From Wentworth and Wembley to Wimbledon via WORTHING!
By Chris Bradley, Parks and Foreshore Manager
WHEN considering great sporting venues in this country the finest of fine turf is often associated with the 4W's. Three, Wentworth, Wembley and Wimbledon are instantly brought to mind. The fourth is a little less obvious but nevertheless important in its own way.
The fourth is Worthing, home of English Lawn Bowls and the venue for the EBA National Championships and, if anything, the quality of surface is of absolute importance as the bowl stays in contact with the green throughout, which is a little different to the other sports played at the other 3 W's
Beach House Park with its five greens is an ideal location to play and watch bowls. Usually blessed with hot weather during much of the summer, the four front greens with spectator stands provide a first class arena.
Close liaison takes place with the EBA to ensure that the event is as cohesive and well organised as possible on all fronts. The primary issue in this is obviously the playing surfaces. For many years up to and through C.C.T. Beach House Park was an in-house maintained site.
In January 2003 Continental Landscapes Limited started a fully unified contract with Worthing Borough Council for grounds maintenance which includes Beach House Park.
The greenkeepers were inherited from the old D.S.O. team and continue to ply their trade albeit with new masters. Continental recruited Bob Baker one of the Contracts Officers with a lifetime's interest and experience in fine-turf and Bob continues to direct fine turf activities at Beach House Park and our other fine-turf sites.
We believe that our bowling green maintenance specification is a good one and the Council and
Continental are committed to producing quality greens not only for the Nationals but for our local resident bowlers too. As we all know producing quality fine-turf surfaces can be an inexact science particularly when accounting for the effects of the weather as well.
This is where experienced staff who understand the vagaries of the greens are paramount to success. An
issue which taxes us all in grounds maintenance as a whole is the question who will succeed these
experienced staff when they park their scarifiers for the last time?
Nevertheless we are never totally exempt from criticism of our greens. A losing player has to blame something for his loss! We react positively and effectively when things go awry and by liaising
closely with our home bowlers and with the EBA we learn from each situation and try to manage it out in future.
In the run-up to the Nationals we conduct regular meetings with Tony Allcock and Ken Woodcock of the EBA to keep them abreast of progress with preparations. This has proved helpful to both parties and we look forward to another top quality Bowls Fest starting on 13 August.
Bowls fans and anyone tempted to find out more about the game are more than welcome to come along at anytime during the two weeks of the tournament to sample the good sport, hospitality and weather here at the southernmost of the 4 W's. From Wentworth Wimbledon via WORTHING!
Photograph courtesy of Andy Collins at Continental Landscapes.