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Don’t get in the way at Feeding Time!

2 things in bowling green maintenance annoy me more than anything else. One is the feeding frenzy stirred up and enjoyed by many bowling green maintenance contractors in the autumn, usually driven by an unsolicited sales letter offering “Autumn Programs” sent by someone who has never seen your green!

Many clubs across the country will succumb to this sales gimmick year after year  without ever realising that it isn’t necessarily the best thing to do. You see Autumn has traditionally been Read more

Club Turnaround Basics-Member Retention

With the continued contraction of overall membership of bowling clubs, it is clear that the clubs most likely to survive and turnaround their fortunes are the ones that have a clear strategy for membership growth and retention.

Growing bowling club membership is a big topic because it doesn’t just include getting more people in to bowl at your club as we might always have imagined. It is now vital that we not only have a clear picture of what a “member” looks like but also that we are very open minded as to what this could or should include. In Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround, I have clearly defined what I think the bowling club of the near future will look like and I go on to define what a member might be.

Anyway, back to retaining the members you already have and first a look at new members and the skill of engendering a feeling of belonging to your club. If a new member doesn’t feel that they belong to your club they will quickly leave and another subscription is lost. Building that feeling is, like it or not, the job of Read more

Bowls Club Membership – retention and growth released!

Membership CoverJohn’s new eBook Bowling Club Membership – retention and growth is now available for purchase here.

In this ground-breaking ebook John focusses solely on membership issues, detailing a comprehensive plan for growing your club’s membership and retaining a healthy membership level for the long term.

In this eBook John looks more closely at the subject that he first raised in Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround and this book can be regarded as a partner volume to the previous eBook, as it digs deeper into the vital area of getting people through the door of your club and keeping them coming back for more, over the long term.

Right now, this is the definitive guide on re-building your club’s membership base and building a successful club for the future.

Inside your copy of Bowling Club Membership – retention and growth, you’ll discover:

  1. How to build member loyalty and how to install systems to perpetuate this.
  2. How to re-think the role your club plays in the local community and a new way to think about what constitutes a “member”.
  3. A remarkable chapter detailing a powerful method of finding new members for your club that uses tools you have at your fingertips  (and it isn’t the internet or anything computerised!)
  4. An amazingly simple but powerful formula that will ensure your club stands head and shoulders above all of your competition when it comes to excellent service.
  5.  How to build an automatic club improvement system.

So as you can see, Bowling Club Membership – retention and growth, is set to be a very important resource for Bowling Clubs everywhere, but what we’ve told you so far really is just scratching the surface. The book is also packed with actual tools you can use to achieve the remarkable changes previously outlined.


A Bright Future for Bowls Clubs

Not an often heard statement I think you will agree.

However, I truly believe that there is such a future for bowling clubs if they take action quickly and positively to create such a future for themselves.

To do this, I think clubs will have to take a series of bold, yet very achievable steps to turn their fortunes around and then quickly build on that success to create a long term strategy that looks quite a bit different from the way things are today.

In my Free Manifesto for a Successful Bowling Club I have laid out some of my thoughts on how this can be approached.

Of course every club is different (thank goodness) and some of what I advise will be easier for some than it is for others to implement.

Anyway, the Manifesto is there for free if you’d like to see what I think on this subject.

If you agree, then please look out for my  eBook: Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround as in there I detail a concise and logical strategy that can be adapted for any club to:

  1. Stop the rot and save your club
  2. Design and Implement a solid strategy for achieving a vibrant, popular club in the days and years to come.

As usual, if you have any questions, suggestions, tips or comments please feel free to contribute here.

Fulfilling your audience’s expectations.

The process of bowling club turnaround is divided into 7 key steps, one of which is to identify your club’s Sustainable Competitive Advantage (SCA), as explained and illustrated in detail in Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround.

Once you have a clearly defined SCA it is this that informs all of your publicity and marketing to the user groups and individuals you hope to attract as the loyal members and customers of the future.

This Marketing activity, which should be perpetual and which needn’t cost the club much in the way of hard cash, can be thought of as “promises” being made to prospective club users.

As an aside, if you are throwing real money at advertising, promotion and publicity…please stop unless you can produce documented evidence that proves that it pays for itself in new revenue every time. Please see Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround for help with this.

So, back to promises…

If you consider your marketing as promises made, then you’d better make sure you can live up to these, because nothing disappoints more than an experience that under-delivers on your expectations.

Being good at marketing is one thing, but being good at delivering, at shipping, at getting things done well and on time every time is where you can excel at fulfilling the expectations of your newly identified audience.

This comes down to your Business Strategy and although that sounds boring and maybe even unnecessary for a bowling club you can only skip this if you are already doing very well and don’t actually need help in turning your club around, or getting more members through the door or making more revenue per visitor, in which case you probably won’t have read down this far anyway!

Business strategy at first glance looks like one of those crazy, mixed up subjects that is never ending and impossible to get your head around completely…but it comes down to just one Read more

5 little known facts about creating a Performance Bowls Green

  1. Top dressing is counter productive to producing a Performance Bowling Green
  2. Following the Performance Bowls Green system reduces maintenance costs from day 1.
  3. Doing too much work on your green can be detrimental to its condition.
  4. The performance greens program has the long term effect of reducing the work needed on the green.
  5. Performance bowls greens can be maintained with zero pesticides, another saving.

Performance Bowling Greens eBook
Performance Bowling Greens eBook
NOW comes with HALF PRICE SOIL ANALYSIS! In our best selling eBook, Master Greenkeeper John Quinn explains a program for the recovery and transformation of any bowling green into a high performance green. This eBook will change your mind on how bowling greens should be maintained for ever. Includes annual maintenance schedules. more details Soil analysis offer valid in UK only.
Price: £19.97
Price: £15.97

The Pursuit of Excellence and…economy.

