SUSAN ALLEN is membership secretary of the Mt Pleasant Bowling Club. After some tough times, including fighting off council plans to turn their beloved rinks into housing, she says the club’s on a (jack) high.
AN innovative program to encourage people of all ages to enjoy learning how to play bowls has been a resounding success at Mt Pleasant Bowling Club.
We started the six-week Bowling Buddies program in October on Tuesday nights and for just $10 each week participants enjoy a gourmet burger and drink before taking to the greens for a fun-filled coaching session.
Up to 50 people across a range of age groups have attended some of the sessions so far.
The bowling club has been thrilled by the interest and we’re planning to host another similar event early next year.
Bowling Buddies was established thanks to a grant from the City of Melville’s Activate program, which seeks to build community connections in local neighbourhoods.
We saw an opportunity to jump on board.
The club wanted to engage the community in being active and developing friendships, and to increase membership. A number of participants have already joined up, with social membership costing just $25 a year.
Mt Pleasant endured some tough times a few years ago and membership numbers fell dramatically, but since securing a 21-year lease on our premises on Bedford Road, Ardross, we’ve gone from strength to strength.
Membership now totals more than 400 and the influx of social participants and new bowlers have included the likes of top WA player Kaye Blackwell, her daughter Donna and state representative Lisa Brannan.
Ms Brannan, who runs her own tennis coaching business, took up bowls just six years ago when she was in her mid-40s and is one of the many club members who come down on a Tuesday night to give some tips.
The camaraderie at the club can be seen from the volunteers who have taken the bookings, to the social members who are manning the kitchen each Tuesday night to the bowling members who are passing on their knowledge.
Space Realty is a sponsor of Mt Pleasant and two of its sales representatives, Charlie Clarke and Chadd Boucher, have attended the sessions.
An email from the club alerted them to the program.
As a social member there is a further opportunity to play bowls with the Scroungers group who play on Wednesdays at 3.30pm.
There is tuition if needed and it’s a fun game.
Social members can also take part in the club’s events and enjoy great prices at the bar.
WE thought ‘what a fantastic initiative, I’ve never bowled before, so let’s go down and check it out’.
Bowling Buddies has dramatically changed my impression of the sport.
What took me back is how much is involved mentally, it’s far more involved than what I thought.
I used to drive past bowling clubs and think that’s just old people rolling a bowl near another one. It’s certainly exceeded my expectations.
WE’RE having great fun.
The first week we explained that bowls have a bias but it was disastrous – there were bowls going everywhere.
The second week our goal was to get them to keep the bowls on their own rink. Then we’ve taught them to score and someone has been the skipper.
There’s lots of families out there, there’s mother-daughter combos, husbands and wives, a couple of girlfriends who have come along and had a good time.
I’m more competitive than just about anyone but my favourite part of bowls is still the friendships I’ve made along the way.