A NOOSA hinterland bowls club is desperately searching for ways to prevent itself from joining the ranks of Peregian - the bowlsie that could not make ends meet.
And while Peregian residents fight tenaciously to reclaim their bowls club as a social hub despite the apparent indifference of owners Pine Rivers Bowls Club, the Cooroy Bowls Club is pulling out all stops to head off the financial point of no return.
Cooroy club president John Simmons last week decided to go public with its dwindling patronage - a predicament he believes many licensed recreational venues are faced with.
It is a situation that has plenty of players ready to roll them down, but not enough drinkers staying long enough to throw a few drinks down in these times of tough drink-driving laws and rising living costs.
Mr Simmons said the club, which amalgamated with the Cooroy RSL, never recovered from the time a relocation deal with the former Noosa Council fell through.
He maintains the RSL six years ago was going to move out and expand on to the bowls club's Opal St site, when the council gave a commitment to buy the Maple St site off the RSL for a library.
Instead the council built a lavish and very popular new library complex beside the Cooroy Butter Factory Arts Centre.
"This created a dilemma as the amalgamation only proceeded on advices from council representatives that the club would be able to merge onto the Opal St site, ensuring the future of bowls," said Mr Simmons.
"Options that have been investigated over this time which did not come to fruition due to either zoning constraints or the economic climate have included a country club concept combining the RSL, bowls and golf onto one site."
Mr Simmons said the club also considered having greens at the proposed RSL Care development and the redevelopment of the current green to synthetic, allowing for increased usage.
"Applications to and discussions with Sunshine Coast Council and Federal and State Government representatives for what assistance they can provide, have not revealed any further avenues," he said.
"It has been an extremely difficult time for the hospitality industry, with a trend for consumers to purchase takeaways from multi-national chains and entertain at home, confirmed through the growth of multi-chain bottle shops and a decrease in club and pub culture.
"What we're doing is exploring every avenue to keep it viable - there's about 100 social bowlers in round figures, but there's not too many full-time bowlers.
"The drink-driving laws have been around for a long time, so the bowlers might have one or two drinks after a game and then go home."
He said while the green is at full capacity, the clubhouse is under-utilised.
"Over the past years, the game has grown, but the income from this has not been enough to cover pre-existing debt and increasing charges," he explained.
"A change from a grass green to artificial would have allowed extra usage and increased income, however applications for have not been successful"
Mr Simmons said the club is holding further meetings with the council and the State Government as well as other sports clubs in similar situations.
He said the proposed Noosa coastal bowls club mergers "may be viable" but would require a significant commitment by the existing clubs to achieve.
"Options to build a green on an existing sports site that has an underutilised clubhouse would maximize resources and provide a sounder business model and security to both sports," Mr Simmons said.
He said any such move would require council assistance.
"A trial at the bowls venue will be actioned to minimise costs by increasing the utilisation of volunteers and investigating methods to reduce consumption of power and water."
The club is urging community members to support this "friendly little venue" that offers value for money quality food and a nice escape to unwind and enjoy a cold drink.
Anyone with workable suggestions or suggested models for securing the bowls club future should contact Mr Simmons at: community@cooroyrsl. com.au or call him at the club on 5447 6131.