Bendigo set to bowl over the Commonwealth

Published: 14 October 2022

The Bendigo Bowls Club has been the talk of the town.

Greenskeeper Andrew Brown’s phone hasn’t stopped ringing since the 150-year-old club was named as a venue for the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

“I was in the car when I found out and I had to pull over,” he explained, “It’s going to be so great for our region.”

Andrew has also had plenty of texts from locals who want to be involved.

Two men smiling“They can't wait to volunteer for the Games and be a part of it.”

Club President Geoff Briggs agrees. Even his mates across town at the Neangar Golf Club are excited.

“The golf club people are saying, ‘oh, this is fantastic for you guys, fantastic for Bendigo and we're really looking forward to coming along and watching.’”

“So the buzz has started already.”

The Bendigo Bowls Club was established way back in 1872. It has four, full-size, international sized greens, which can be divided into seven rinks.

It’s home to 150 members, including Birmingham 2022 gold medallist Aaron Wilson.

The Club isn’t new to hosting world class events. In 2004, it welcomed the Youth Commonwealth Games. And, every March for the past 50 years, around 800 people from Victoria and beyond descend on the club for the Bendigo Bowls Week.

As the excitement for the Games builds, both Geoff and Andrew agree being a host venue will inspire the next generation of bowlers.

“It'll bring a whole new bowls scene to the club and to the city,” Geoff explains.

“There will be people who play bowls who will come along and spectate, but the Commonwealth Games will really open up the sport to non-bowlers.”

Greenskeeper Andrew Brown is looking forward to seeing the greens and the club on the world stage.

“I'd like to think that we would be able to provide the best facilities available for the players to put on the best showcase for the spectators,” Andrew said.

“Bendigo has really shown that when we put our minds to it, we do big events really well.

“You look at the Elvis exhibition with tourism, you look at other sporting events with the Red Energy Centre [Bendigo Stadium], when the Council gets involved, from our point of view, good things happen.

“I'm sure that's what's going to happen over the next four years, not just for bowls, but all sports that are in Bendigo.”

The Commonwealth Games will be held between 17-29 March 2026. Bendigo has been selected as one of four regional hubs to host the Games, alongside Ballarat, Geelong and Gippsland.

We acknowledge and recognise the Traditional Owners of the land where the Bendigo Bowls Club is located, the Dja Dja Wurrung People.