Just two weeks into one of the worst pandemics in living memory, and Shane Globbits was tasked with the job of resurrecting the beleaguered Black Head Bowling Club.
Six months on and Shane, who had been second in charge at Club North Haven, Laurieton for the past nine years, is well on the way to achieving that goal and much more.
"When I took over, the club was struggling financially," Shane said.
"Now, cash flow is very strong; it is the strongest in four years."
In the months since re-opening in early June the club has attracted more than 450 new members, and took the shutdown as a positive, revamping the bar area and giving the building a fresh coat of paint, employing additional staff and giving the bistro a whole new look.
"We used a lot of locals who volunteered their time," Shane said.
He acknowledged the valuable contribution from local contractors Glen Richards, R&R Home Maintenance, Brad Baxter, Shane Hibbard and a number of club members who freely donated their time.
During the shutdown, the club offered a pick up and home delivery pasta and pizza service.
Over one two-week period the club sold more than $40,000 of pizzas.
It was business as usual for Friday night raffles with the popular draw and traditional entertainment moving to livestreaming via Facebook.
"Members got to have their Friday night raffles.
"We were one of the few successes during COVID.
"That engagement helped grow our membership when we re-opened on June 3."
The club has taken ownership of the bistro, with a menu that emphasises locally grown produce, meat and seafood, while staff numbers have increased from five to 16.
Shane's vision is to be more community orientated, with the club supporting local soccer and netball teams, while plans are on the drawing board to establish a fishing club.
But his plans don't stop there.
With full support from the board, Shane plans to create a rooftop bar, along with a number of renovations.
"We have the best views of the ocean here," he said.
The Grafton native entered the club industry following a long and illustrious career as a lawn bowler.
He began what has been widely considered an 'old man's sport' literally by accident after busting his knee during at rugby league game as a 14-year-old.
Wanting to get back into a sport Shane tried his hand at lawn bowls, and picked it up naturally.
Until his retirement Shane represented Australia at the world championships from 2004-8, was the country's number one ranked player from 2005-6, played more than 140 representative games from Queensland and NSW and won three Australian singles titles.
He also won a bronze in the 2006 world champion of champion played in Christchurch, NZ and at the same time was ranked number three in the world.
"I enjoyed the competitive side of things and the camaraderie; you make special friends and I still have them all around the world.
"It kept me very busy."
But, with a young family Shane - who could be away from home for up to six weeks at a time - decided it was time to pack away the whites.
Although he studied and graduated in graphic design from Griffith University, Brisbane after completing Year 12 studies at South Grafton High School Shane was drawn to the club industry.
He has since studied and received his Australian Certified Club Manager ticket, is an education officer with the Club Management Association arranging all training for frontline staff from Bulahdelah to South West Rocks and has worked at Westport and Gold Coast bowling clubs.
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