Over 37 years of greenkeeping and teaching greenkeepers I have come to notice that bowling green performance comes down to just 3 major characteristics. Sounds easy then, doesn't it? Well it actually gets even easier when you identify the one key problem that contributes more to poor bowling green performance than any other.
The relationship between sand and bowling green performance has become a thing of legend with the majority of clubs still throwing more sand on their greens every year, despite a worrying trend showing poorer and less predictable green performance due to problems like Localised Dry Patch and excessive thatch. It seems that for many clubs the dots aren't being connected between too much sand and poor performance. In this article I will explain the fundamentals that greenkeepers must keep in mind with regard to their bowling green soil.
Bowling green smoothness and trueness are measurable concepts and the data can be used to ensure that the ideal maintenance program is followed to make your green perform to previously unattained levels of excellence.
We often find bad runs on rinks or bad rinks on greens and we can guess or hypothesise as to the causes of these effects, but at many clubs the science stops there and they reach for the top-dressing. Given that we have seen the negative side of making greens too sandy, shouldn't we explore the possibility of a different answer to the apparent overnight appearance of bad areas on greens?