Joining a club is a big step on your journey into lawn bowls, but how do you choose the right lawn bowls club for you? Some players will be lucky and feel at home at the first club they visit, though for others it may not be so simple. The list below is our advice on how to choose a lawn bowls club.
How to choose a lawn bowls club: Important Factors
If you can see yourself becoming the kind of player who wants to practice a lot, this is a very important factor. Many bowlers will have multiple practice sessions per week, so you don’t want to be driving 30 minutes each way to do it. Other location considerations include car parking if you’ll be driving to the club or access to public transport if not.
If you enjoy bowls as much as the rest of us, you’ll be spending a lot of time at your club. Make sure it’s a place you want to be! Different clubs hold different values, some are very competitive, others are more relaxed. Find a club that suits your personality.
If you’re a new bowler, you don’t want to have to spend hundreds of bowlers before you’ve decided whether you love the game or not (though we’re sure you will). Most clubs will offer new bowlers access to loan bowls and other equipment for a period of time. That will allow you time before you need to attend your local bowls shop and pick a set.
Access to practice
It’s important to find a club that suits your schedule. Some clubs allow members to access the greens for practice 24/7, while others will have set practice times.
Surface and Facilities
Do you like bowling on grass or synthetic surfaces? What is the weather like where you live? Many clubs have invested in putting shelters over their greens so that they can play in all weather conditions, though if you’re a traditionalist you may prefer a club with a traditional grass green.
Another important consideration is the standard of bowls you want to play. If you’re looking to play high level bowls, it is worth your time looking for a club that is qualified for higher divisions. A note, however, that it may take many years to get into the top side at a big club. You may actually find yourself playing a higher grade at a smaller club than if you are playing in the third or fourth side at a big one.
Membership fees vary substantially from club to club. If you’re new to the sport, it is worthwhile asking prospective clubs if they have an introductory special for new members. This can save a lot of money.
If you’re in Australia, Bowls Australia has prepared a handy find-a-club tool to help you see the clubs near you.
What matters most to you in choosing a club? Let us know in the comments below.