The Sisis Dart is hitting the bullseye at Goodwood Bowls Club in Leicester. Purchased at the end of 2010 to replace an older aerator that was so cumbersome the greenkeepers were reluctant to use it, the Dart's ease of handling and vertical action have proved highly popular.
Established in 1951, the club is one of the leading bowls venues in Leicester, benefiting from an excellent social programme, and as greenkeeper Tony Taylor points out, a top quality green.
"When we felt that the green needed some remedial work three or four years ago, we decided that the best course of action was to improve aeration and encourage healthy turf growth," he explains. "We hired in a Verti-Drain, and purchased a new mower, a Dennis FT510, which has interchangeable cassettes allowing it to be used for turf maintenance as well as grass cutting."
The club also resolved to spike more often to tackle dry spots on the green. But the existing aerator made this difficult, so Tony approached the committee to put the case for a new machine.
"Capital purchases such as machinery have to be agreed by the committee so it was my job to persuade them!" he explains.
A couple of different machines were considered, but another leading local club had a Sisis Dart, where the greenkeepers were so impressed with it, Tony decided to have a demonstration.
"It seemed to do the job well, but more importantly, it was so easy to use that I proposed that this was the machine to purchase," he says.
Powered by a 6.5hp engine, the Dart has a working depth of up to 100mm which can be easily adjusted from the operator's position using the balanced depth control lever. The unit can be fitted with a wide range of tines to meet the operator's requirements. It gives clean, vertical penetration and withdrawal without surface disturbance - vital on the fine turf of a bowls green.
"We like the plunge action of the Dart - it works in a similar way to a tractor-powered aerator, and we use it either with pencil tines or with hollow tines from the old machine which also fit. It makes a really good, tidy hole," says Tony.
The Easy Lift system makes for effortless turning and transport and Tony comments that this has made a huge difference to the operators.
The Dart is used for about six months of the year for green renovation after the season and again in the spring to prepare for the new campaign, although frustrating periods of frost meant that Tony and his team could not get on the green as much as they would have liked this winter.
"It does a great job in renovating and preparing the green, then in the season we can switch to the sorrel roller on the Dennis FT510 to spike and roll."
Tony comments that the Dart is durable and maintenance is made easier by a removable cover.
"Sisis have been very good to work with and their sales manager Jason Briggs has provided us with excellent service," he says. "All in all, we are extremely pleased with the Dart."
SISIS, Howardson Works, Ashbourne Road, Kirk Langley, Derby DE6 4NJ UK
Tel: +44 (0)1332 824777 - Fax: +44 (0)1332 824525 - www.sisis.co.uk