The Groundsman

April 2016

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Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions IOG BEST PRACTICE 23 the Groundsman April 2016 A typical routine after each game would be to water the rinks (via an automatic pop-up watering system) then cut next morning, ready for play that afternoon/evening. Ian points out that the club also gains benefits from its membership of the local Cambridgeshire & Huntingdonshire Grounds Association, which it joined about 18 months ago. "In addition to obtaining better purchasing power by clubbing together, membership of the association also leads to valuable networking and the transfer of advice, as well equipment sharing." The club's spiker goes to only 1.5 inches deep, says Ian, so the occasional use of a bigger, more powerful spiker will be a great help, he says. Likewise, other local clubs also borrow St Ives' equipment, including its Sisis scarifier. In addition, because Rob Bradshaw is also accredited for spraying (PA1, PA2 and PA6), this will enable the club to overcome the problems associated with the ending of the grandfather rights for spraying. There is a plan, in fact, for the local groundsman's association to work closely with Sherriff Amenity in providing a 'package service' to association members, involving soil tests as well as amenity consumables including grass seed, fertilisers, seaweed and wetting agents – and for more granular fertilisers to be used. Winter work usually also involves renovations to the site's infrastructure; in recent times, for example, a 20 feet high hedge has been trimmed down to 3 feet, a 'rough area' next to the clubhouse is being transformed by an extended patio area, trellis work and planting scheme, and anti-rabbit fencing has been installed. This all complements the construction of a new kitchen as well as a new changing room for the ladies. Adds Ian: "We're lucky that included among our members are retired carpenters, bricklayers, electricians and plasterers so much of the skilled work is completed FOC." Also, the clubhouse was recently fitted with a new roof, helped by Bowls England funding. Busy timetable The 80-member club, which was founded in 1908, is in use daily during the season, including ladies' and men's leagues, drives and over 60s teams, plus friendly games on Saturdays and Sundays – well over 100 games a season. This year, of course, the club will again host ladies and men's County games (three each) and the County finals (the winners will go to the National Finals in Skegness). The rinks are played in one direction until 5pm during each game, then switched by 90deg; and each rink has four settings at 2ft spacings, so that play can be 'moved' sideways – all to minimise wear. It is abundantly clear that the volunteer greenkeepers at St Ives set their sights high – and that they consistently hit their target, which is understandable with a marksman like Ian Cousins within their ranks! l Continual improvements to the clubhouse are largely carried out free of charge by members, though recent Bowls England funding saw the installation of a new roof The green is kept in tip-top condition on an annual budget of just £1,000

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