The Rise and Rise of the Community Clubs

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By John Dickson | Chairman

Have you noticed something happening in the Club Industry recently? Just a few projects going on here and there, for example:

  • A proposed $40M Greater Springfield Sports and Community Club (DWS Estimate)
  • The new $25M Greenfield site at North Lakes
  • The current $10M redevelopment at Brothers Leagues Ipswich and the $4.5M at Aspley Hornets
  • A new accommodation hotel currently under construction at Southport Sharks
  • Recent developments at Norths Kallangur and Club Pine Rivers
  • The Karrawa Surf Club project
  • Proposed $25M expansion over the next 10 years at City Golf Club (on top of the $30M they have spent over the last 10 years)
  • Multi-million dollar renovations at Palm Cove Surf Club and Redcliffe RSL
  • The recent opening of a satellite club, South Cairns Sports Club by Cazaly’s in Cairns
  • Hervey Bay RSL’s acquisition of the golf club, a motel and licensed hotel in addition to plan redevelopment of the RSL club’s facilities
  • Townsville RSL’s new training facility
  • Multi-million dollar redevelopment of sporting facilities that Magpies Club in Mackay

Just to name a few… there seems to be a trend forming and it is great news for the Club Industry.

A report that DWS Hospitality Specialists developed on behalf of Clubs QLD in 2015, delivered a bold projection that by 2025:

  • Total value of construction in the industry would reach $2,168.5M
  • Total new construction industry jobs created 14,678
  • Total new club full-time hospitality jobs created 6,672
  • Accumulated payroll & additional EGM tax would equal $254.7M

The forecasts all point to a period of rapid growth in the industry, with developments, redevelopments, renovations and brand new creations happening across Queensland, and with all the current activity, the above figures we predicted are well and truly on track to be met and possibly exceeded.

With this level of sustained and planned growth, the community benefits will be astounding! This development pipeline is set to deliver thousands of jobs both in construction and club hospitality. It will further enhance and create new sporting facilities, reinvest millions of dollars in funding back into the community and increase economic activity. Ultimately this will drive a stronger Queensland for the future for the Club Industry.

On top of the obvious benefits, the Queensland Club Industry strong formal skills based training programs will gain momentum. With new staff requiring training to effectively serve the increased patronage, existing team members upskilling as they work towards supervisory and management positions in flourishing clubs, plus an increase in apprenticeships across both club hospitality and club construction as growth period continues to deliver a sense of stability for organisations across the region.

So, what is driving this rapid growth?

The answer is … no one thing! In fact, there are multiple factors generating this need for expansion diversification, taking clubs away from the traditional reliance on gaming, and moving towards a goal of delivering venues that can compete with the increasingly competitive marketspace and continually changing customer expectations.

Taking a closer look at the main revolutionary factors, we can see clubs move with the times and start listening to their patrons and their community, to not only maintain their existing clientele, but introduce new generations into the industry and secure a long-term future for the once humble community club.

Additional amenities

In addition to rapidly expanding junior sports amenities be community clubs are providing ever-increasing children’s play areas, interactive sports bars, quiet lounge areas, and corporate function facilities and community organisations meeting places. The industry is also diversifying into accommodation.

Food and Beverage

Moving away from just delivering food and beverage, a strong shift towards 4 and 5 star dining experiences and embracing the cafe culture is seeing the need for major redevelopment of existing layouts, menus, and offerings. The future of redevelopment will see dramatic changes in dining area landscapes, as multiple options become expected. From international buffets to food court stylings that cater to varying wants and needs, food and beverage must be aligned to the customers, with quality, price, service and aesthetics playing a big part in a venue’s success.

Population growth

As the recently released Census information has shown, the population in Queensland is booming. So, while we are experiencing greater competition with new venues, cafes, restaurants, etc. popping up all around us, the growing needs of an expanding population provide us with an opportunity to corner the market and deliver more than just a space. It is well within our reach to deliver the place where people can come together for more than just food and drink. Our uniqueness and ability to offer a wide gambit of sport, dining, gaming, drinking, and quality entertainment all in one place, can be the difference between success and failure as we have the capability and the funding, to work towards getting the mix right for the future.


With the exponential population growth, the industry needs to understand the changes in demographics. Not just in their community, but the overall trends that will see the increase in feminisation of venues, and more spaces to cater for singles, couples, as well as families. Delivering spaces as places will become critical. Offering interaction with the environment, brand consistency, multiple entertainment options and external vistas, is pushing floor plans of existing clubs into new and exciting directions that deliver “dwell time” for members and visitors.

Auxiliary sporting facilities

Sport is such a huge part of the Queensland lifestyle. From Rugby to AFL, Golf to Bowls, the club industry has the ability to create an all-encompassing location where families and friends can come together for everything they desire. The sporting facilities may no longer be the ultimate draw card for the industry, however, combined with 4 and 5 star dining experiences, gaming, family oriented facilities and air conditioned comfort for the post-game get together, the community club can maintain its traditional “heart of the suburb” label well into the future.

Money is cheap

With increasing personal wealth and cheaper goods, entertainment in the home is on the rise. In order to combat the trend of people spending more time in the home, more international travel and increasing demands of life, clubs need to take venues to the next level. By offering more than what possibly exists in a home setting, the redevelopment of clubs to deliver an entertainment, dining and experiential hub for the community can create a convenience and cost effectiveness that will draw patrons out of their homes and into venues.

It is an exciting time for the Club Industry, however, it is critical to get your planning right. In order to secure your venue for the next 10, even 20 years, knowing the trends and understanding the current and future needs of your members and patrons will be the key to the Club Industry’s future.

If you are thinking of a redevelopment, refurbishment or renovation, get in touch with the team that predicted the current development rush and let us predict what you need to achieve success for your venue’s future. Contact John Dickson on 0417 721 942 for a confidential discussion today.

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