Having played the sport from the age of ten, in 2012 Dean Gibbons combined his passion for bowls with his interest in turf maintenance, becoming greenkeeper at Wantage Bowling Club. At just 28, Dean brings youthful enthusiasm to improve standards whilst exploring new, greener alternatives for the club.
On Dean's recommendation, the club purchased a 22" INFINICUT® FX and a selection of TMSystem™ cassettes last year, meaning he can now mow, aerate and verti-cut the green, all with one battery-powered unit.
"I'd always had an interest in gardening at home so used that to assist the former greenkeeper at the bowls club, where I gained knowledge and invaluable hands-on experience. After taking over and familiarising myself with the programme, I then began to look at new machinery to make the tasks easier." Over the last few years Dean has gradually taken on all of the maintenance work, meaning the club no longer require the service of external contractors - the savings from which went towards purchasing the INFINICUT® in July 2019.
"I'd had my eye on the INFINICUT® for a few years. The fact it is battery powered makes it greener, cleaner and quieter to operate and in addition, the versatile range of cassette options available meant we only needed to fund, and subsequently store, a single machine. When they introduced the Fixed Head model it offered all of the above benefits, wrapped up in a more affordable package for us."
During a regular season, Dean and his team of volunteers would mow the green up to four times a week, adding that the "simplicity of use and well-balanced manoeuvrability of the INFINICUT® has taken the strain off the maintenance." Their TMSystem™ cassettes - the SarelRoller and UltraGroomer - are then passed over the green on a bi-weekly basis. Preventing surface sealing, the SarelRoller helps to improve filtration rates and gaseous exchange into the upper rootzone, while the 80+ tungsten carbide tipped blades of the UltraGroomer minimise puffiness and effectively remove thatch and lateral growth.
"The multi-functionality of the INFINICUT® is excellent - the flexibility I have to conduct those three tasks, exactly when we need to means our green is now in better shape than ever. Not only that, but the quality and cleanliness of cut has helped to boost overall plant health, helping me to fulfil my organic approach to greenkeeping." Enjoying the fruits of his labour, Dean remains a keen player and hopes that the quality of the bowling surface may encourage new, and perhaps younger, players to the club.