Home » Cut Costs and Improve Performance in Bowls Green Maintenance

Cut Costs and Improve Performance in Bowls Green Maintenance

Sounds unlikely doesn’t it?

The fact is that many clubs could save between £750 and £1000 in the coming month and would actively be improving their green. You know by now what I am talking about if you are regular reader.

Incidentally, welcome to all of our new readers this month!

On most greens the addition of any more sand based top-dressing is actually harmful. This doesn’t necessarily apply to all greens, just most of them.

Leaving this out of the program will result in big savings in the region of those mentioned above.

Next, a prevalent practice used in our industry by suppliers is to offer to carry out a free soil analysis service, which is marginally useful. Soil analyses are useful for watching trends over longer periods of time, such as changes in pH, but from year to year these are unlikely to be very informative, but they can be very profitable…for suppliers.

This is due to the club feeling obliged to buy products on the back of this “free” service. So of course you don’t just receive the soil analysis report; you also receive a 12 month program which consists mainly of recommendations to apply that company’s products!

This usually turns out to be very expensive and not at all essential.

One issue I have with this approach is that it tends to follow a well tried and tested formula…a sales formula!

Here is how it works from the sales person’s view point:

  1. Demonstrate a problem to the prospect; actually show them, preferably using a bit of “science”, e.g. a soil report from a “lab”
  2. Offer a solution to each of the problems demonstrated…one of your products.
  3. Send products.
  4. Send bill!

However, from the bowling green maintenance point of view, very little of this work, although unnecessary, will do any real harm…except to your wallet of course…but it usually won’t do a great deal of long-term good either and here’s why:

The problems being identified are “symptoms” of greater issues. If you need any proof of the power of offering solutions to symptoms have a look at the cold remedies shelf in the supermarket next time you go; everybody from the age of 10 upwards knows that there isn’t a cure for the common cold, but there is a massive market in cold symptom remedies.

…and if you keep treating symptoms on your green instead of tackling the root problems…guess what? Your green won’t ever be cured of it’s main problems…which is of course fantastic…if you sell cold remedies!

Please think before you spend this autumn.

One comment

  1. Rob Moores - Grange Club says:

    When our club members had to take over the maintenence of our green in March 2008 we continued to top dress. At this time and in spite of previously having engaged a greenkeeper for some considerable time, the green had deteriorated to such an extent that several top bowlers were declining their invitation to take part in our annual classic event. With LDP,sqidge and slime, moss and anaerobic soil ( the green Stank ) we were desperate for help.Two seasons ago because of financial problems and in line with the advice obtained from John’s book Performance Bowling Greens, we stopped top dressing. We were heavily criticised by many members whose collective wisdom was that the green would suffer if we did not carry out this task.
    One look at the green told the four of us that it would be hard for it to get much worse as by this time large areas of the green were grassless.
    For the last two seasons we have not top dressed and used some of the money saved to carry out other parts of the maintenence work which obviously with hindsight had not been done properly and were rewarded at this years “Classic” with very positive comments about how well the green looked and played compared to 2010 by the professional players. There is still a way to go yet but hopefully, we are getting there.
    John’s book was the catalyst for starting the improvement, but we found that “let’s ask John” became almost a catchphrase among us whenever a problem arose. Without fail, first thing the next morning we had received advice and encouragement on how to resolve the matter.

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