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I would just like to thank you for all the advice you send our way, I am a novice green keeper who just wanted to try to get out green playable, after struggling two seasons ago I started following your advice and after taking plenty of Knocks last season my just rewards came thus season with a green that many cant believe I have achieved it may not be a perfect green but it will get there with more hard work, and I believe aeration has been the biggest key. Keep up you good work in helping us all in maintaining our greens

Hi John
I followed your advices at the end of my first season as green keeper ( 2 yrs ago) and the first year was fair to bad , green improved but was still heavy and not as flat as I would have liked but it played, then we came to the 2nd season and I followed your advices to the letter, the green was superb , we had the Kent ladies play their final on it and the comments were
music to  my ears.
All club members have been commenting on the fact that the green has not played like it
before , we have now stopped for the winter so hard work starts again, I have scarified 3 ways , over seeded, and used 3 bags of topsoil to cover any seeds that did not find aeration holes , the weather down south has been good so Saturday I gave the green a short water session for the benefit of the seeds .
I have raise the cut height to 8mm and intend to give a light scarify after xmas , I take soil samples monthly and adjust as necessary with whatever is needed.
The green is old and has survived for many years , your help and advice will I hope make it
last for many more.
Kind regards and thanks.

Hi John

SuccessAfter devouring all the information and following your advice I have members coming to me and saying the green has never looked better or played better! Some of these are the ancient stalwarts who have been members for years, visitors are also full of praise. Woods are rolling smoothly and the pace is good, not lightening fast, but a decent speed, occasionally it does go a bit rapid when very dry, but thats not often in this part of the world!

We have a good density of grass coverage.

All in all I feel that my first year looking after the green has been a success, so wish to thank you for your help and advice, I’m continually dipping into the website picking up bits and pieces!

Attached pic of part of the green, this time last year the area to the right bottom corner was thinly covered with grass and lots of patches, this year as you can see it’s OK.

Thanks once again for your help with my success.



Hi John,
We have found the Website easy to use and easy to update and are very pleased with it.

Regards Mark.

North Kilworth Bowls Club


Our website from Bowls-central is easy to edit, any idiot can do it!”
“Bowls-central provide a simple and professional service for club website design.
After the site was designed John set us up with a simple template to help with updating the site.
Updating is as easy as writing an email or word document.
John is always there and very helpful when it comes to the more difficult bits.”

This new website has enabled us to advise members of the progress of the club relocation, the building of the new green and to keep the local community and other bowls clubs whom we deal with up to date with what is going on at Burghfield Bowls Club, and of where we are!

We believe our website is now one of the most informative, and modern websites out there.  It is a focal point for our fixtures, leagues, club competitions and gallery of our move and successes both on and off the green.  Also, with our club name in the URL, we are easily found through most web search engines. We are certain bowls-central have played an essential role in making Burghfield the club we are today.

John: This is the first time I have encountered your marketing and I have to say I think it more than just essential – it should be compulsory.
I am a journalist / veteran bowls writer who believes in communication yet my club has a President who thinks computers and email are “new fangled rubbish” and trying to get stories in the media is a waste of time.
Even today – the first day of the Pennant season and virtually no-one knows who is playing in what team because we are travelling with only weekend bowls
so there is no reason to go to the club during the week except to drink or play the pokies (not very many do).
In writing my recently-published book Life & Soul of Bowls Downunder, I visited more than 50 bowls clubs around Australia and I was amazed at some of the ingenious ways clubs have found to keep in touch with, and encourage, their members.
After haranguing our committee (Benowa Bowls Club) they wrote and told me I was appointed as “media consultant” despite the fact, the constitution has provision for a “Publicity Officer” – as you will know, a totally different role.
I hope your advice covers the issue of communication, the sport needs that badly.
Kindest regards
Ross Thompson


re your Manifesto for a Successful Bowling Club advice. Somebody on the committee must be reading it. We successfully ran a Ladies Classic over three week-ends with a Junior classic for under 18’s along side our established Men’s event . A football team now meets every week here, we have teams in the local darts and crib league, a local Park bowls club wants to use our green next season and we have a slimming club meet here every week. There is going to be a charity invitation with the top 32 ladies and top 32 men pairing up for a local cause. All in the last few months.

We really do want the green to be a credit to the club. RM

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. RM


Our club is struggling to make ends meet at the moment. We have some garages next to the club which we let out and which are a small source of income.
At a club meeting an offer made for them was roundly rejected. Last month two local councillors were seen on the green one morning. When the committe were asked about this, they were a bit evasive but one of the veterans who helps to look after the green knew one of them. When he got the chance he asked what was happening and was told that the council had been asked about planning permission to erect houses where the garages were. In the course of this visit they were also asked about the possible use of the bowling green for building purposes.
They informed the club!!!! that they would not even consider the use of the green for anything other than its present use as we are in a fairly densely populated area of housing with very few green spaces. It was nice to find that not all local councillors are trying to “concrete over” our green spaces.
When the committee member was then challenged about this matter, the response was that we had to cover all angles with regard to income.
It smacks of selling the “family silver” as up until a short time ago, virtually no serious steps had been taken to cover other areas of increasing income as set out in John’s books on How to Grow Club Membership and Introduction to Management for Bowling Clubs. RM

I’ve just found this article “Eleven greenkeeping mistakes you don’t know you are making” and just shuddered. Looking at the list with the benefit of hindsight there was only overwatering that we weren’t doing and that was because we rely on rainfall.

