1. Do I need to get a team together to lawn bowl?
No, you can bowl as an individual. Every day around 1 PM all the names of bowlers that showed up that day are drawn into random teams to bowl. You can also form teams to go into competitive bowling tournaments if you wish. Or you can come down and practice bowling by yourself or with your partner or friends anytime. It is also nice for a couple in that they can bowl together in mixed pairs tournaments, or not. The sport is not gender biased in any way. Women can bowl just as well or better than men, and many do.
2. Are there any other costs involved?
No, the annual membership fees ($220), cover all bowling costs. If you want coffee and snacks there is usually a small charge for that, and if you enter competitive tournaments there is usually an entry fee, that is distributed back to the winning teams.
3. Do I have to wear white clothing all the time?
No, we only wear whites for tournaments, and even then we are not strict. But flat soled shoes are required to protect our greens. Any other time you bowl you can wear anything you want, but we do require some clothing!!
4. Are all lawn bowlers old and retired?
No, in fact the Canadian junior women’s singles champ is 16 years old, and comes from Victoria! Bowling is available from 10 AM daily, and there are lights for night bowling, so even working couples can participate. People starting to bowl in their twentys or thirtys or earlier, have an opportunity to become great bowlers and even compete in Canadian, World and Commonwealth tournaments around the world. The sport requires excellent co-ordination to become a competitive bowler, but the nice thing is at local draws and fun tournaments, anyone can participate at any age. One bowler in our club is nearing 91 years of age and is still an active (and very good) bowler!
5. Is the sport physically challenging?
Yes and no. If you want to get into competitive bowling you need stamina to bowl for many hours at a time, but for everyday bowling almost anyone can do it. You have to bend down and pick up the 3-4 pound bowls and bend and stretch to deliver the bowls, but there is no twisting that tends to aggrevate joints and muscles as in some other sports. The bowlers also have to walk from one end of the green to the other one time during each end of play and that is about 50 meters. The games can be anywhere from 10 – 14 ends per game, and tournaments can involve two or three games per day. There are devices available to help people pick up and deliver bowls if they cannot bend low enough. Lawn bowling can keep you fit well into your senior years, and it is a lot more fun than lifting weights!
6. Is it like curling?
It is played and scored similar to curling, but it is more challenging. Each bowl is biased to curve in one direction as it proceeds down the rink. A small white ball called the “jack” (target) is bowled first and like curling, the closest bowls to the jack are counted. It is more interesting and challenging than curling in that the jack can be moved by a bowl, and that creates a new target for the rest of the bowls! Also the team delivering the jack can send it a short way or long way down the rink to make it even more of a challenge. Unlike curling there are no aides to help the bowl down the rink (such as sweeping), so it is all up to the bowler. Greens can vary in speed and line of delivery due to weather and the maintenance done on the grass. The grass used on the greens is similar to the grass used on golf putting surfaces.