Frequently Asked Questions

The Australian Open will return to the Gold Coast from June 12-25, 2021.


Do you have an event related question that we haven’t answered below? Simply direct your question via email to either ahowie@bowls.com.au or rwilson@bowls.com.au

Note: we will endeavour to respond to your enquiry within one week, but due to the variable nature of these requests as well as events and other matters this timeline may not always be met.


2021 FAQs

Where can I purchase bowls and other bowls gear during the Australian Open?

Great news! Bowls Australia will again be coordinating a trade display at Broadbeach Bowls Club throughout the event, including shops for a number of the biggest bowls manufacturers as well as some of Bowls Australia’s valued partners. Pop in on any day throughout the Australian Open between 8.30am and 5.00pm!

Why can’t I play both Over-60s and Open Pairs?

The simple reason is that it is impossible to schedule the Over-60s Pairs at a dedicated time with so many other events being contested at the Open.

Across each of the past three years, every available session of the Australian Open contained at least one open discipline due to the size of the fields, which means that to include the Over-60s Pairs in the Australian Open means having to clash with at least one open discipline, or create the possibility of fixture chaos due to participant clashes. It is important to note that to host the sectional component of the Over-60s, three full sessions (or one day) of competition is required to complete a 4-team section.

Therefore, event organisers have elected to schedule both Pairs disciplines at the same time, and allow bowlers the opportunity to choose which Pairs discipline they compete in (rather than complicating this situation by clashing with Singles or Fours).

Whilst providing bowlers the opportunity to play in as many disciplines, and participate in the Open for as long as possible, is very much the goal for our event team, due to the size of the event allowing entrants to play in both Open and Over-60s Pairs is not possible.

There is one caveat to this rule – the Controlling Body may choose to accept entrants into the Over-60s Pairs after their elimination from Open Pairs if it deems it necessary to achieve scheduling goals (for example, filling spots left vacant due to withdrawals).

When will I know my exact fixture?

Once entries close, our event team will begin the process of collating all entries and determining the event draw. The sectional draw (including what day your section will play and at which club) will be released no later than three weeks prior to the beginning of the event.

Where should I look for accommodation and tourism information?

Don’t worry – our good friends at the City of Gold Coast and Gold Coast Tourism have you covered! Click here to access their database of hotels, motels, serviced apartments, caravan parks and more, as well as mountains of other things to do while on the sunny Gold Coast!

Will the draft schedule change?

The draft schedule is unlikely to change, but given there is no cap on entries in any Australian Open discipline unfortunately we cannot confirm this beyond doubt, as there is a finite amount of green space at our host clubs. Wherever possible, any changes to the schedule will result in disciplines being played later in the event to ensure inbound flights are unaffected.

Where can I find the Conditions of Play?

The Conditions of Play can be found here. We recommend that all participants read these both at the time of entry and immediately prior to the event, as small changes may occur from time to time.

How do I qualify for the knockout rounds?

The Australian Open is conducted in a sectional format, followed by knockout play. All sectional winners qualify automatically for knockout rounds, as well as a number of Next Best Qualifiers who have not won their section (if Next Best Qualifiers are in place for that discipline). Next Best Qualifiers are released in the evening following the last day of sectional play in a given discipline. Refer to the Conditions of Play for further information.

For more information, consult section 2.5 and 2.6 of the Conditions of Play.

Will Next Best Qualifiers be used at the event again?

Yes, Next Best Qualifiers will be used again to fill the number of Knockout qualifiers not allocated to section winners. For more information, see sections 2.6 and 7.2 of the Conditions of Play.

How much prize money is on offer at the event and what is the breakdown among events?

The Australian Open is the World’s Richest Bowls Festival – $273,000 of prize money is available, with the number of prize money-paying finishers approaching 700! For more information, check out the prize money breakdown here.

How is prize money determined?

Bowls Australia reviews all prize money allocations following every edition of the Australian Open, taking into account the amount of entries in each discipline and a fair and equitable split to ensure that as many entrants as possible are eligible for prize money.

How do I claim my prize money?

In 2021, the Australian Open Help Desk (located at Broadbeach Bowls Club) will double as a prize money processing desk until the conclusion of the event. Prize money recipients may visit our friendly team to process their prize money between the hours of 9:00am and 4:30pm, or take prize money forms to mail/email back to us at a later time.

