Girls on the green

by admin on April 30, 2015

Castlemaine Bowling Club, like many bowling clubs in Australia are struggling to obtain new female members; however the club has been proactive in their quest to attract ladies onto their greens.  

The age demographic for female members at Castlemaine Bowling Club shows that half their ladies are over 75 and a further quarter are over 79. 

With an aging population and low recruitment numbers, it was clear measures needed to be taken immediately; therefore a recruitment sub committee was formed with the responsibility of organising and supervising recruitment programs. 

From this, ‘Girls on the Green’ was born!

Castlemaine offered an enjoyable barefoot bowls experience with music, great food, a glass of bubbly or juice and they accommodated workers by running the competition for an hour 15 minutes, one night per week, over a four week period. 

This seemed to strike a chord with the local female population because on the first night over 20 ladies swarmed through the gates. 

Over four weeks the attendance grew to 80 with Castlemaine taking the proactive approach by taking contact details of ladies who seemed keen to return; a total of 58 ladies registered their details. 

Participants ranged from family members to workmates but all were novice bowlers that enjoyed playing bowls over a shorter time frame.

The spin off from this success was that in the New Year Castlemaine decided to formalise the sessions and create a competition. 

Castlemaine registered for Jack Attack, a program that replicates the successful Australian Premier League that is now sweeping the nation. 

The Jack Attack program is designed to increase bowling participation and give our large number of barefoot bowlers the option to compete in a competition that fills the gap between social/barefoot bowls and competitive pennant comps; over 60 clubs across the country have signed up and already reaping the benefits. 

Spreading the word about Jack Attack was made easier thanks to the data base of names, phone numbers and email addresses collected during ‘Girls on the Green’ and a social media campaign using Facebook was also underway to attract new participants. 

Castlemaine attracted 10 teams of three or four ladies and in a great coup for the club they have gathered a group of new participants, along with many of the existing ‘Girls on the Green’ group.

Overall these new programs at Castlemaine have been a huge success and the best result is the fun had by all and the comradeship developed between the ladies. 

Castlemaine are confident they will gain new female members and the hard work will have certainly paid off.

The Girls on Grass program was an initiative originally developed by the Ballarat District Bowls Division in November 2013 to attract more women and girls to participate in bowls.

Female participation in Victoria when compared to male participation is quite low, with females making up just 31% of the total members and just 28% of participants (barefoot and social bowlers) less than 60 years of age.

It’s for these reasons that BDBD identified a need to create a flexible program that didn’t require a huge time commitment from participants and allows them to learn the sport in a fun and social environment.

A number of ladies have joined clubs since their involvement in the program showing that this type of initiative is a great way of attracting new members.

To find a Jack Attack club near you, check out the Jack Attack website for a full list of clubs Australia wide.