It is the kind of weather that all bowlers dream of because it means that a few more days of being outside with friends, a pint of ale at lunch in front of the crackling club fire, another game and afternoon tea and cake.
But, at the this precise moment, outside, it is pouring with rain and vast puddles of water have collected on the surface. You know from experience that the greens committee will have to rule no play for at least four days and maybe even a whole week - and that is if it stops raining soon.
The problem for your green, like so many around the British Isles, is caused by lack or adequate drainage or in a lot of cases, no drainage at all.
Historically, like golf courses too, the land was levelled and seeded by volunteers on little or no budget and to this day, again through lack of funds, many greens remain a sponge instead of draining freely. The soil, often pure clay just has none of the construction properties that exist today.
Even greens that may have an old system of clay drains set out in a herringbone formation, time has seen the fine particles of top dressing filter down through the soil structure and silt up the passage. Quite simply, water cannot infiltrate nor pass out to the outfall area.
The consequence is waterlogging of the surface and it will take time as drainage ensues. - or hydraulic conductivity if you use the technical speak.
It need not be this way as I am sure Abbeydale Sports Club will testify.
This Sheffield bowling club borders the Derbyshire Moors and its crown bowling green was built in the 1940's. Being so close to the moors means higher than the average rainfall, consequently, play was often disrupted due to waterlogging.
Head Groundsman Karl Fulford explained: “New building on an old rugby pitch at the back of the green has disturbed the ground, which may have interfered with the water table.
“The green is completely enclosed by trees. Some of the overgrown laurels must be 30 to 40ft high, and although they provide privacy for the members and shield them from activity on the adjacent sports pitches, they don’t help the air to circulate. The green takes a long time to dry off.”
Combined with the extra water coming off the moors and it is not difficult to understand why, apart from two weeks of dry frosty weather, this particular crown bowling green has held surface water for nine months.
Karl reported a compaction pan 2ft down, and anaerobic soil conditions on one side of the green and we were contacted to apply deep aeration treatment to the area, using their terralift equipment.
We asked Karl to spike the green ahead of us to relieve surface tension and minimise any disruption to the turf. Probing to a depth of one metre at two metre spacings on a staggered grid, we injected air at 10 bar and continually adjusted the setting to reduce the ground heave.
As the terralift proceeded to create underground fissures, the treatment produced fracturing from one hole to the next so that after the first three holes we had aerated over a 12 metre spread.”
The probe holes were filled with Lytag and Abbeydale Bowls Club played the next day.
Karl, who took over from his father as head groundsman, was delighted with the result and commented: “It’s worked a treat. The green is used constantly with morning, afternoon and evening sessions, and at the moment we’re bone dry.”
Further reading on http://www.terrainaeration.co.uk/2008/10/bowling-green-maintenance-the-airforce-factor.html