Bedford Borough Bowling Club (BBBC) is a private members’ club, which has been an active part of Bedford’s sporting activity for one hundred years - 2011 was the Club’s Centenary Year. The Club provides for outdoor and indoor bowling. The main outdoor green is an all-weather surface of six rinks, but can be made into seven as the need arises. There are two further lawn rinks, which were part of the original outdoor bowls setup, and are in use during the season. The indoor green has six rinks.
Before implementing Bowlr software, BBBC used a combination of Excel Spreadsheets with formulas and a League Generator, which was developed by a club member a number of years ago but it could no longer be supported. The software had its issues and would crash sometimes when writing leagues to the diary, and all dates had to be manually removed from the diary and the process repeated. Match results had to be manually entered into the scheduling system and then manually uploaded to the website. It was a very time consuming and administrative process. Club officials visited Dolphin Indoor Bowls Club in Poole and immediately saw the impact of Bowlr - the big TV screen in reception showing the match schedule for the day and their iPads beside the rinks where players enter their scores. They were also shown Bowlr’s Membership and League Manager modules by Dave Porter, Club Manager at Dolphin and BBBC were immediately sold on it.
BBBC contacted Bespoke 4 Business, the developers of Bowlr, and we compared how they ran their club to Dolphin and following several meetings, captured the new features needed for them to deploy Bowlr in their club.
BBBC run their leagues differently having divisions, blocking out dates in the diary before writing leagues to the calendar and using less rinks for leagues than Dolphin did. We also took the challenge to design a brand new website where the league results automatically updated live from the Bowlr system. We expanded the Accounts Module so that they could automatically generate invoices for all members for a new season. This allows them to rapidly raise invoices for all members and automatically email them to members with email addresses. For those members without email addresses the invoices can be printed.
We helped BBBC import all their existing members’ details and financial transactions into Bowlr so they could start the important process of creating new leagues in time for the winter 2016 season. No more manually entering scores into their old scheduler and manually uploading results to their website, which saw a huge saving in administration effort. In fact, what used to take them two weeks, took just a day and a half!
BBBC now have an online diary and booking system, which allows members to book rinks online via their website, reducing the number of lengthy phone calls that previously needed to be answered. This has made booking the rinks much easier for their members and staff alike. Members can view rink availability online via the calendar, which is continually updated by the club.
We have customised the League Generation module to run the leagues the way they always have, which involved some development to support divisions and to allow fewer rinks to be allocated than in standard round robin leagues. Unlike Dolphin Club who start with a clean diary before writing a league to the calendar, BBBC book out dates first and then write the league to the calendar jumping over any booked slots. We also developed a new report based on members’ age which breaks down all the members into age bracket.
“Working with Bespoke 4 Business to develop our very own customisable version of Bowlr has been an exciting time for BBBC and we’re very much enjoying working with the system. It has dramatically reduced the administration effort our staff has to put in to ensure the smooth running of our busy club and our members have been impressed at how easy it is to book rinks themselves. Our new website enables them to stay much more up-to-date with scores and general happenings at the club.”
John McConnell, Club Manager, Bedford Borough Bowls Club
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