Merthyr proves bowls clubs are the place to be this summer

by Lachlan Williams

One Queensland bowls club is proving your local club is the place to be this summer, riding the wave of a recent award with huge success.

Travel website Wotif recently crowned Brisbane’s Merthyr Bowls Club as Best Bowls Club in Australia in their 2020 Uniquely Aussie Awards.

Following the announcement in October, the club has been inundated with interested bowlers and patrons. So much so, they are booked out for barefoot bowls until next year.

Merthyr general manager and president Phil Shilvock said this time of year is usually a busy one for the club, but they have been run off their feet since the award announcement.

“With Christmas parties and corporate people we are usually pretty busy, but there isn’t a spare spot on our green for weeks,” he said.

“A lot of people have said the award was a bit of recognition for our club’s work, which is nice to hear.

“I have been here for 22 years and absolutely love it.”

Mr Shilvock said clubs around the country are in great positions to similarly capitalise on visitors this summer.

“Having the outdoor venue helps deal with COVID restrictions that other places like restaurants might not be able to do,” he said.

“With people wanting to get back out and about and enjoy something different, I think bowls clubs are the perfect place to be.”

Merthyr has capitalised on their unique situation after the award win, utilising the publicity to the fullest.

They have since become involved with Bowls Australia programs Jack Attack and BPL Cup, as well as built a new website, refreshing their brand to showcase why they won the Best Bowls Club in Australia and cater for the increased attention.

Al Hunt, a bowls member at the club, put his former career skills to use in helping the club make the most of the recent award. Leading customer experience programs at companies including AT&T and Suncorp, Mr Hunt saw great opportunity to support Merthyr by sharing what contributed to their unique position.

“After a few days of the article going live we had over 1000 inquiries to our site,” he said.

“It was important to build on the positive momentum resulting from customer feedback to Wotif travel in their references to exceptional experiences of service and fine food at this magical, boutique style bowls club on the water.”

“If you live in Brisbane, Merthyr is an icon with a lot of history to it and still with its charm of the ‘old bowls club’,” he said.

“The location is second to none and everyone who visits raves about the experience they had.”

“We had close to 20,000 bowlers in 2019, not including those who just dine or drink. So with the recent boost it has been crucial to work out how we continue to engage both existing customers and accommodate guests curious to experience the magic themselves for the first time.

“The new website and refreshed brand captures some of Merthyr’s success strategy.”

Click here to visit the new and improved site, which now features video of their BPL Cup hosting experience.

With summer upon us, Merthyr’s positive and proactive attitude is a great example of what could await many other clubs throughout the country.