Five years ago at our AGM in March the Bowls Section were told that the club were struggling financially and that the greenkeeper had been let go the previous September. If we wanted to carry on bowling, we would have to maintain the green ourselves. Four of us “veteran” bowlers agreed to do this in spite of none of us having any experience whatever. After all, we had a mower didn’t we?
And this is when the “fun” started. Every man and his dog had an opinion on what steps we needed to take. “Someone” knew a man who had done “something” with bowling greens and before we knew it, he was meeting us at the green and within an hour we found that we had localised dry patch, thatch, moss, needed to reseed small areas of the green and it needed fertilising. However, we weren’t to worry as he actually worked for a firm that sold all our requirements.
He looked at the pitiful array of tools we had and enthused about the mower which he declared to be the “dogsbollocks.” So, we decided to mow the grass. Where to plug it in?? It was petrol!! Eventually we got it started and worked out how to get the blades going as well. And so four men went to mow (went to mow a meadow). Nice straight lines were to be the order of the day, and so we were off, literally as the mower had been left in Rabbit mode instead of Tortoise. We shot off across the green like an olympic relay team desperately trying to hold on to the mower and leaving a beautiful wavy line in our wake. Considering that our combined ages were 264 years we reckoned we had covered the 35 yards in a very creditable time.
After we had cut the green three times, we knew that something was badly wrong with the mower. We were told that the blade was set at an angle, was blunt and was cutting at 3mm which explained the scalping and uneven cut.
Halfway through the season the green had deteriorated badly and it was at this time that we discovered John’s guide on the internet and bought it. I ran copies for all of us and then E-mailed John to say we owed him more money for these copies. His reply was that the club is his customer and no additional monies were required and if we needed any further help after reading the book to get back to him. Which we do on a regular basis.we were getting complaints about its condition and running RM

Hi John

We have just purchased two of your ebooks and we are very impressed with the advice you give in them and the methods you use. We are a Crown Green Club with a green that has many hollows in it. They makes a very interesting green and one which many bowlers love to play on. Our problem is that due to various reasons they continue to appear and grow in size each year. Over the past few seasons we have top dressed the green (1200sqm)with between 2 & 3 tonnes of 70/30 top dressing and then drizzled it into the hollows (leaving the grass tips showing) as and when possible during the close season. Do you think we should continue with 70/30 or change to 60/40 due to large amounts of top dressing going into the hollows? Norman Kempson


Looking forward to more knowledge from your experts, thank you very much. Keith Gild

Myself and my Club Kearsney Bowling Club have a lot of faith in John Quinn and are building our green improvement scheme around his book ‘Performance Bowling Greens a Practical Guide’ which was purchased by the club for our grren keeper and playing member Graham Perrinn. Bowling Club Survival and Tournaround eBook is just the guide for clubs to get a grip of and encouraging new members to come to the club. It will also once, the project is up and running, show to club members, in laymans language, how the club is running, what we can do to improve our image and how and where the money is distributed to make it a Club others will want to join. Thank you John for all the information you distribute amongst us willing Club Officers and Green keepers to make the game of Bowls continue into the future.

Regards Colin Thompson, Treasurer of Kearsney Bowling Club. Colin Thompson

Hi John,

Just a line or two to thank you for some wonderful advice on bowling greens.I have recently been appointed greenkeeper at Sutton Coldfield Conservative Club.I have 38 years experience of golf greenkeeping but your advice has been invaluable.When i took over,the green was in a pretty pathetic state.But,with lots of work and manhours,it is turning around pretty well.It is good to know that there are people around that can offer their advice for free and are willing to help in this wonderful profession.I have a question for you:-What can i do about squirrels/cats/rabbits digging up my green?i repair their scrapes twice a week,add animal repellent to each repair,but they just return and dig somewhere else.Obviously,we can’t afford to spray the whole green(1800 Sq metres) so do you have any ideas? Thanks once again for all you do for us novice bowling green guys.
Best regards,


I have followed your advice for the past four+ years and in this time have not put an ounce of top dressing on the green. The green was in a poor state when you first visited, with compaction, dry patch, and all the other problems associated with excessive top dressings (advised in the main by golf course greenkeepers who had been employed as our consultants) which had been applied annually for almost 15 years. What a difference there has been on the green: Gone is the dry patch; compaction is normal (after a busy year); disease is non existant; the speed of the green is much improved with a firmer surface to play on.
I will certainly continue to follow your guidance in the future.  George Low


thank you, you have just answered what i thought has happened to the bowling green i play on. cannot get anyone in a position to do anything. ican now show them this article ,again thanks Derek Carter


thanks for sending me your your tips on greenkeeping as i live in tasmania our climate would have a lot of similarity to yours and i am finding your advice very helpful

regards keith


Main Photo Credit: Stuart Chalmers via Compfight cc