INTERNATIONAL and national lawn bowls will become permanent fixtures in the Top End after Darwin Bowls Club opened their first synthetic green for competition.
Stage 1 of a $1.5 million NT Government funded upgrade of the Fannie Bay club was completed this week with the completion of the first artificial green.
The shift from turf to a synthetic playing surface has taken five years from the planning stage.
A second synthetic green is due for completion in May next year, giving the Darwin region the four greens it needs to host major tournaments.
Nightcliff Bowls Club has had two synthetic greens in use for some time.
Bowls NT chief executive Lee Farrell said big tournaments like the Australian series could be hosted in Darwin in 2018.
“If everything goes to plan and the rosters are in place, we would be very confident of hosting an international series because the four greens will be in place,’’ he said.
“We had a request from Singapore last year which we could not accommodate, but now with the new surface they’re looking at August, September or October next year to bring a side over.
“That will be the start of our strategic plan that stretches right through Asia. “We’ve spoken to the government and Minister Styles’ (Business and Asian Engagement) department about combining business and sporting events and lawn bowls and golf fit comfortably into that mix.
“If we can work with the government to get teams from Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore practising and playing here, we’re on the right track.’’
Farrell said the new facility at the Darwin club met required Australian standards and had already got the thumbs up from parent body Bowls Australia.
“I’ve spoken to Bowls Australia and they cannot see any problems playing on synthetic surfaces at national and international level,’’ he said.
“As well as Singapore next year, we’re hoping to squeeze a national over 60s event into the schedule in 2017.
“It will be like having a superb golf course here in Darwin, the attraction factor alone will bring bowlers into Darwin.’’
The new surface also means competition and social bowlers can compete right through the Top End wet season without constant delays from torrential rain.
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