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Bowls In Focus : January 2011
26 Bowls In Focus Green Timing and Performances The Bowls Victoria Greens Committee is still receiving complaints and enquiries about timing greens and what are the correct procedures. There have been many instances where visiting pennant sides have arrived at the host club to be told that the green or greens have already been timed. What should they do in these circumstanc- es? Greens should be timed in the presence of the visiting side manager or the deputised visiting member. If you arrive at a club to find that the tim- ing has been completed the visiting manager must request that the green be retimed. When there are two or more visiting sides the manager or his deputy should observe the timing on the green allocated to his side. If the visiting manager signs the green speed form and has not observed the timing procedure, and there is a sub- sequent complaint about the speed on that day, no action will be taken by the Greens Committee. Once again we hear the sceptics say that bowl- ers can estimate the speed after the two trial ends but the Greens Committee need this information for grading greens that are below or above the recommended speeds of 13 to 17-seconds and for the Match Committee to select greens for Bowls Victoria events. We rely on the honesty of all club members to record the speed as it is, but understanding that many synthetic surfaces when timed within the maximum speed recommendation, will be over 17- seconds by the end of the day. This is acceptable as the speed at the star t of play was within the Guidelines. Green speeds for Saturday pennant were once compiled each week by a member of the Greens Committee, but these days they are computerised, highlighting greens outside the current guidelines. This information is used when there are complaints about greens. Only formal complaints from clubs about suspect greens can be investigated, while complaints from individuals are not accepted. Previous wet weather or future wet pennant days are taken into consider- ation when assessing green speeds. This informa- tion is only available to the Greens Committee. As we have had an unusual, or was it a ‘normal’ Spring, with a number of wet Saturdays, I have extracted green speeds from twenty metropolitan clubs that have both bent and couch grass greens to see the comparisons – if any. Usually couch green speeds are good when going into or coming out of dormancy, but this year they could not decide whether it was Spring or still Winter and growth was retarded in some greens until late November and surfaces were wet for both grasses. The recorded speed of each green over the six Saturdays that were playable was averaged, then the total of the twenty greens were averaged with bent grass 13.3 seconds and couch again 13.3 seconds. The highest speeds were on a green at Bundoo- ra, which is one of the oldest metropolitan couch greens. With the information available I checked green speeds for last spring, again comparing the two grasses. The results were basically the same with bent averaging 13.63 seconds and couch 13.37 seconds. I will compare these two grasses again over the summer season and anticipate couch surface speeds will increase as they can withstand hotter temperatures with less water. I realise that there could be variations in the timing methods used and possibly by the operators. Despite these variables the averages available have not varied significantly over the last fifteen years. The extremely difficult wet spring experienced in 2010 was a testing time for our Greenkeepers and to their credit, with their experience and expertise; they maintained average green speeds under adverse conditions. Bowlers generally do not understand the difficul- ties associated with green keeping and the unusual hours they have to work to fit into the normal bowl- ing program and it is time they earned our respect for their dedication. Turf Talk Turf Talk Victorian Greenkeepers Association Big Year Ahead For Greenies Victoria has just had the wettest spring in decades and it has played havoc with the start of the bowls season resulting in four rounds of pen- nant being washed out before Christmas. Melbourne hit its average yearly rainfall by mid- November and the rain kept coming. Greenkeepers around the state are delighted with the decision by the government to ease the water restrictions and we now have some flexibility when watering and I’m sure all clubs that have installed water tanks will go into the New Year full to the brim. Like past years many clubs around Melbourne and Victoria have just planted new Tiftdwarf greens moving away from the traditional bent grass. Over the Christmas period greenkeepers are using the four weeks to do what renovations they can to get their greens ready for action when pennant resumes. Last month the VGA, in conjunction with Turnpoint Services, held a demonstration day at Fawkner Bowling Club. The aim of the outing was to give greenkeepers a demonstration of the innovative ‘Dryject’ machine on a bowling green. This is the only machine in the world that aerates, top-dresses and amends in one pass on greens and sports fields. The weather couldn’t have been worse with pouring rain all day but the par ticipation was great with over 30 greenkeepers attending. Brian Clapp from Turnpoint Services gave us a talk about the machine and its benefits, and after many questions were fielded it was time for a BBQ lunch. The rain eased a little so we donned our jackets and had a working demonstration of the machine on the green. This year, 2011, will be a big one for the VGA with many events on the calendar. It starts with the K&B Adams Pairs Day at Princess Park on Thursday 24 April. This day has been well attended for many years and I’m sure that won’t change this year. On April 30 the VGA will send a contingent over to Adelaide for the 2011 Federation Week. Three years ago on the Gold Coast we had fewer than 20 go from Victoria. This year we would love to get more numbers. Accommodation will be at the Adelaide Shores Resort from 30 April to May 7. The hosting clubs this year are Grange, Marion, Lockleys, Payneham, Brighton and Holdfast Bay, with the final presenta- tion night to be held at Westward Ho Golf Club. The week is fantastic with plenty of informa- tion and turf discussions, bowls against the other states and a great opportunity to meet and talk to greenkeepers from not only Victoria, but all over Australia. For more information on the event go to www.victga.com. Later in the year the VGA will celebrate the Association’s 100th bir thday with a boat cruise up the Yarra River. We are hoping for a good day with many greenkeepers and VGA life members at- tending and celebrating everything that makes this industry great. Dates and details will be available shortly so keep an eye out on our website. We hope everyone had a safe and happy Christ- mas and wish you all the best for the New Year. - Warren Maynard VGA Vice President • A group of greenkeepers witnessed a demonstration of the revolutionary ‘Dryject’ machine at Fawkner Bowls Club last month.