Competitors at a Lawn Bowls Tournament
Full Lawn Bowls Tournaments is the key

Running Lawn Bowls Tournaments is not an easy thing, especially for the uninitiated. There are many questions that need to be asked, such as:

1. How many people can you have?
2. What’s the prize money?
3. What’s the format?
4. Do we cater for the Tournament and what do we do?
5. How do we run the cards/scores?
6. How do we get people to play?
7. Where do we make profit?

Let’s have a look and breakdown the key points to making a Tournament successful.

How many people can you have and what’s the format?

This is the first step in organising Lawn Bowls Tournaments. Firstly, work out how many rinks you can use in total. Speak with your greenskeeper to work out what is possible. While many people don’t like playing right on the edge of “ditch rinks”, if it maximises how many teams you can have, then go for it.

Next, work out the format that you think is achievable. Lawn Bowls Tournaments are primarily identifiable by the format that is chosen. Sometimes, thinking outside the box is not a bad thing in this way. While everybody knows the standard Singles, Pair, Triples and Fours formats, how you work that format out can make you stand out from the bunch.

For example, a Fours Tournament doesn’t have to mean that fours are played all day long. You can split it to one game of fours, then one game of pairs, then another game of pairs with a fours game finishing up the day. Nothing is out of the ordinary anymore when it comes to the format.

Once you know what the format is and how many rinks you can play on, then you will know the total amount of people coming on the day.

What’s the Prize Money?

The prize money for a Lawn Bowls Tournament is a hard thing to work out from scratch. Now that you know how many teams you will have, you need to work out your Entry Fee. The Entry Fee is the most important thing as you will know from the outset how much money you can allocate to the Prize Pool.

The general rule is this – Teams x Entry Fee – Catering = Total Prize Pool. While a Tournament is about making money for the club, you don’t want to be seen to be ripping off Players. It doesn’t take a mathemetician to work out if the club is trying to make money from just the entries alone. So be wary, if a Club tries to do this, it is more than likely you’re not going to fill the Tournament.

If you have a Sponsor on board, that allows you to throw some extra money in to the Prize Pool to make the Tournament more attractive to players. You can also leave some money left over for other things which will be explained later.

Catering for Lawn Bowls Tournaments

Catering can be a difficult one. For a Lawn Bowls Tournament, it’s primarily dependant on how long the tournament will be going for. If it’s a half day tournament, you could potentially do something small like sandwiches or scones. If it’s a full day tournament, you will need to seriously consider what the best catering options are for you.

Generally, you will find some kind of roast options are offered. With the likes of Costco, Coles or Woolworths, ready to go roast chickens, beef or pork can be purchased fairly easily. You can even ask them to cut them up for you.

With the larger catering options available, you should be looking at $5-$10 per head. As stated previously, if you have a sponsor, that money can be used to cover the catering costs. Otherwise, keep the catering costs to a minimum and take that out of the Prize Pool.

Overall Scoring of Lawn Bowls Tournaments

Probably the most difficult thing for a Lawn Bowls Tournament is the scoring side. Long ago, the only way to score a tournament was to use a pen and paper and work it out at the end of the day. This can be slow and cumbersome to do and is prone to mistakes, plus players want to know how they’re ranking through the tournament.

These days there are many different ways to do scoring electronically, but the easiest way by far is using a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

Thankfully a gentleman by the name Geoff Graham has been doing these spreadsheets for over 20 years now. Feel free to join his Facebook group, Free Lawn Bowls Software! Geoff has a spreadsheet which covers almost any type of tournament you can come up with. The best part about it, he can customise them if you have something out of the ordinary.

How do you attract players?

Once everything is planned, attracting players can be the hardest part of it. The first thing to do is create a flyer. The flyer should outline all the details that have been discussed previously.

Now that you have the flyer, how best to promote it? In the early days, flyers used to be handed out and put on the notice boards at Clubs. More recently, emails have been sent out with the flyer attached to be put on the notice boards.

With more and more people understanding how Facebook works, that has been the vehicle of choice to let people know. There is at least one Facebook group per state which highlights tournaments that are coming up. This has always worked well, but you still need to take the phone calls, write out (or put in a spreadsheet) all the players, then hope they turn up on the day with the cash.

Here at Find A Game, we take the worry out of it. By entering an event through the website, it is put on the website list and posted to the appropriate Facebook pages. Players can find it through our many different search options, including our Advanced Search screen.

Find A Game allow players to register and pay for the event from the website itself. Trust me, it will save you hours on end chasing players, following up to make sure they’re coming then having to muck around with cash/card on the day with thousands of dollars floating around.

How do you make a profit out of Lawn Bowls Tournaments?

Many people and Clubs get VERY greedy when it comes to making a Lawn Bowls Tournament a pure money maker. If you try and do this, you will more than likely fail.

As stated earlier in the article, work out what your prize money is going to be. Make your entry fees match as close as possible to your prize pool. If you have sponsorship money, even better! Put all of the sponsorship money towards the prize pool and catering, top up the balance with entry fees and bank the rest.

There are two other easy money makers which should be important in your planning. Firstly, a raffle! Get some local small sponsors on board to help with prizes. Alcohol is always a winner for Tournament raffles, who doesn’t like some free beer/spirits? The better the prizes, the more money will be spent trying to win those prizes.

Secondly (and most importantly), the Club Bar! Depending on the size of the tournament in terms of prize money and the age group you’re catering the Tournament for, a Clubs bar can be the biggest winner on the day. Most Triples and Fours Tournaments will have one person driving which leaves 2-3 others who may partake in a few refreshments. So, make sure the bar is stocked and the drinks are cold.

In Summary……

Make sure it is a fun day for all. If you plan and execute a great tournament, you will find in subsequent years that it isn’t difficult to fill. Play music throughout the day. If you haven’t got a playlist, put the radio on!

One of the most famous quotes absolutely rings true for Lawn Bowls Tournaments. “If you build it, they will come”. And they will come back time and time again.