Tuesday, May 22 , 2018, 10:49 pm | Fair 57º

Your Health
A Noozhawk partnership with Cottage Health

Older Residents Have a Ball with Sport of Lawn Bowling

It offers gentle exercise and a fun way to meet new people and spend time outdoors

Would you like to live a long, healthy life? Do you like to be outside in the sunshine and fresh air? Are you a games player? What would you consider to be a game for all ages as well as a fantastic sport? You must try the sport of lawn bowling. You may love it as we did.

My husband and I discovered lawn bowling a year ago right here in the heart of Santa Barbara at the Santa Barbara Lawn Bowls Club, and we’ve been hooked ever since. We would highly recommend it for anyone of any age who would like a gentle form of exercise.

This tucked-away gem of a club and MacKenzie Park Lawn Bowls Club across town are co-sponsored by the Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department, so membership fees are modest.

Lawn bowling has introduced us to a whole new set of great friends as well as an exciting sport full of challenging skills. We continue trying to perfect those skills at each game. We’ve even timidly begun to try our luck at some tournaments. A lot of club members just play for fun and exercise and aren’t bothered about competitions.

So, what is the game like? You might have watched curling during the last Winter Olympics. Lawn bowling is the forerunner of curling and is popular in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, in parts of the United States and even Japan. It belongs to the boules sport family and is related to bocce.

The leisurely pace of the game might fool you into thinking that not a lot of exercising is going on, but think again! The length of the green is about 120 feet, and each game can last about two hours and requires the players to walk back and forth many, many times. Bowls weigh about 3.3 pounds each, and a player can have as many as four bowls in play at a time. A lot of bending, stooping, throwing and walking by each player goes on in a game.

To make the game really interesting, the bowls are shaped so that they don’t run in a straight line. The bowls are biased and take a curved path toward a small, white ball, or “jack.” The simple object of the game is to get one or more bowls closer to the jack than those of the opposition.

Anybody can easily learn to lawn bowl, but it’s a lot harder to master. Some of the longtime bowlers claim that lawn bowling is a life-extender. This could be true. We’re still trying to out-bowl a veteran bowler who recently turned 95 and celebrated her birthday out on the green.

Long live lawn bowling and lawn bowlers! Come join us for some fun. Click here for more information.

— Sharron Adams is a member of the Santa Barbara Lawn Bowls Club.

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