Most of this letter repeats a letter that I wrote in January 2012 during my first term as the Coronado Lawn Bowling Club President. But, almost a decade later, I am certain that there are many new people in Coronado who could use some explanation of the use of water on the John D. Spreckels Bowling Green.
We citizens of Coronado are truly blessed to live in a place where everyone cares and even more importantly everyone asks questions and offers suggestions and opinions so that we can maintain our fair city in a way that makes it pleasant and us proud. For this reason, it is quite important that we all do our best to understand the things that go on around us and that we seek important information and facts before we speak.
To that end, it is time to explain again the use of water on the lawn bowling green on the corner of Seventh and D Avenue. It is best to understand this by understanding the origin of this 85-year-old green. The first Coronado Lawn Bowling grass green was installed in 1935 and a club was formed, the Coronado Lawn Bowling Club (CLBC), “to provide the residents of this city with a means of recreation which embraces all the elements of good fellowship, good sportsmanship and friendly competition.”
And so it continued until the Green was demolished to serve as a staging area for the building of the Coronado Library addition. By the time the Green was demolished, the estimated costs of maintaining a grass green, as with lawn bowling greens around the world, was approximately $20,000 to $30,000 annually (now probably $40,000+). So, when it came time to rebuild the green, our City did what hundreds of other communities around the world have done and are doing, they chose a new artificial turf green with an estimated annual maintenance cost of approximately $600. In addition, the CLBC pledged to provide most of the day-to-day green maintenance.
But why “water” artificial turf? The technology of this turf, which is created specifically for lawn bowling greens, is such that the green turf layer is resting on a 10-to-11-millimeter (less than 5/8 inch) bed of sand. Dampening the green hardens the sand, just like the water at the edge of the ocean dampens the beach making it hard and smooth while the sand further on shore is soft and gives way under foot. In addition, the dampening ensures that the sand layer does not sift up through the turf to be blown away, which would eventually destroy the green, leaving it rippled and wavy and useless. Dampening is only necessary before the green is used for regular play and then, only for 3 to 5 minutes.
In 2020, there were almost 2,883 uses of the Spreckels Lawn Bowling Green (despite complete closure for two months of the pandemic). The CLBC volunteered 19 person days of physical maintenance work at no cost. While individual play continues daily, seven days a week, the Green does not need dampening for this form of light activity and the water is turned off. When normal play returns, dampening will only be done as the weather conditions and group play suggest and will always be done judiciously and as sparingly as possible.
Just as we all pass by many of our small parks and love and admire them, many of our citizens derive pleasure in having this perfect and unique square of green on the corner of Seventh and D Avenue.