Greener pastures for Matua Bowls

The money will go towards converting two grass greens to synthetic surfaces. Supplied photos.

A $70,000 grant will go towards converting two grass greens to synthetic surfaces at Bowls Matua.

The grant is being gifted to the organisation by the New Zealand Community Trust.

Bowls Matua depends on a stable membership and casual players who provide revenue from subscriptions, green fees, raffles, bar purchases, and card games, as well as sponsors, advertisers, and other activities, says a statement from the New Zealand Community Trust.

"This income is always under pressure as costs rise, particularly grass greens which account for $60-80,000 of total operating costs.

"By converting to artificial surfaces, the club will break the increasing cost cycle."

With artificial surfaces it will be able to welcome casual bowlers, lower maintenance costs, and eliminate the risk of damaging grass greens, says club president Cliff Osborne.

“Bowls Matua is a bowls club that has a heart for the community. It sees its role as a social beacon for the many community groups that use its facilities.

"The synthetic surfaces being installed allow the club to be more financially sustainable and as a consequence is able to waive fees for community groups wishing to hold meetings and functions.

"But, on the flip side, people join as bowls members. The synthetic surfaces now enable the club to operate all through winter when most bowls clubs are closed for grass maintenance.”

This project also means that Bowls Matua can become an effective and affordable host to a variety of community events on a more regular basis.

The project has no competition with nearby facilities and works in partnership with a range of other nearby sports and community events.

Established in 1966, Bowls Matua is a combined club of 188 playing members, plus 45 non-playing members, and more than 3000 registered casual members.

It currently maintains three greens - two maniatoto and one synthetic.

It is a community-focused club with charitable status that provides an important social and recreational hub on the Matua Reserve.

It works closely with the Tauranga Council to rejuvenate the reserve to attract more community participation.

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