You could say Lawn bowling is equatable to comfort food, it just makes you feel so good, albeit a much healthier alternative to snacking. Lawn Bowling transports you back in time to an era of what you would imagine are simpler days. Membership provides an air of exclusivity that you wouldn’t get out of a night at a typical bowling rink. Being an outdoors sport, it caters to our need to escape our screens and interact with people at face value. With the surge in digitally-focused careers, we are almost begging for those moments where we are able to unplug, and the idea of gaining a new social circle is always promising, especially when we find that task becoming increasingly difficult after graduate life. This desire and need can be marketed as nostalgia marketing, and it is becoming an advantage of the classic sport lawn bowling.
As millennials continue to look for experiences that take them to a brighter place, agencies, brands and activities are promoting simpler times. You see this trend in the film industry with reproductions like Point Break and Ghostbusters. Polaroids came back full force, so much in fact, that they brought the brand back from the dead. Fashion continues to embrace this theory in cyclical effect as we see with each passing year. The throwback theme is so popular that there are hashtags that dominate social media at least two days out of the week; #tbt (Throwback Thursday) and #fbf (Fallback Friday). Nostalgic moments translate to social media effortlessly. People crave that retro moment reimagined. You also see this strategy with nostalgic games, if not intentionally but by cause and effect. According to BizBash, people don’t see this trend going anywhere fast. Needless to say, we are pretty sure lawn bowling is making a comeback. Get your membership today before all of the clubs catch on and prices go up!
Newport Harbor Lawn Bowling Club
Newport Harbor Lawn Bowling Club became a non-profit corporation in 1939. Originally, they had established a bowling green on Balboa Peninsula, located near American Legion. Over time the club outgrew their location and was relocated at the corner of San Joaquin Road and Crown Drive to a space where two greens could be accommodated. Joslyn Foundation and members of the club provided additional funding to construct a clubhouse and additional facilities. Play at the new site began in 1972. I had the pleasure of meeting up with two of the club’s current members to learn more about the club’s amenities and overall atmosphere.
Jan Hargraves has been a member of the club since 1999 and has since then been hooked. Her grandmother, Jane Hunter, was also a member of the club back in the 80s. Jan’s deep-rooted passion is reflected in her colorful history with the sport. Her dedication to the sport led her to the opportunity to be picked for Team USA in 2006. The highlight of her career in bowls is when she won a bronze medal with her mentor, Maryna Hyland, in 2009 in South Africa. Since then, she has taken on the role of mentor and coach and currently is a selector for the women’s team.
I also had the pleasure of speaking with Team USA player, Charlie Herbert, who’s highlights include 2016 World Championships and 2016 North American Callenge. Charlie turned me on to all of the excitement and rich history that this sport has to offer. He too is a member of Newport Harbor LBC who checked out the club out of curiosity and immediately become hooked. His wife also loves the sport and they travel all over the world to enjoy this game of adjustments. The more I spoke to Charlie the more I felt like I had been missing out on this opportunity for far too long.
Any preconceived notions I had about needing to fit a specific criteria in order to join went out the window immediately. He made me feel so welcome and promoted that all prospective bowlers would receive the same feeling, even family members of bowlers! He painted a picture of something entirely different than what I was expecting. Initially, I had expected everyone to be dressed in all white and a group of regal spectators silently cheering. Charlie assured me that it is, in fact, quite the opposite. Instead, you’ll find club members in colorful jerseys, potlucks on Thursdays, and members drinking a glass of wine of a cold beer in between games. This very well could be the best kept secret in CDM.
1550 Crown Dr, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625 | 949.640.1022 | newportharborlbc.com
A Brief History of the Sport
This outdoor game that involves bowling on the green has been around for centuries. Archeologists have uncovered and discovered artifacts including sculptured vases and ancient plaques representing the sport, as well as biased stone bowls from 5,000 B.C., dating the game more than seven thousand years ago. By the 13th century lawn bowling was recognized world-wide. By 1299 A.D. the first bowling club was established in England called the Southampton Old Bowling Green Club, and it is still active today!
At one point the sport became so popular in England and France, that they had to prohibit by law so that people would focus more on activities that benefited national defense. In the 1300s multiple Kings from different countries enacted a similar ban on the sport. On the brighter side, the sport gained a lot of popularity of Scotland. Today, there are hundreds of greens to support this enthusiasm. Most notably, people identify the sport’s history as having royal or noble heritage. At one point lawn bowling was only permitted for people of royal decree (not including Scotland). Royal and ancient games of bowls are found in literature, history and art.
