New greens to bowl 'em over
By GREG WHITE
LAWN bowls in Coffs Harbour became futuristic yesterday when the Tigerturf synthetic greens were opened at Coffs Ex-Services Bowling Club.
While welcoming an enthusiastic crowd to the ceremony, club CEO John Rafferty described the new greens as 'visionary'.
"The board deserves praise for vision and foresight, recognising the necessity to progress in this direction," he said.
"Also, the men's and women's bowling clubs for their quick acceptance of the change from turf to synthetic greens.
"It will allow a better car parking arrangement and very important water savings in the future."
Club director Roy Cross said building the new facilities had been a massive undertaking.
"One green had to be extended almost two metres while another was squared up in case of any future development," he said.
"The covering doesn't come cheap you're looking at around ten grand for each roll (of Tigerturf), without counting the costs of installation, ongoing maintenance and preparing for competition."
With up to 10 rolls needed for each green, that's a starting cost of at least $100,000.
While 'building over and upwards' was considered, the idea was discounted on this occasion, but it seems future possibilities for developing the bowling greens are endless.
Board chairman David Doyle unveiled the foundation stone and paid tribute to John and Pat McComas for being the driving force behind construction.
"The board is really serious about keeping the greens here and promoting this great game," he said.
"John and Pat have been an inspiration and it's fitting they do a ceremonial roll of the first bowl on the surface."
Pat McComas bowled first and finished close to the jack, before John gallantly and diplomatically left his delivery somewhat short of the mark reached by his wife.
"What a good husband," said a voice in the gallery, to much laughter.
The new greens actually had their baptism of fire during the Masters Triples carnival when hundreds of bowlers tramped across the new surface.
"It played fantastic, we really loved it," club bowler Maisie Miller reported.
"I really took to it or, maybe, it took to me."