The Groundsman

July 2014

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Surface preparation Craig quickly picked up on the nuances of preparing a surface for bowling rather than golf and found that one of the best ways of preparing the greens is to have them played frequently. Regular elite training squad sessions take place on a fortnightly basis and several international standard events have been staged to test the facilities - including a four-way match last June and an eight-way competition in September, both organised by Bowls Scotland. The greens remained open to the general public on a daily basis. All play is free (and includes the hire of the bowls) and everything is supervised by Glasgow Life staff who follow Craig's instruction that every day the rinks are rotated from north to south and from east to west, being careful to alternate the direction of play. However, in the final countdown to the Games, the public will make way for more intense preparation of the greens. "Nearer the time I'll be given formal instruction by the organising committee but I'm expecting the greens will be cut to a height of 3-4 mm for the duration," Craig adds. "The events start on July 23 and conclude on August 3, and ten events are scheduled which includes two for bowlers who are visually impaired or have a physical disability. While that's nine days of actual competition, I still have to make sure the greens are ready beforehand as every country will be allocated official practice time." The Fairways Sportsgrounds HQ is also the home to sister companies Wiedenmann UK and Fairways GM, the latter being the dealer for Ransomes Jacobsen in Scotland. "Having both companies' kit available at short notice has been a bonus," says Craig. "I've had Hampden Park's transformation Among the 14 Glasgow-based venues for the Commonwealth Games events, the two natural grass sites that will be impacted are Hampden Park, which has undergone a transformation that has seen the playing surface raised by 1.8m to accommodate track and field events (for further details, see The Groundsman's interview with head groundsman Stephen Bache in our December 2013 issue) and Ibrox Stadium, which will host the Rugby Sevens. access to demo machines and the companies' top trainers have called by offering help and advice. In fact, all of the deep tine aeration using the Terra Spikes has been done by my Wiedenmann colleagues. The Smithco Tournament Ultra Greens Roller has been used regularly in the last three years and will really come into its own now as we endeavour to have the perfect bowling surface. Also, our number of Ransomes mowers has tripled as final preparations get underway. "We can only hope that the weather is kind to us and to the turf. Very soon the greens will be in use from 9am until 9 pm and, to be honest, it can't come soon enough." l Top, work in progress at Kelvingrove and above, two recently turfed greens Craig looks after six greens AHEAD OF THE GAME 37 the Groundsman July 2014 Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions Val Graham is marketing manager, Fairways Sportsgrounds. About the Author

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