If there is something more quintessentially Australian than getting into some barefoot bowls on a sunny afternoon, then we have never heard of it. Right here on the Gold Coast, this pastime has never been more at home; mixed with our relaxed lifestyle and incredible weather, bowls and the Gold Coast are simply made for one another.
Trends have changed, and bowls is no longer associated with just the elder portion of society (apart from the fact most of these folks are pretty good when it comes to hitting the greens), because why should they have all the fun!? The slow-paced and uber sociable aspects of this game are what time off in the sunshine is all about: no rushing around required at all.
Here are four spots to spend an untroubled afternoon sipping drinks and enjoying some fine food — all with a dash of competition thrown in there for good measure!
Burleigh Heads Bowls Club
This is the place to gather your squad and spend an arvo when you find yourself in the bustling heartland of Burleigh Heads. Steeped in history dating back to 1937, the historic club has barefoot bowls available between 12pm – 5pm on Sunday afternoons for only $10 per person (Tuesday to Saturday, you can play after 5pm). Due to its insane popularity, there are two sessions – from 12pm to 2.30pm and 2.30pm to 5pm. Make sure you book! If you’ve never played barefoot bowls, don’t worry, they even have coaches to help get you started. Once you’ve worked up a hunger from all the action, the Village Green restaurant is right on hand seven days a week with a plethora of great dishes and specials.
Where: Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads
Tugun Bowls Club
Located on Kaleena Street, Tugun Bowls and Community Club is a club run by bowlers for bowlers, with the prettiest of manicured greens and good times aplenty. Perpetually bathed in glorious sunshine, why not enjoy a drink from the well-stocked bar or eat up a storm five days a week. Every Thursday, you’ll find 50% off the menu — so be sure to book ahead for a table as it gets busy! Picnic by the Green is a lively barefoot bowls session kicking off at 2pm on Sundays with live entertainment and a selection of tasty street food at your disposal. All that is left is to insert you and your gang for $10 per rink.
Where: Kaleena St, Tugun
Broadbeach Bowls Club
The official home of the Commonwealth Games lawn bowls contingent, Broadbeach Bowls Club is just steps from the beach and offers a great way to spend an afternoon. Every Sunday from 9am – 9pm (the most extended barefoot session on the Coast), you and your squad — as well as 50+ others — can enjoy two hours of fun for only $10 per person. Choose between one of four championship-level greens — and let the games begin! The Matador Bistro is also home to a huge and inspired menu, with drool-worthy sections devoted to dishes from the grill, seafood platters, pizzas and more.
Where: 169 Surf Pde, Broadbeach
Club Musgrave Bowls
Tucked away in Southport, you’ll find this stellar venue of bowls and one of the oldest clubs on the entire Coast. Carefree barefoot bowls is available throughout the week across their fully shaded greens and is only $5 per person! So turn up, throw off your shoes, and you’re well on your way to having some serious fun! At heart, a community-driven club, there’s always entertainment going down across the weekend, raffles galore, and kids are made most welcome. Bistro 4215 is your go-to after you’ve hit the greens, for a refreshing bevvie and tasty tucker. It’s also worth noting, locals should plan ahead, as their courtesy bus can really make the afternoon hitting the green a breeze.
Where: 104 Musgrave Avenue, Southport
Words by Alex Mitcheson.