Survive or shut down? That is the question many licensed sporting clubs are asking across the country.
Survival was the option taken by the Belmont Bowling Club near Newcastle when it decided to call for expressions of interest from nearby clubs to amalgamate and after 18 months it has settled on Belmont Golf Club as the site of its new premises.
Bowling Club President Trevor Gasson said the club had seen better times and been adversely affected by the loss of one of their two greens.
“We were struggling as a separate unit; it’s a competitive market in Belmont and we also lost a green in the superstorm which hit the Hunter region in April 2015 so for two years we have only had one green which has had a serious impact on us,” Gasson said.
Belmont Golf Club was one of seven licensed clubs to respond to the Expression Of Interest.
“The Bowls Club is 87 years old this year and we wanted to ensure that future generations would be there; It has been a very involved process but we are very happy with the outcome,” Gasson said.
The two bodies signed a Memorandum of Understanding in August which set out the physical and financial details of the merger.
The most important element of the process was that the Bowling Club sell its property and allocate the sale funds to the relocation; That has now happened with the Club securing a reported $4.8M for the Belmont property.
A Transition Committee comprising representatives from both Clubs has now been formed to oversee and assist with the management of the transfer of the Bowling Club’s activities to the Golf Club.
The Committee’s duties will include oversight of the construction of two new covered synthetic bowling greens, construction of locker room facilities for use by bowlers, construction of an office area for the Men’s and Women’s Bowling Club and Bowls Coordinator, the provision of additional car parking and the relocation of Bowling Club activities to the Golf Club premises.
The proposal to amalgamate has been presented to the members of both Clubs and received overwhelming support.
Golf Club General Manager Glenn Howard said it was a very positive move for both entities.
“The merger will be a win-win for both organisations,” Howard said.
“We were looking at ways to diversify; The new bowls greens will be a great attraction and will hopefully allow us to host major bowling events in Lake Macquarie.”
Bowls Australia President Darryl Clout, a Belmont Golf Club member, agrees with Mr Howard.
“This is one of those situations where common sense and goodwill between the two groups has prevailed,” Clout said.
“When completed this facility will be a model for clubs across the country, both in terms of the way it will operate as a sporting venue and the professional manner in which it has been achieved and will be operated.
“I would encourage any Club Board with concerns about their future to take a serious look at how this merger has been handled; I am sure the Board and management of the Club would be happy to share how they have reached this point and what their plans are for capitalising on this new relationship.
“I would also like to congratulate both Clubs’ Boards and their members for the decision they had taken; Both Clubs have long and proud histories and the decision to strengthen both their positions ensures that there are many good years ahead for both Bowls and Golf in this area.”
For further detail about this merger contact Glenn Howard at [email protected].
Caption: Belmont Golf Club president Lyn Cooper and Belmont Bowling Club counterpart Trevor Gasson. Picture: Simone De Peak.