Dapto Bowling Club green turns footy pitch

Another venue for football will soon appear in Dapto, offered by an unlikely host.

Dapto Bowling Club will replace a bowling strip with a football pitch, with development applications to convert its disused No 3 green into two small futsal courts now before Wollongong City Council.

"That green hasn't been used for three years, and the club is trying to diversify," club general manager Darren McNaught said.

"We don't want to get away from bowls, but we want to be more than a bowls club. It's a tough time for clubs - we need new sources of revenue and income, but we want to get away from sucking people in for poker machines."

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The development, by Sydney company Golden Gold, involves laying new artificial turf and installing netting, lighting and electronic scoreboards.

Golden Goal runs similar sites at Ryde Bowling Club and Strathfield Sports Club, and is developing new centres at Belmore and Bexley.

Director Terry Palapanis said Golden Goal would lease the green and pay rent to Dapto Bowling Club, and people would have to sign up as club members to use the fields. And this arrangement had benefits for both sides.

"We work with the club to build revenue and generate members," he said.

"We have up to 2000 members at the places we operate, and those clubs are doing really well now."

Mr McNaught said the development, which is on exhibition, would boost the club's financial outlook.

The club's annual reports show a drop in revenue of almost $160,000 between the 2011-12 and 2012-13 financial years, and they are hoping the futsal development will bring new members to the club.

"Golden Goal lease the area, pay for the installation and pay us rent. There is no outlay from the club," Mr McNaught said.

"Bowling clubs and bowls are still known as an older person's sport. This will bring in a younger and family demographic to the club."

He hoped the project would be operational by early next year.

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