How can your club save $35,000 per year?

by Team BV

Making the conversion from natural grass to synthetic can save clubs an average of $35,000 per year. 

Bioscapes Group founder and Director, Dave Bentley, spent 16 years of his career in turf management, constructing and managing one of Victoria’s most elite golf courses. His knowledge of natural and synthetic turf, as well as irrigation systems, has saved many of our clubs and retirement villages tens of thousands of dollars in costly bills and errors in construction. Dave encourages clubs to look for savings over the long term rather than cutting corners on construction, as we are often called in to repair sub-standard or incorrect build methodology. 

A common question we answer is… “Why choose a synthetic surface over a natural one?” We also often hear, “You must not be a fan of real turf Dave!” This could not be further from the truth. Dave is a huge fan of grass (you should see his grass at home)! However, given our climate and rising living costs, he is also a huge fan of making the sport of bowls sustainable for the long term. 

 A case study recently conducted with one of our existing clients, converting from a natural to synthetic bowls surface, revealed that it was costing them $38K per year in maintenance alone. So let’s break down how the figures stack up, and what potential savings you club could make long term… 


Less watering – how much does this save? 

A natural bowling green uses on average 40m3 per annum. The cost of water in Victoria for example averages between $2.63 and $3.35 per kilolitre. Best case scenario in Victoria amounts to $5407.40 per annum, with QLD being $6489.60 pa.  

Purchasing of chemicals and maintenance
Including fungicide, herbicide, surfactants and more, may equate to in excess of $10,000! 

Natural turf needs a single to bi-annual renovation to increase infiltration rates, decrease thatching and improve airflow around the plant – this is a timely exercise, and take approximately 3-4 days each time. If this is outsourced, it may cost up to $5,000 in labour alone. In addition, it requires sand to fill the core holes and bring levels back up again. This is estimated to cost up to $15,000 per year if carried out bi-annually. 

Machinery Maintenance
Spray tanks, mowers, greens rollers and other equipment all requires purchasing and maintenance. This can range from anywhere between $1,000 to $7,000 per annum depending on what equipment is owned or hired, plus the cost of servicing as well as repairing any mechanical issues.  

The most expensive aspect of course is a Greenkeeper, often part-time. 

Extended life – how much does this save? 
A synthetic green lasts approximately 10-12 years, and a woven carpet can be freshened up with a flip of the carpet after 6-7 years. Over this time, a club would save up to $420,000 in maintenance costs. Of course, you would want to consider bi-annual servicing of your synthetic green. You may also wish to consider a re-screed when flipping the carpet to re-level the base back to Australian Bowls Standards (only if required). Outside of this, a club may be in front and may have saved approximately $200,000 over the course of the synthetic green surface lifespan. More than enough to repurchase a new surface.  

CASE STUDY: Drouin Bowls Club

Q: What kind of surface did they initially have? 
A: A natural grass green. 

Q: What issues were they facing?

  • Thinning of growth due to Council trees shadowing the green
  • Increased algae issues due to lack of sun from shadowing
  • Inconsistencies in the roll as a result 

A: How Bioscapes Group helped:

We provided a comprehensive consultation and addressed all questions in person at a club meeting, which resulted in the following outcomes: 

  • Re-engineered sub-base drainage 
  • Installed new discharge pipes to remove water from ditches quicker 
  • Repaired existing ditch walls to reduce financial impact of construction 
  • Removed surrounding natural turf and installed concrete footpaths from the clubhouse to the surrounds of the green for clear and safe transition onto the playing surface 
  • Installed the Bioscapes engineered base system 
  • Installed a new woven carpet 

Q: How has this helped the club save money? 

A: In many ways, including:

  • No more maintenance costs, providing a savings of $38K per year.
  • An even and consistent roll and a superior playing experience, increasing membership base. 
  • No hold ups with play due to mowing or maintenance issues, ensuring membership retention and more competitions increasing club income.

How to get a quote? 

Contact us for your free quote and consultation on building your synthetic bowling green today. 

Bioscapes Group looks forward to constructing new and exciting projects, helping to increase clubs’ longevity and save you money.