PEOPLE'S CLUB: Bruce Johnston said the bowls club is willing to adapt to welcome young people.
PEOPLE'S CLUB: Bruce Johnston said the bowls club is willing to adapt to welcome young people. Claudia Williams

Bowls club making changes to survive

LAWN BOWLS: The Kingaroy Bowls Club is adapting to keep the sport alive in the community.

The club's eight week social corporate league competition for South Burnett businesses, which started in 2016, has seen new faces on the greens and has attracted five new members to the club.

The summer season, which wrapped up this week, was contested between 18 teams of four.

Troy Schultz Realty finished on top ahead of a team from Kingaroy Bowls Club and Millers Kingaroy.

"It is great getting out here and playing casual bowls, not really worrying about the outcome and having a laugh,” Schultz said.

Club president John Lacey organises the league and is proud to see it grow each season.

"A lot of new bowlers have joined the league, they are learning and they have picked the game up very quickly,” he said.

"We have got to try and get the young ones into it and this league is a good excuse to come out and have some fun and a few beers with work mates.”

Bruce Johnston has been a club member for 30 years.

The sport is in his blood with his grandparents being founding members of the Kingaroy club.

As the greens director Johnston spends 30 hours a week ensuring Kingaroy has the best playing surface in the district.

When Johnston started the club had three greens and he is passionate about reinventing the club to make sure they can hold on to their two greens.

"We are only custodians of the club for a short period of time and the next generation will have to come through and it is theirs,” he said.

"We have got to change with the times. If anyone wants a certain type of competition we will try and accommodate them.

"We have changed with the times before and we will change again.”

Visitors to the club said the Kingaroy greens were the best in country south-east Queensland and it is this feedback that keeps Johnston dedicated to the job.

"It is something I hope I can leave for the younger people of the district,” he said.

"I hope I can keep them going as they are so people can come along and play on very competitive greens.”

Johnston is calling on the younger generation to speak up and tell the club what they would like to see.

"As older bowlers we play for three hours but we have got to change if the younger generation don't want that type of thing we will accommodate them for what they want.

"We would like to see people come along with some ideas on how we can accommodate them on our greens.”

The club will be home to Kingaroy's Big Peanut and this is one way the club's board is looking to diversify.

"We have got a very active board at the present time and we are being pro active,” Johnston said.

"I don't think we can survive on bowls alone this club and we have to become a little bit more commercialised with the kitchen, bar, Christmas parties and bingo.”

South Burnett

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