Paritutu’s Walsh a master of the art of greenkeeping


Mike Walsh is the greenkeeper at Paritutu Bowling Club which will be the headquarters for the New Zealand championships for fours and mixed pairs from Thursday.

Every morning 80-year-old Mike Walsh hops on his bike and cycles 100 metres down the road to his second home, Paritutu Bowling Club.

Walsh is the New Plymouth-based club’s greenkeeper, a role he takes seriously, arriving at 6.30am each day.

“I watch all the games, I watch the people, I don’t like people ripping our green up with their shoes.

“I’ve made people change their shoes.”


Keeping the greens in tip-top shape is a job Mike Walsh takes seriously.

It’s been a busy month for Walsh as the club hosted the Taranaki Open Fours tournament in January and will be home to the National Fours and Mixed Pairs tournament starting Thursday.

It takes 2000 steps to mow the green and Walsh aims to have it at a speed of 17 seconds, which means it takes the ball 17 seconds to get from one side to the other.

Walsh, who won the Taranaki Open tournament with his team in 1993, waters the greens every night for 3 minutes, then the sprinklers are set for 12 minutes at 1am as that’s the coldest time of the night, and he fertilises them every three weeks.

“People see the green but don’t see the time that goes into it.”

The greens are normally mown three times a week, but come tournament time, they’re done every day.


Some days Mike Walsh is on the job until 10pm.

“We take a lot of pride in our greens and I’ve got 180 members to answer to.”

Walsh, who has no lawn of his own at home, said Paritutu Bowling Club is considered one of the best greens in the country.

His first stint at the club was in the 1990s. He then came back upon returning from Australia twelve years ago.

“The greens were shocking. The chap that was doing them asked for a hand and I said ‘as long as you do it my way’.”

Walsh has stepped back somewhat this year after having open heart surgery, but he still oversees everything the other keepers do, calling himself the greens superintendent.



Mike Walsh is a bowler himself and his team won the Taranaki Open tournament in 1993.
The time Walsh spends maintaining the green sees him there until 10pm some days.

When asked if he had a partner who may object to this kind of dedication away from home, Walsh proudly declared he’d been married for 61 years.

“She understands my commitment down here, she’s a bowler herself,” he said.

“The other greens she goes to aren’t up to the same standard, but not many are up to this standard.”

Article courtesy of – by Stephanie Ockhuysen, February 22, 2024