The Dennis FT510 and SISIS Dart are currently helping Mark Audin prepare the green at the Waterloo Hotel, Blackpool, for the biggest national tournament in the crown green bowling calendar.
The Waterloo Championships has been in existence since 1907 and this year has 512 entries from all over the country. Qualifying starts in July and concludes with the final eight competing to get their hands on the famous trophy on 26 September.
Mark Audin has worked at The Waterloo for 10 years, the last five as bowls manager. His main priority is the green at The Waterloo: “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 essential task of verticutting, Mark relies on the Dennis FT510, which is an interchangeable cassette cylinder mower. It offers the operator ultimate versatility by having the option of fitting twelve different cassettes including scarifiers, verticutters, brushes, spikers and slitters as well as 5 or 10 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. 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.”
For reducing turf compaction at The Waterloo, Mark uses the SISIS Dart, an independently powered vertical action aerator.
“We normally start using the SISIS Dart in July when the ground starts getting hard. We have interchangeable tines and we tend to go about three 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,” he said.
Dennis and SISIS are proud supporters of the Waterloo Championships and have a long history of supporting the sport of bowls. The British manufacturers of turf maintenance equipment host an annual series of free educational bowling green seminars throughout the UK.