Lawn Bowls is one of those deceptively easy games. It seems simple enough. You roll the white ball, or “jack” toward the other end of the bowling green. You then roll the bowl toward the jack with the goal of having it land closer to the ball of your opponent. The catch? The balls are weighted so the ball will curve depending on how it is tossed. In bowling, you line up your shot, aim the ball, and if you want curve, you control the spin. In Lawn Bowls, you line up your shot, aim the ball and have to compensate for the way the ball will naturally curve. But, for those interested in learning more about this sport, there is a wealth of knowledge at the Santa Clara Lawn Bowls Club in Central Park.
The best part of learning to bowl? There are no age requirements or restrictions. “We have members who are 12 and 16,” said Charles Bailey. “We had someone who was 90. There is no age limit. As long as you can roll the ball the length of the field, you can play.”
After receiving a lesson, or without taking a lesson, there is the option to join the SC Lawn Bowls Club. Admission to the club is only $50 for the entire year. The fee allows members to play an unlimited number of games throughout the week and at any bowls club across the world. Members are not required to play a minimum amount of games each week. “You come when you feel like coming,” said Bailey. “You don’t have to come every week if you don’t want to.”
The SC Lawn Bowls Club is part sport, part social and very much like a family. They’re warm, welcoming and willing to help newbies learn the ropes and members get together for various events throughout the year. On the 4th of July, they meet bright and early, bowl, cater BBQ from Armadillo Willy’s, and spend the entire day on the green before enjoying their prime seating for Santa Clara’s fireworks show. At Christmastime, the group meets at Mariani’s Inn for a luncheon. On some tournament days, the club holds a potluck luncheon and every third Thursday of the month, and the Lawn Bowls ladies get together for a group lunch at various restaurants throughout the city.
The SC Lawn Bowls club meets at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 1 p.m. on Sunday and Wednesday and Friday evenings at 7 p.m during the summer months. Every Wednesday throughout the summer, each club in the area takes turns hosting a friendship tournament. For $3, members mingle with other bowlers from Santa Cruz, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, San Jose, and as far north as Berkley, San Francisco, Oakland and Walnut Creek, and compete in a friendly tournament. For more information on the Santa Clara Lawn Bowls Club visit www.santaclaralawnbowls.org. For a free lesson, please contact Charles Bailey at 408-448-7439.