As a major annual event on the annual Bowls Victoria calendar, the Victorian Open wouldn’t be possible without some special host clubs and their dedicated volunteers. And for the clubs themselves, the tournament represents a wonderful opportunity to support this great game and the state’s wider bowling community.
“I believe it is very important for Bowls Victoria and The Victorian Open to rely on the involvement and commitment of the clubs and their volunteers,” says Bill Gullick, Venue Manager and Secretary of Shepparton Park Bowls Club. “It is probably the only way such a tournament could go ahead each year.”
This sentiment is shared by the Benalla Bowls Club Outdoor Bowls Section (BBC OBS) committee. “It’s incredibly important for the region’s clubs to support our state governing body to help keep our sport present in the minds of people, given the competition of so many other sports,” the committee states.
Why clubs host
So why do these bowls clubs put their hands up to host a Victorian Open event?
“This Club was instrumental in the commencement of the Victorian Open and we have hosted the event since 2011. Our members take great pride in the ongoing successful hosting of the event, which is also a good revenue raiser for our club, albeit a huge amount of work. There is a lot of prestige associated with our involvement,” says Gullick.
“We are fortunate to have four greens at our club – two grass and two carpet. We are able to therefore offer 26 rinks for use at the Victorian Open. Also our club offers many other facilities, such as dining, bar, pokies and a relaxing atmosphere for visitors to mingle with locals after the game,” says the BBC OBS committee.
Benefits of hosting
“This important tournament gives us all an exciting, busy week to look forward to. We have also been able to develop and maintain our top-class facilities as we believe we must do this to deserve the hosting rights,” says Gullick.
“The Victorian Open enables us to showcase our town, our club and our volunteers. It gives visitors an idea of the facilities available and the quality of our greens. If they are looking for a tournament out of the city or district where they live, they would have prior knowledge of our setup,” says the BBC OBS committee.
“In addition, the town of Benalla has many very good motels and lots of attractions to excite visitors. Regionally, Benalla is very well placed offering great attractions both close by and further afield to make a trip to this area worthwhile both for bowls and tourism.”
Victorian Open experiences
“The Open challenges us all each year with long, busy days. The satisfaction in knowing we have done our best and raised valuable revenue for our club is reward enough,” says Gullick.
“At Benalla we enjoy the opportunity to meet other bowlers, watch great bowling and showcase our club. Volunteers meet new people and are willing to give up their time to help their club be a part of something bigger. It’s all positive for everyone’s well-being,” says the BBC OBS committee.
Kalon Huett – Briefcase Media.