The Dennis FT510 and SISIS Dart are currently assisting Mark Audin make ready the green at the Waterloo Hotel, Blackpool for the biggest national crown green bowling tournament.
Widely seen as the ‘Wembley’ of crown green bowling, The Waterloo Hotel has been holding Crown Green Bowling competitions for over a century. The Waterloo Championships was established in 1907 and this year it sees an incredible 512 entries from all around the UK. The qualifying rounds are in July ending up with the final eight battling for the famous trophy on 26 September.
Mark Audin has been an employee of The Waterloo for ten years and for the last five years he has had the title of bowls manager. He has various jobs to carry out under his contract but Mark’s main job is to concentrate on the wonderful green at The Waterloo – which is a responsibility all year, as Mark explains.
“Out of season when the green isn’t being played on, I cut down to about 7-8mm and during the winter we can leave it slightly longer at 10mm. From May onwards I like to keep it at around 7mm and that will gradually go down to about 6mm and possibly 5mm depending on how it is playing towards the end of the season. There is a misconception that you need to take the grass on a bowling green right down and scalp it, but that really isn’t the case as long as you regularly verticut and generally look after it all year.”
For the vital job of verticutting, Mark uses the Dennis FT510, which is an interchangeable cassette cylinder type mower. It gives the user essential versatility by having the possibility of fitting twelve different cassettes including scarifiers, verticutters, brushes, spikers and slitters as well as five or ten blade cutting cassettes.
“In the lead up to the Championships we will verticut with the FT510 once every four days in four different directions so that the playing surface will be completely smooth. Therefore, going into the Championships the green will become quicker and quicker to play on.
“We’ve got the sorrel roller cassette, the 10 bladed cylinder, the scarifier and verticutter Tungsten tipped cassette and it is all we really need here – it’s my complete maintenance tool. The FT510 is fantastic and it is so easy to use – one cassette out, one cassette in and off you go. In the past we have had machines which take half an hour just to change one cassette.
“I also really like the click adjustment on the FT510 for the height of cut, it is easy to set-up and is adjusted by 0.25mm with every click. Again, with other machines you will have to get a spanner out but on the FT510 it is adjusted in seconds. The fuel consumption also seems to be better than any others I have used in the past too.”
For improving turf compaction at The Waterloo, Mark uses the SISIS Dart – which is an independently powered vertical action aerator. This beloved bowling green aerator has a working depth of up to one hundred mm (four inches) which can be easily adjusted from the user’s position using the balanced depth control lever. Driven by a 6.5hp engine, the machine can also be fitted with a diverse set of interchangeable tines to meet the operator’s needs making it the bowling green aerator.
“We normally start using the SISIS Dart in July when the ground starts getting hard. We have a number of various interchangeable tines and we tend to go about 3 inches deep into the surface. It does a brilliant job at breaking the surface up, enabling you to get some moisture in and it really helps to reduce thatch and compaction. We’ve always had a bit of an issue with compaction because we have so many people on the green throughout the year,” he said.
“I would say that it is arguably the most used green in bowls and with all the games throughout the season, the green stands up remarkably well. That is, in part, due to the quality of the machines – I’ve tired others in the past but none are nearly as good as the Dennis and SISIS equipment.”
Dennis and SISIS are proud to be supporters of the Waterloo Crown Green Bowling Championships and have a long history of backing the sport of bowls. The British manufacturers of turf maintenance equipment hold a series of free educational bowling green seminars every year throughout the UK, which have significantly got bigger each year.
For more news, reviews and insightful views, you can find Dennis on Twitter @DennisMowers and SISIS @SISISMachinery. You can like the Facebook page – www.facebook.com/DennisMowersUK and www.facebook.com/SISISMachinery. You can also see the newest Dennis videos by visiting www.youtube.com/DennisMowers and www.youtube.com/SISISMachinery
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