Steve earns his stripes

The countdown to the start of the outdoor bowling season is under way and groundsman Steve Gildersleeve has been lavishing TLC on the greens to ensure they are in tip-top condition.

He reports that grass growth has been slow due to the cold weather but he’s well into the mowing season and already has stripes that would make most gardeners green with envy.

Steve has been looking after bowling greens for 30 years and his experience tells him that they will be in good shape by the time the first woods are rolled up the rinks.

Groundsman Steve Gildersleeve
AIR FORCE: Steve uses a king-sized aerator to ensure the greens are in good shape for the start of the season.

With an air of confidence, he says: ‘The warm spell will come and it will all shoot up. It’s a waiting game at the moment.’

Apart from mowing, his big task currently is aeration to ensure that moisture – and roots – go deep down. ‘If you don’t aerate properly, the roots come up to the surface and you don’t want that on a bowling green,’ says Steve.

One of the secrets of producing top-class playing surfaces is knowing when to apply fertiliser and Steve has already started his feeding programme. As the weather gets warmer, he will gradually build up to full-strength fertiliser application to sustain the grass through to the end of September when the season ends.

Apart from a couple of friendlies, the first real test of the greens at King George’s will be on Saturday 4th May when Brentwood Bowling Club will be welcoming would-be bowlers to try their hand at the annual open day which will get under way at 10am.

Club spokesman Les Powell said:’Our open day gives newcomers a chance to inspect our facilities and have a free trial session at bowling with guidance from some of our experienced players.

‘We’re a very sociable lot and we are always pleased to hear from people interested in taking up the sport.’