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Barefoot Bowls Frankston

Know Your Value as a Venue

November 26th, 2020 by

You’re Not “Just a Bowling Club”

Bowling clubs hold a unique sense of value. They represent a feeling of community and history with names and flags that dress the walls, there aren’t many places like it. Clubhouses come in sizes big and small. Some are modern and others are old. Within the walls of a bowling club people find an escape, a little oasis where the club becomes their world and life’s stresses drift away. This feeling that you know as a member to a bowls club, is the feeling that your guests will pay to experience.  

“It’s for the cheap drinks and affordable venue hire” some will say, although whilst that is true, we all know that it is more than that. A bowling club is a ‘venue’ by definition, no different to that of the local pub or restaurant. So why will people choose to host a function at a bowling club over the local hotel function room?  

Activity Based Function Venues are Rare

Activity based functions are better for social mingling and teamwork-based agendas for corporate events. This is a huge selling point for bowling clubs as well as bowling alleys, escape rooms and very few others. Barefoot bowling is typically much cheaper and will often last much longer. People pay thirty dollars per person for ten pin bowling, which may only last an hour. Add in the over-priced food and bar costs, then once the game is done, they need to leave. The booking there is only good for as long as the guests can drag out the game, or until the next booking comes in.  

Lawn Bowls Gold CoastMost bowls clubs are catching on that charging per person, rather then per rink provides better profits. However, some clubs are hesitant to charge properly. We’ve heard of some clubs charging as little as $5 per person and others who confidently ask for $25. Barefoot Bowls function reservations can last for up to four hours for that price, whilst time on rinks can vary. Either way, even at a conservative $15 per person you’re offering a venue for far cheaper and longer than most venues, anywhere.  

“But it’s not fancy, so we can’t charge that” clubs have said. It’s not true, that very same dated carpet, vintage furniture and far too off-white wall colour are exactly what add to your value. Keep your club clean and people will love hanging out in a venue with true character and history. Also, this can’t be stressed enough: keep your club clean. Out-dated interiors and exteriors in need of maintenance do not matter if your club is clean. You’ll find guests will spend more and stay longer. 

So what do we know about pricing, and what is the best way to charge? Charge per person, if you’re in a regional area start with $10, if you’re in a metro suburb go in at $15 and if you’re getting popular hike it up to $20 in the peak season. Charge them per person for people attending. Not just for people bowling, everyone ‘attending’. Don’t worry if not everyone bowls, because they are paying for more than just the use of your greens. They’ll use your clubrooms and have their own designated space for hours, all inclusive. You are a ‘venue’ and that is valuable to rent out, so you need to know your worth.  

So, how many people per rink?

Base your rink reservationTewantin Noosa Bowls Club Functionss on ten people per rink, but if you have fourty people they don’t need four rinks. We all know they’ll want it when they arrive but not everyone bowls at the same time and some not at all. After an hour on the greens, that same group of fourty will have ten people still bowling at best. Why? Because they are too distracted by the thirty-odd people around them that are drinking, talking and listening to the music on your speakers.  

Remember, you are a venue that offers an experience that no other venue can offer. Own that. Welcome people into the club like they’re your own members and give them a little taste of your oasis. If you do that, you’ll have repeat customers for life along with their friends and family.  

Barefoot Bowls Randwick

The Perfect Barefoot Bowls Tutorial for Clubs

November 9th, 2020 by

The Perfect Bowls Tutorial to give Barefoot Bowlers.

Bowls tutorials are a crucial, yet often a miscalculated step by bowling clubs. When people come to your club as part of an event or a barefoot bowls party, there is a high change that a majority of them have not bowled before. Us as bowlers, can often get so excited about our sport that we want to tell them everything. Don’t do that, you’ll scare them off but more importantly they will lose interest throughout your tutorial. Remember that the important of the tutorial is to get them bowling and having fun, whilst respecting your greens and your club.

Think of a this like you would an ‘elevator pitch’ for a salesperson, you’ve got about 2 minutes until the lift stops, or in this case until you lose their attention. You know what it’s like – people have often just arrived, they have a drink in their hand and they’re catching up with friends and family that they probably haven’t seen for a while. For them, this bowls tutorial is just something they were told “they had to do”. So your goal as a club now, is to make this tutorial quick, fun and informative.


