Lawn bowlers walk a quarter of a mile a game

It’s a beautiful summer’s evening. The sky is a combination of soft pinks, azure blue and drifting clouds. It sounds like an ideal time to try out the Stouffville lawn bowling green.

The Stouffville Lawn Bowling Club was founded in 1894. Right in the middle of Stouffville, next to Memorial Park, is the great game of lawn bowls. Here, you’ll find people of all ages exercising, socializing, snacking and just plain hanging out. Exercise is a given: during one regular game, you’ll walk a quarter of a mile, bend 48 times and attempt to roll your bowl with accuracy, all while working out strategy with your team, 36 times. It’s a great get-out-of-the-house activity where age does not matter and socializing is key.

It looks a lot like curling. The scoring system is the same but the target (a white ball) is moveable. The balls (called bowls) are elliptical, so they don’t roll in a straight line but bend as they slow down and approach their target. Games are set up for one, two, three or four players.

Club member Alfonso Di Genova initially tried lawn bowling for something to do after his wife passed away.

“I used to play bocce,” he said. “I didn’t realize how amazing this sport was. Lawn bowling has become my greatest passion.”

At the Stouffville club, most of the teams are made up by matching new bowlers with seasoned ones. Monday and Wednesday nights and Tuesday mornings are reserved for friendly competition. On Thursday nights, the more skilful players compete in an elite league. The bigger picture includes tournaments around the province or challenging others in provincial playdowns, leading to Canada-wide championships.

And it’s relatively cheap to play. First-year members pay a one-time membership fee of $80 (less if you’re a junior). Learn-to-bowl sessions are fun, free and give the opportunity to try out the game. Equipment is supplied by the club. To try it out, by yourself or with family and friends, call Bob and Jeanne Christie at 905-640-0560.

In the photo, Alfonso Di Genova delivers a bowl up the green. Julie Williams photo

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