How will the  Disability disciplines be conducted 2021?

Bowlers with a Disability (BWD) Singles disciplines will remain merged into one “Multi Disability Singles” discipline (with separate events for Men and Women). This is to ensure that all BWD disciplines meet the minimum entry number of eight to enable them to be played, which unfortunately has not been the case in the past few years.

This change also brings the event closer with the Commonwealth Games pathway for Para Sport, as well as ensuring consistency with the Multi Disability Pairs event (which is unchanged).

The Vision Impaired Singles and Pairs events will continue unchanged in 2021.

Why are manual form entries more expensive than online entries?

For the simple reason of time – manual form entries must be inputted into our online portal by event staff and volunteers, which can be a time consuming process. We encourage all participants to use our Online Registration forms in the first instance; if you have any issues or questions about online registration, please feel free to contact our staff on (03) 9480 7100 or at admin@bowls.com.au.

I can’t wait until the Australian Open finals – how can I purchase tickets?

Great news – entry into finals (and all Australian Open matches) is completely free of charge! However, we have found that seats fill up fast, so it’s first-in, best-dressed.

I’m coming from interstate or overseas and would like to find a pairs or fours team – can Bowls Australia assist?

Participants who are looking for a partner or a team to enter Pairs or Fours disciplines should visit Bowls Australia’s Facebook page here – we encourage you to post a short message for other bowlers who are also looking and ask them to private message you to get the process rolling.

This has been a very effective method in the past few years, with a number of Facebook-made teams even making it to the late rounds of knockouts in some cases!

A member of my team has pulled out – can I replace them prior to the event?

Yes, members of any Pairs or Fours team can be replaced as an intended or nominated player prior to the first day of a given discipline with no consequence. To do this, please contact the Controlling Body in writing, specifying the player to be removed and the player to be inserted (along with all mandatory information required as part of an entry).

Unfortunately, I have to withdraw my entry from the event. Am I entitled to a refund?

This depends on the timing of the withdrawal – any withdrawal made prior to the official close of entry date is entitled to a full refund of entry fees. However, withdrawals made after the official close of entry will not be entitled to a refund of entries and will forfeit their entry fee due to the impact this has on the structure of the event.

I’m sold! How do I enter and how much does it cost?

Entries can be submitted through our Online Registration forms or using the Manual Forms found here; please note that manual entry forms includes a manual processing fee above the online entry fee.

What happens in case of heavy rain?

Bowls Australia’s Extreme Weather Policy will be enforced in the event of heavy rain, however participants should be aware that matches will continue in most cases until puddling on the greens is pronounced or in the case of lightning. Event staff and officials will make every endeavour to complete all matches, which may include rescheduling current and future rounds and disciplines, shortening matches or abandoning matches already begun.

In the very worst case scenario, the Controlling Body reserves the right to extend the Australian Open event to ensure an appropriate conclusion to each discipline. In the case of extreme weather, participants should stay tuned to Bowls Australia’s Facebook page for up to date information, as well as regularly checking their emails for direct news. For more information, please consult the Conditions of Play.

What time do matches start?

The first match of each day (barring a few minor exceptions during the final two days) will begin at 9.00am, with 8.45am trial ends.

Matches 2 and 3 are scheduled for 11.45am and at 2.30pm respectively, with trial ends beginning on the bell.

During sectional rounds, all sections will be played at the same club on one day; this means that participants do not need to move from club to club within a match day.

Until the quarter-final rounds, all matches will be run to a 2 hour, 15 minute time limit. From quarter-finals onwards, Open Singles, Pairs and Fours matches will be untimed, while all other disciplines will be limited to a maximum of 3 hours.

What are the conditions of bowls use at the Australian Open?

All bowls used at the Australian Open must contain a current year (2021) or future date stamp; please note that officials at the event are within their rights to check the bowls of all players.

When will Knockout Round draws be released?

The full knockout trees for each discipline will be released live at the conclusion of the sectional rounds for that discipline. Make sure you stay tuned to Bowls Australia’s Facebook channel in the evening as draws are released.

I would like to volunteer at the Australia Open. Is there opportunity to volunteer? 

Yes – there are multiple options available to people to volunteer at the Australian Open. Club members of each host venue will be directed by your clubs as to what opportunities are available, however if you are a player who may be knocked out in earlier rounds or just someone who wants to get involved you can do so by completing the Volunteer Application form.