Now that the new season is upon us, we’ve been getting a lot of enquiries asking two basic questions:

What is the ideal maintenance program to ensure an excellent bowling green surface this year? and…

How can we reduce costs for maintenance without compromising the performance of the green?

Well, although both of these questions are fairly easy to answer, the actual solution depends a lot on what has gone before and at what stage your green is at, in terms of performance at the moment.

The pursuit of excellence on a sensible budget is very much the theme of Performance Bowling Greens.

In the book you will find a step by step blueprint in layman’s terms where John explains the reasons why most bowling greens don’t perform to the required standard, or if they do, why they don’t seem capable of perfoming consistently over the long term.

Also in the book John talks about his philosophy on high performance bowling greens, what makes them and how to achieve a tournament quality green on a reasonable budget, consistently.

John said ” I decided to write this book to detail in layman’s terms the exact formula needed for a great bowling green. A formula that is based on thorough scientific research and experience”

He went on to say: “I also wanted to alert bowling club officials and greenkeepers to the 4 major obstacles that stand in their way, the 4 obstacles that repeatedly stop them from producing the green they desire, so that hopefully they can learn to spot these and avoid them in the future.”

You can get hold of your copy of Performance Bowling Greens here.

Investing in Irrigation-can you afford not to?

Irrigation: cost or investment?

Previously we talked about some of the reasons commonly put forward for not watering bowling greens. I also shared with you, my amusement that so many clubs fail to mention irrigation or lack of it when looking for an explanation for the poor quality or condition of their greens; even though it’s very obvious. They will use just about every other aspect of bowling green maintenance as a reason for poor performance.

Now we come to the cost of irrigation; and I am not talking about the cost of installing a system, but merely the cost of the water being applied on any given night.

This is another big reason or excuse that I hear a lot about:

“we can’t water any more because it costs a fortune”

Now of course there will be variations (slight) around the country and also from system to system, but here is my 10 second rundown on the cost of water for irrigation:

  • As we saw previously a typical system will put out 1mm of irrigation water for every 2 minutes of system run time.
  • A typical system will also put out 150 litres per minute; so to calculate the cost per mm of irrigation we do this:
  • 2 (minutes) X 150 (litres) X 4 (sprinkler heads) = 1200 litres/mm

That’s to achieve 1mm over the whole green.

As 1200 litres is 1.2 m3 you simply have to multiply the irrigation requirement in millimetres by your cost per m3 and then by 1.2


  • Water balance sheet shows we need to replace 15mm of moisture loss.
  • Multiply 15 (mm) X 1.2 (m3) X £/m3
  • 1.2 (m3) X £0.90 = £1.08/mm of irrigation over entire green.

I’ve used 90p as an average cost, but you can find your own local charge on your water bill or by phoning the water company.

The question is whether you see irrigation as a cost or an investment in the future of your green.

Irrigation Running Costs and Bowls Club Success

A funny time of year to be talking about irrigation but it is a surprisingly popular search term for the site.

So what are the costs of running irrigation on your green?

Well as you would imagine this can easily turn into a “how long is a piece of string?” type of debate. That’s due of course to the plethora of different irrigation systems around the country and of course the weather.

However, what we can do is look at some basic irrigation facts and then, armed with some key information from your irrigation hardware and utility bills; we can make a good estimate of the costs of running the system.

First let’s look at fixed costs:

These are primarily the cost of maintaining the system after its in place. On newer systems this will probably take the form of the cost of a maintenance contract with a qualified irrigation engineer; as the system gets older this will also have to have an element of contingency planning for new parts etc.

Then we look at the variable costs such as electricity and water:

Where most of your irrigation is carried out on automatic (recommended) the variable cost of labour is negligible. So we need to know how much a unit of electricity costs us and we can get that information from the bill, same with the water costs.

Armed with the cost of water per m3 and the cost of electricity per kw/h we can then work out the actual true cost of running irrigation on our greens.

Pump Outputs are typically expressed in litres per minute.

However, for the majority of systems that are configured as Read more

Bowls Club Success Manifesto

Speaking to club officials as I go around the countryside, it’s never long before the conversation turns to the difficulties in retaining members, keeping the club afloat and general club survival issues.

Of course, the time of year makes it all the worse, as clubs going into the winter with financial difficulties are obviously in a delicate condition. It’s never clear how many members will pay their subs again and want to come back next year.

For many clubs it doesn’t look great this year; the combination of the already prevalent factors related to the state of the game with the very strange series of weather events (very cold and prolonged winter, followed by a very cold and very dry spring, followed by a very hot and dry spell of weather for many of us in June and July) has left a lot of clubs with worries about their survival.

This has led me to change around my plans recently and prioritise my work to make sure you have access to the right kind of information at the right time.

So, although we said that our new eBook: Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround would be available at the end of August, we have delayed this until the 25th September, so that we could bring forward the release of our new Manifesto for Bowling Club Success.

I know, I know it’s a bit of a mouthful, but I think “manifesto” describes this new guide most accurately as it provides clubs with a document that can be adopted and then adapted into a declaration of your intention to work on a plan to rejuvenate your club’s fortunes.

Our Manifesto for Bowling Club Success includes 4 main sections as follows:

Part 1. Accepting the New Order of the Game

Part 2. Club Turnaround

Part 3. Long Term Strategic Planning

Part 4. How to Imbed Best Practice

It is available FREE now. Just click here to access your copy; and please let us know what you think and how you plan to use it in your club.