Talk Victorian Greenkeepers Association Titles And Duties It is now over ten years since I published an ar ticle titled: ‘What Is The Greens Director’s Role - Should the title be changed?’ Since that time there have been many changes, particularly with more synthetic surfaces, plus frequent inquiries to the Bowls Victoria Greens Committee for information on the duties of Greens Directors. The time has arrived for an update of this article including an effort to change this title, which is a relic from the early days of bowls in this country. Until the late 1950’s the Greens Director was the person who had the basic knowledge needed at that time to direct an employee or employees in the maintenance of bowling greens. In many clubs in the early days they were employed as a labourer or gardener as at that time there were no formal greenkeeping courses or apprenticeships. Despite this lack of training there were many greenkeepers who maintained excellent playing surfaces for those times. In particular the late Alan Vance at Middle Park, known as the ‘Prince of Greenkeepers’ who was ahead of his time. They were continually striving for more knowledge and this was the period when cultivation machines, both coring and drilling, were being manufactured locally and more effective fungicides were being tested for disease control. Greenkeeping since those times has changed dramatically. Many suggest that what they did in those days can’t be done today because greens are being used more. It was common to have very fast greens for special events but they could be rested afterwards to give them time to recover. Those times have gone. Today’s greenkeepers have had formal training in greens management either as apprentices or have completed diploma courses designed for the turf industry. These qualifications are associated with practical experience gained over a number of years. Educated qualified greenkeepers do not need a layman with little or no turf knowledge, but with the authority vested in him by the club, to direct them in the maintenance and preparation of bowling greens. A professional greenkeeper only needs a person to act as the liaison between himself and the club on all matters concerning the use, condition and maintenance of a green or greens. They are employed or contracted to maintain greens for the playing season and the last thing they want is someone or a committee telling them how to do the work they have been trained for! There have been exceptions but this applies to most greenkeepers. The use of contractors to reduce costs has also meant a change in the way greens are managed. You get what you pay for and the average contract is for specific tasks, which in most situations means that the green committee members are needed to help in the day-to-day running of a club’s greens such as setting up rinks, raking ditches and mark- ing rinks. Many of these small but necessary tasks previ- ously under taken by full-time greenkeepers are the responsibility of volunteers. This could include hand watering when necessary but under supervision of the greenkeeper. This is where the title should be Greens Manager or Greens Liaison Officer. Within the proposed new regions there will be greenkeepers who have a reputation for consis- tently producing excellent playing surfaces. Clubs relying on voluntary labour for green maintenance and preparation should seek the expertise of these recognised ‘good greenkeepers’ (with the approval of their club) to give advice when needed. Professional consultants are available but because of the cost involved many clubs cannot afford their services unless it is for major problems. In these situations again the title should be updated to Greens Manager but not Greens Director. Maintenance of synthetic playing surfaces is usually a club’s responsibility and again the title de- pends on the situation - Manager or Liaison officer. Greenkeeping is an art – a profession – a chal- lenge, and good greenkeepers do not need that extra advice or supervision, even though it might be well intentioned. The person appointed to manage or liaise, de- spite what his title is, must be diplomatic, polite and have a hide like a rhinoceros and most importantly he or she should be preferably deaf. Further to my previous article the Dederang Bowls Club has informed us that for the first time in their history they will be entering a pennant side in the local Association for the 2010-11 season. We congratulate them and hope they enjoy this fresh challenge and can continue into the future as a vibrant club. - Max Fielder Bowls Victoria Greens Committee • The Gudgy’s Tiff Tour group at Tweed Heads.
June July 2010