Golf greenkeeper Craig Collins ‘switched code’from golf to bowls to tend the greens which will feature in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Trained at Whitecraigs GC in East Renfrewshire where he served his apprenticeship, Craig (28) has been based full time at Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls Centre since May 2012. His employers are Scottish contractor Fairways Sportsgrounds who won the four year contract to reconstruct the greens on behalf of Glasgow Life, the leisure wing of Glasgow City Council.
The fine turf project at just under £1m has beenone of the largest fine turf projects by a local authority north of the border in recent years and includednew drainage, green ditches and installation of a new irrigation system as well as the upgrading of the footpath network within the site to ensure compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act.
Ten separate lawn bowls medal events are scheduled from July 24 to August 1 which feature two for bowlers who are visually impaired or have a physical disability.
Under the terms of the contract Fairways Sportsgrounds has employed a full time greenkeeperto look after the greens which up until the start of July have remained open to members of the public.Craig has been on hand to liaise with officials from the various Games committees and organisers and he and his colleagues are now in the final maintenance phase.
“In the days before the competition we’ll take final instruction but we’ve already discussed the preferred cutting heights and we think the organising committee will request that the surface is cut to approximately 3 -4 mm. Two international tournaments were held last June and September to test the greens and at that stage and we timed ourselves daily to see just how long it took us to prepare each green on competition mornings. Since then we’ve been refining and practising each task to make sure we do it perfectly but quickly. Over the last few months lots of international bowlers have been here so we’ve compared training regimes!” said Craig.
Tiered seating to accommodate 2500 spectators was erected in June immediately transforming the arena into a sporting spectacle. A limited number of tickets from £15 for the early rounds of competition are still available but tickets to all the main finals were sold out very quickly.
Fairways Sportsgrounds is sister company to Wiedenmann UK and to Fairways GM, Scottish dealer for Ransomes Jacobsen