Bendigo Bowls Club has hosted its fair share of world-class events since it was established 150 years ago, but it’s particularly excited to be among the first venues chosen the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
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.”
“The amount of text messages and that I've got from locals around the club and from around the area saying they can't wait to try and 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, where he regularly plays, 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 it.’”
The Bendigo Bowls Club was established way back in 1872. It is home to 150 members, including Birmingham 2022 gold medalist Aaron Wilson. Aaron won gold in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games too and could find himself competing at his home ground in 2024.
The Club is used 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. It has four, full-size, international sized greens, which can be divided into seven rinks, allowing for seven games to be played at the same time. But to make the best use of the space, six rinks are usually set up.
“From what we've seen at the Birmingham games, we will probably have to supply 24 rinks each day,” Geoff said.
“I think that's probably one of the reasons we were chosen, we're the only club that has that number of available rinks for play here in Bendigo.”
“We're just now waiting for what's expected of us and I'm sure that will be done fairly soon, because normally you have about eight years to get ready, but we're going to have less than four years, so it's going to be a big job.”
Greenskeeper Andrew will head up most of the work, preparing the greens and making sure the club’s the best it can be 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 as a whole, from the Council down, we've really shown that when we put our minds to it, everything is done properly.
“You look at the Elvis exhibition with tourism, you look at other sporting events with the Red Energy Center [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 five regional hubs to host the Games, alongside Ballarat, Geelong, Gippsland and Shepparton.
We acknowledge and recognise the Traditional Owners of the land where the Bendigo Bowls Club is located, the Dja Dja Wurrung People.