In America it appears that the sport was introduced to the colonies during the 1600s. However, artifacts have been discovered by archeologists that indicate the sport may have been placed by the North American Indians centuries before this. As early as 1615 bowling greens were found in Boston, New Amsterdam, Washington and Virginia. George Washington was also a huge fan of this sport, becoming a favorite pastime for the British Colonial Army. Immediately after the Revolution the game lost it’s popularity. Greens were torn up and planted with Magnolia trees.
For more information on the sport’s rich history, please refer to here.
Bowls Etiquette for Newbies
If you’re not sure about how to behave with regards to etiquette rules, you can follow these tips and you should be in the clear of not making the wrong move.
- Bowls should not be dropped on the Green.
- There is no smoking within the fence lines at the club.
- Bowls should not be kicked in until the shot has been decided.
- After delivering a Bowl, a player should either retire behind the Mat or advance to the head. He should not take up a position in between.
- Don’t delay the game.
- Don’t wander around or move about the head when a player is about to deliver a Bowl.
- The ‘Skip’ keeps the score.
- Bowling is a friendly game and all players should show courtesy and good sportsmanship.
- All Bowlers should know the Rules as laid down by the World Bowls Board.
- Mobile Phones should not be used on or around the green.
For more information on good behavior practices for this sport, please refer to here for more information.
Language — A Few of Our Favorite Terms
Talk the game as much as you walk the game by keeping this mini glossary of terms handy while on the green.
- Jack: A solid white or yellow ball approximately 64mm (2.5″) in diameter that is the bowling target.
- Potato Bowl: A bowl that hops, skips and jumps because it is not rolling on its round surface.
- Woods: An old term for bowls.
- Wick: The action of a bowl striking another bowl, changing its direction and speed of travel.
- Vice: The team member who plays before the Skip. He/she is mutually responsible (with the opposing team’s Vice) for determining the winner of the End and counting the Points.
- Toucher: A bowl that hits the Jack when Delivered. Such bowls are marked for identification and remain “alive” even if they enter the Ditch during the End.
- Skip/Skipper: Team captain who always plays last. This person is usually the most experienced player who also guides the strategy.
For a more complete glossary, please refer to here for more information.
How to Play
We’ve listed the gist of the game below, but feel free to refer to the rules of the sport, or you can request a private meet up with one of the member of the Newport Harbor Lawn Bowling Club for further details.
- The game starts with a coin toss to decide which team goes first. Once decided, the lead puts down their mat and rolls the jack down the green.
- You should roll your jack with enough force to have it travel a minimum of 21 meters. Once the jack stops you should move it to be in the center of your rink.
- After the jack is in place, players will take turns bowling. Points are scored by each bowl that is closer to the jack than the opponent’s closest bowl.
- Once you’ve completed bowling all of your bowls in the direction of the jack, you then roll the jack to the opposite direction and keep scoring.
- Don’t let your bowl go into the ditch. If you’re bowl does go into the ditch it is disregarded only if it has not touched the jack before doing so.
- If your jack bounces in to the ditch (within the boundaries of the rink) it still remains in play.
- In hopes of gaining a strategic advantage you are allowed to strike other players’ bowls with you own.
For more information on how to play the game, please refer to here for more information.
Influencers — Bowls USA and World Bowls
Bowls USA: Within our country, this sport is governed by a group of officers and councilors who meet at an annual board meeting and operate as representatives for the main forms of communications with members through the divisions and clubs. For more information, please visit their site at bowlsusa.
World Bowls: World Bowls supports the sport of bowls as being a game that is played across the world, and is the recognized International Federation for the Sport of Bowls. A total of 55 Member National Authorities located in six continents make up the members of World Bowls. Their main mission is to promote and develop the sport globally. For more information, please visit their site at worldbowls.
What are you waiting for?
As you can tell, this game of adjustments can be quite engaging. Not only do you feel a connection to a game that’s been in practice for centuries, but you gain a new group of friends by joining your local club. I bet all of your friends are going to want to get a membership right after you.
Not sure about bowls? Contact Newport Harbor Lawn Bowling Club and make an appointment with them to show you the ropes. Of all the clubs we looked into, this one appeared the be the most friendly and engaging group of people. They even encourage you to bring your whole family! If you have little ones in the group they offer smaller bowls for children, or a clubhouse where the kids can hang out while you enjoy your time on the green.
For more information on this sport, please refer to Newport Harbor LBC’s website or call 949.640.1022.