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Bowls In Focus : October 2011
42 Bowls In Focus Tift Tour Rolls On Recently a coach load of greenkeepers departed from Geelong on ‘Gudgy’s Tift Tour 2011’ and visited no fewer than fifteen bowling clubs around Victoria and Southern NSW. Main focus of this expedition was to see how our fellow greenkeepers are progressing at their respective clubs and to share ideas on how to provide the best running surfaces in Australia for our club players. First stop was Ballarat Bowls Club where we inspected its bent and tiftdwarf greens, and then we headed to Maryborough, where we saw another great tift before checking out the two Santa Ana greens at the golf club. Next up was Dunolly, which had been hard hit by the drought, then in contrast, Bridgewater which was devastated by floodwaters from the adjacent Loddon River. This was a real eye opener with signs of the floods earlier in the year still visible. The water came halfway up the clubhouse and the newly planted green was all but destroyed. But it has been re-planted and come up a treat. A lot of hard work went into the green after the floods, by Shane Harling and others and the green lives to fight another day. We then headed north to Kerang and when the group stepped off the bus we were all amazed with what we saw, three 30-year old tift greens that were amazing. Most of us have seen greens all over Australia but we all agreed Kerang’s were close to the best, if not the best we had seen. Greenkeeper Shane Moffat talked about his renovation program, also the maintenance he does week to week, which includes regular grooming. After picking his brain dry we travelled across the border into Barham, visited the bowling club and then settled into our accommodation An early start on the next day saw us in Swan Hill in time to meet greenkeeper Phil Jennings and inspect his four pristine greens before departing for Deniliquin to check out the playing arenas at its two clubs. At the RSL Tom Moore spoke with pride about his two tift greens that are also 30-years- old and continue to run well, while we walked across the road to the Deniliquin Bowls Club’s three tift surfaces which were a nice dark colour thanks to some iron being applied in preparation for a big tournament over the coming weekend. Although only utilising volunteer manpower, the club’s greens are a treat. On route to Moama we made a quick stop at Mathoura to see the club’s two Wagga couch greens – this grass is a lot courser than tift but looks a good surface and club members told us they love it. Our overnight stop at Moama was preceded by an inspection of the club’s three tift greens which, like most we saw, had little if any disease problems. Next morning we checking out Rich River Golf’s three tift greens by 8.00am and arrived at City of Echuca in time to meet greenkeeper Jade Bennett before smoko, while it seemed like just a matter of minutes before we met Jim Lawford at Rochester as we commenced our trek homewards. Jim, who provided morning tea, makes all the concrete ditches for bowling greens and the set-up he has is most impressive. The tour was great. All the greenkeepers we met along the way were more than happy to share their secrets, and although we saw a lot of good greens that were affected badly by the floods, our hearts went out to Creswick, our last stop, where the club’s two synthetic greens were virtually destroyed and are still far from playable. Thanks to Simplot along with K&B Adams for their ongoing support of the tour. For more info and photos visit www.victga. com. - Warren Maynard VGA Vice President Greens Management Victorian Greenkeepers Association Turf Talk • Members of the recent ‘Gudgy’s Tiff Tour’ group at City of Echuca. A new pennant campaign is under way for Milligan and his motley mates in this latest yarn from the pen of ‘bush bowling bard’ Doug Maconachie... Crikey, all this for a first up win! Our high performance manager Minty had promised us a grand opening to start the season, providing we all put in a big effort on the training track in the weeks leading up to the first game. We didn’t see much of him after that - he was in ‘lockdown’ with the ladies committee. We were drawn to play Ellenvale first up. They had been promoted after winning the Div 2 flag last season and it would be the first time we had locked horns with them in pennant. It promised to be an intriguing season starter and Minty was keen for us to show these newcomers just what it is like playing in the big league. ‘We’ll show ‘em how well we operate,’ he rattled in the final training session. He introduced a local coach to take us through some training drills and discuss tactics to round out our preparation. An immigrant lad with an English accent, Milligan called him ‘Union Jack’. He had a variety of drills and hints that added a lot of spark and enthusiasm to our practise sessions. But the ever-disdainful Milligan was taking little interest, or so it appeared. I saw him one afternoon out on the green with some practice heads set up as we had been shown. I mentioned to him in the pub one night that he was beginning to take the coaching advice seriously. ‘That Union Jack couldn’t bowl his way out of a wet paper bag,’ he blustered. I didn’t argue, it was his shout. Another ‘development’ Minty had implemented was to divide us into teams and promote some of the less experienced players to leadership positions. The aim was to give them a taste of being in charge to develop some depth in the ranks. He put
August September 2011