Insightful tips, before the tutorial

So what is the perfect bowls tutorial, and what information is too much? Let’s break it down into steps. If you’re looking for handbook or a ‘how-to’ training guide for your staff or volunteers, feel free to use these 5 simple steps.

Before we jump into the 5 steps, let’s cover 2 highly recommended setup suggestions.

1. Don’t put the bowls out, before you’re their to run the tutorial.

If you can avoid it, don’t put the bowls out until you’ve had a chance to do your tutorial. Some clubs aren’t fussed if they start bowling on their own, but some are protective of their greens, and for good reason! They’re the central point of your club.

2. Gather everyone (or a large majority) of the group before you start.

If you don’t do this, you’ll have people coming back from the bar or toilet midway and they’ll ask what’s going on. The group will start telling them, and they’re lost before you’ve even started.


Six simple steps as a script, to giving the perfect bowls tutorial

Now, when you’re group is ready to bowl head out there and get front and centre. It’s go time!

Stand on the green and have everyone huddle around you as best they can, either on the bank or the green (depending on the club). Once they’re all there and you have their attention:


1. Grab a mat and a jack, leave the bowls on the bank (or the edge of the green) for now.

“This is the mat, you can place the mat anywhere on this line, that lines up with your rink number ‘#’. You’ll see a rink number on either end, your rink numbers today are ‘#’ and ‘#’. Once you place the mat down, you’ll need to roll the jack (this little white ball) to the other end. Once you roll it…”

[Now, don’t roll it to the other end yourself – that will take too long and distract from your tutorial. Do an example towards the end you’re at by rolling it out of your hand no more than a metre.]

“… to the other end of course :), you keep the distance of the roll and just line it up with the rink number line on the other side. If it goes in the ditch, try again or just put it on this ‘T’ marker. Now you’re ready to play.

[They don’t need to know that there is a minimum length, or that they get two attempts at rolling the jack before it goes on the ‘T’. Keep the game accessible and stick with the basics, so they can get out on the green and try our great game for themselves.]

2. Grab a bowl. The intrigue is growing, this is what they came here for!

“Every bowl has a big circle and a little circle [point to them for the group], the weight is at the little circle. So whether your decide to direct your roll to the left or to the right, the little circle always needs to be facing the jack. It’ll turn itself back in. I’d suggest aiming for the outside rink markers on either side to start with. It’s not perfect, but that will help you get a feel of how the bias, or weight, in the bowls work. When you’re bowling you just need to keep one foot on the mat at all times like this.”

“When rolling the bowl, it is extremely important that you don’t drop them. Our surfaces are fragile so please help us keep them in good condition. When you bowl, you need to bowl and ROLL the bowl like this”

[Show them without rolling the bowl, otherwise they’ll be distracted until it stops and then you’ve invited commentary and chatter amongst the group. But you’ve still got your house rules to announce and they come last, so if nothing else – they remember your club rules.]

4. How to play. They’ve got the details, now they want to battle their friends!

“To play you’ll have two bowls each, or four for smaller groups. This helps keep traffic down for you on the other end to get through. Split into two groups and pick a position, like 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. Then, you’ll play in your positions whilst battling the player on the other team in the same position. So, your 1st, their 1st, your 1st, their 1st, then your 2nd, their 2nd and so on; until you’ve all bowled. Then you all go down to the other end and it’s time to score.”

[We’re not going to tell them that the 4th is a captain and they stand at the other end to direct the other bowlers. That’s far too lonesome and serious for that matter, for a social setting. Don’t bother explaining that in pennant there is four v four, where we use two bowls each. Whereas triples, doubles and singles all use four each. Their focussed on getting a bowl in their hands and giving it a go, so let them do that.]

5. How to Score. For the competitive ones in the group, you have their full attention again!

“There are two ways to score, the social way or the competitive way. If it’s all just for fun, closest to the jack wins that end for their team. Or the actual way to score is closest still wins, but every bowl is worth a point for your team, until the oppositions’ bowl cuts you off. So if you have the 1st and 2nd closest but the opposition has 3rd closest, they’ve cut you off at 2 points. Whoever wins the end, that team gets to roll the jack to try and set the ideal distance for their team.”

“I’d suggest playing first to 10 points for now, then you’ll see who’s keen to play and who’s just keen to hangout and drink.”

[Don’t worry about telling them that in pennant its 21 ends, or that intraclub comps for can be first to 21 points, etc. We as bowlers love to play bowls for hours, they just want to give it a try. Put them on their way and in an hour’s time, most will be done with bowls and onto your bar selection.]

