The key to surviving in a marketplace diminished by smoking, gambling and service of alcohol regulations is to create a non-club experience for patrons, says Yamba Bowling and Recreation Club’s CEO, Phil Boughton.
“That’s what we want to create … there is no escaping the idea that the perception of a bowling club is the musky smell of old people … we’re trying to break that mould; trying to tell people that this bowling club is not that kind of venue.”
Mr Boughton is talking about his club’s soon to be completed $3million family leisure centre, which includes four lanes of 10 pin bowling, 18 holes of mini golf, 15 metres of traverse climbing wall, a new 35 space car park and fully renovated toilet facilities.
“We’re impressed with Rohrig Construction’s professionalism during the build, which is on time and under budget,” he said.
“We are extremely excited to confirm the centre will be open before the Christmas school holidays.
“Successful clubs are reinvesting their capital into communities where they see a specific need and then try and create something to fulfil that need.”
Citing other clubs, which Mr Boughton said have “created a shopping centre, another has created a medical centre”, for example, “it is fair to say that any club not diversifying their income opportunities leave themselves vulnerable”.
“What we are trying to do is protect the members’ assets, so we can continue what we do with bowls, because at the end of the day that’s what one of our main objectives is: the promotion of and participation in bowls,” he said.
“We have to protect the members’ assets, so we continue to do those things.”
Things have improved markedly since the extensive makeover of the Boardwalk Bar, too.
“In the first quarter, revenue has increased three-fold, which is new money [for the club].”