Inclement weather and patchy grass have made the Wonthaggi Bowls Club’s greens unplayable since April and are not expected to be playable until September.  rg032516

Inclement weather and patchy grass have made the Wonthaggi Bowls Club’s greens unplayable since April and are not expected to be playable until September. rg032516

THE Wonthaggi Bowls Club is in desperate need to replace its two grass greens with synthetic greens, according to a number of passionate members.
Wonthaggi is one of the only clubs in South Gippsland with two grass greens, which impacts heavily on the availability of greens during winter.
Both greens have been unplayable since April and neither green is expected to be playable until September.
The front green has been used on just one occasion during the past two years, due to its poor condition.
The two greens cost about $61,000 to maintain per year.
With two synthetic greens costing around $450,000 with a 10-year lifespan, the decision to switch to synthetic will save the club money in the long run.
The club’s recent AGM saw 71 attendees vote on whether to install synthetic greens. Only three members voted against a move to synthetic.
Synthetic green subcommittee member Alan McFayden said the only option for Wonthaggi is to install synthetic greens, allowing members to bowl year-round.
“The restrictions were alright when there was no alternative to grass. You just had to accept it in this part of the world,” he said.
“Then synthetic came along. It was pretty ordinary at the start but now they’ve got rid of all the bugs in it and they’re really good surfaces.
“We were at Cowes yesterday and I don’t know how many people said ‘How’s that synthetic going?’ and there wasn’t one person who we spoke to who wasn’t in agreeance with us. They can’t understand why it hasn’t happened before.”
Alan and fellow member Rod Beech are steering the subcommittee, which has started with a feasibility study to estimate costs of the project.
The club will attempt to encourage members to support the project with debentures, where a member provides money for the costs, and receives interest and 10 per cent of their debenture back each year.
Rod said the change was vital to keep the 105 year-old club alive.
“We’re the third biggest club in the association,” he said.
“Korumburra’s got two synthetics, Leongatha has two synthetics, Phillip Island’s got two synthetics, Inverloch’s getting two synthetics and they’re all the two-green clubs. We’re the only one left with grass.”