6. House Rules. They’re keen, they’re ready, now hit them with the house rules.

“As you may have guessed, it’s no drinking on the green and its shoes off to play (or flat shoes depending on the club). You can carry the drinks around the green on the banks, in-between ends. Losers carry the drinks is a nice way to make that process bearable! Now don’t drop the bowls when playing, make sure you roll them for us please and above all have fun guys. I’ll be around if you have any questions throughout. Thanks!”


Job Done. Now you can step back and give them the space to enjoy the game amongst themselves!


Don’t lose sight of why the Barefoot Bowlers are there

Just remember, the goal of every bowls tutorial for barefoot bowlers is to make it quick, fun and informative. If you take too long with explanations, they will start talking and joking between themselves. Very much like a group of school kids, and once you’ve lost them – you’re no longer the fun teacher because you’ll find yourself asking them to ‘stop talking and listen’. Now you’re the strict teacher. So keep it light-hearted but above all, let them know that they’re welcome and you want them to have fun!


Run Multiple Functions to Capitalise on Enquiries

November 9th, 2020 by

Allocate Your Function Spaces

Running multiple functions on one day, simultaneously, is something that must be mastered. It’s not only good for business, it also creates an intoxicating atmosphere for your guests. Doing this successfully is all about allocating your function spaces clearly. You might be thinking ropes or cordoning off areas, some spaces made for fifty people and others for ten people. Although you’ll rarely get enquiries for those exact numbers, for your pre-determined sections. So you’ll need a flexible system.

Allocating function spaces is important for managing groups and knowing how many people you can fit at your club at any given time. However this is also much more about appeasing your paying guests and delivering them a ‘lot of land’ and reserved seating for their money. All the sales talk and lawn bowls are not nearly as valuable as people being able to call a space their own for the day. On that patch of earth that they have been allocated, people want to know the boundaries of their space. They want to know how much they have and at when to know if someone crosses that line by moving into their territory. This may all seem rather trivial, but it leads to much happier customers. As you host more functions, you’ll realise that a surprising number of people will perceive value based on a reserved space.


Ensure you have enough seating space

The first thing to acknowledge is that people need seating. This is crucial. They also want to be close to where they will be bowling. Lastly and most importantly, the longer the function goes on, they just want somewhere to put their drink and chat amongst each other (often standing). Most clubs have outdoor tables, most common amongst clubs are picnic tables. They are a great solution for versatility.

Where possible setup rows of picnic tables, so when you allocate groups to tables you’re able to draw a clear imaginary line of their entitled space for the day. Almost every club has benches on either end of the rinks, but this cannot be counted as seating. This is a bonus for people to take advantage of mid-game, no different to how your members use them. Get your tables as close to the rinks as possible and when allocating them, align the rinks accordingly. Try not to have groups crossing one another to get to from the table to the rink, it will be messy and cause them angst.


Make sure you have enough shade

Everyone loves a day in the sun, which is one of the biggest draw cards for barefoot bowls functions. However, this also presents on of the biggest oxymoron’s in that everyone still wants and needs shade. Whether your solution is umbrellas, shade cloth or huge surrounding trees that cover your table areas; you will need something to shade them.


Be prepared, before people arrive

All theory explained, you’ll need a Runsheet on the day. Whether you’re a visual thinking and your prefer a drawn map of tables with rinks, or you simply number your tables to correspond to your rink numbers. Think this through and come up with a solution that works for your club, your staff and your volunteers. Because when those functions turn up early or late and you’ve got two groups at once, they need to be ‘seated’ as soon as possible. They won’t relax until they can put that box of bread for the BBQ or party decorations down, to claim their space.

You’ll need to be ready to seat them quickly and effectively. The last thing you want to do it double book an area or accidentally sit someone in an area and have to move them. Remember that patch of earth that people see value in? If you tell someone it’s theirs, then move them, you’ll impinge on their territory and they’ll be uneasy for the next hour or so (at least). This might sound finicky but put yourself in their shoes if you were seated to dinner at a restaurant and then they moved you. It’s no different, and either way it ruins the flow of the event.

Get thinking about your spaces and plan ahead, so you can accept reservations knowing where they can fit. Know where you can fit fourty people or three groups of fifteen, hopefully you can re-arrange the same area to capitalise on space.