There aren’t many sports out there that attract players of all ages and offers the flexibility to be as competitive and involved as a player wants — but the sport of lawn bowling (also called bowls or lawn bowls) does just that.
Frequently labelled as a senior-friendly sport, lawn bowling offers fun, varying levels of competition and social interaction to players from all walks of life.
While not a particularly physical game, lawn bowling requires flexibility, balance, coordination, focus and strength to roll the bowl (ball) which can weigh up to three and a half pounds.
“It’s more difficult than it looks,” said Ruth Zernial, a 99-year-old lawn bowler and member of the Central Saanich Lawn Bowling Club.
“But it’s good movement for the body with the bending, lifting and walking.”
The Saanich Peninsula is home to two lawn bowling clubs, the Sidney Lawn Bowling Club (9580 Fifth St.) and the Central Saanich Lawn Bowling Club (1800 Hovey Rd.)
“We bowl throughout the year,” explained Judith Kowal, the membership coordinator for the Sidney club.
“We bowl outdoors from our opening day in April to usually around mid-September. In the winter, we carpet bowl indoors.”
Membership to both clubs is open to anyone of any age or municipality and annual fees are modest and vary from $155 (Central Saanich) to $175 (Sidney).
The membership of both clubs is comprised of a varied age range — Sidney’s youngest member is 18 and Central Saanich has a player (Ruth Zernial) who turned 99 last month.
“Anyone of any age is welcome to come and try, they don’t have to pay to come and try it out,” said Central Saanich club President, Margaret Smith. “It really is a game for everyone and it’s nice because you can be as involved and as competitive as you choose to be. It’s a nice sport in that respect.”
Kowal agreed, adding that lawn bowling is a great sport for those with busy schedules.
“You can bowl as little or as often as you like,” she said.
“It’s not like many of those sports where if you go away or can’t make a game you have to find an alternate. In lawn bowling you play when you can and it won’t affect your standing.”
Membership to a lawn bowling club also offers benefits like participation in social events held throughout the year. The clubs frequently host dinners, teas, bridge games and more.
“There’s something going on every week or two, definitely,” said Kowal.
Those interested in finding out more about the Central Saanich Lawn Bowling club can visit the club’s website at sites.google.com/site/csaanichlawnbowls or can call the club’s phone line at 250-652-4774.
Those interested in finding out more about the Sidney Lawn Bowling Club can visit the club’s website at sites.google.com/site/sidneylawnbowlingclub, call Kowal at 250-656-0209 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.