The Groundsman

August 2015

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Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions AHEAD OF THE GAME 30 the Groundsman August 2015 he move from a long-established and successful career in football groundsmanship into bowls greenkeeping – after 24 years as head groundsman at Coventry City FC to become head greenkeeper at Leamington Spa's Victoria Park – has confronted Michael Finch with a different set of challenges. "This is a seven-days-a-week facility that continually endures a lot of wear and stress," says Michael. "So, I have to look at turf care in a totally different way. Working closely with STRI we evaluate, in depth, the greens on a rolling three-four- T Victorious at Leamington Spa The rinks at Victoria Park in Royal Leamington Spa have once again been prepared to perfection for the Bowls England National Championships – thanks to an expert all-year-round greenkeeping regime instigated by head greenkeeper Michael Finch and his team By: Colin Hoskins week cycle collecting and monitoring the performance data for speed, smoothness, trueness, firmness and moisture. My job is to ensure the greens are in the correct condition throughout the whole of the six months they are in use and I do whatever it takes, whatever the weather, to present the type of top-quality surfaces the bowlers want – greens with consistent pace." Michael is now in his sixth year at Victoria Park, an 18.5 acres site owned and run by Warwick District Council. Its maintenance services, which include Michael and his team, are contracted to The Landscape Group. The facility accommodates play areas, tennis, netball and cricket in addition to bowls. The five rinks are of international standard – though are also available for public use. "When I arrived here, many of the greens were 'soft', had loose, coarse grass cover (a lot of bent grass) and lacked consistency," says Michael. "But with my colleagues Tim Rouse and Rob Peel, we've made continual improvements by including deep scarification and hollow coring down to 95mm – also on occasions vertidraining down to 125mm with 12mm diameter tines – plus sand injection and An increasing number of competitions are being played at Victoria Park, thanks to the achievements of Michael Finch and his team

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