“This is a sport where a 75 year old can beat a 25 year old. There is a lot of skill and strategy involved,” a member of the Moose Jaw Lawn Bowling Club said when the membership, who attended the first tournament of the year, was asked about the benefits on Sunday afternoon.
Members of the Moose Jaw Club, members of the Regina Lawn Bowling Club and even a couple of players from as far away as Vancouver, BC participated in the Sunday afternoon tournament where the proceeds were split between the club and Journey For Hope.
Sunday’s match-up of 25 players was more of a social and friendly tournament opening the season for the local club, club member Lorna Arnold told MJ Independent.
The tournament was, like all of the local club’s tournaments, handicapped to make the playing field more equal for all teams. An experienced lawn bowler is teamed with someone who is new to the sport to make the play more even and giving everyone a good chance of winning, Arnold said.
As a kick-off tournament to the year the club wanted to do something to help out a local charity, while at the same time giving the Club an opportunity to get out and play to showcase the sport.
The sport of lawn bowling has over a 100 year history in Moose Jaw with the club first organizing in 1918.
Numbers have fluctuated over the years with the late 1970’s to 1980’s being its membership heyday with the membership now taking a dip but there are signs of rebounding after the COVID - 19 pandemic.
To help build interest in the sport the local club is undertaking a series of initiatives to introduce Moose Javians to the sport of lawn bowling.
On June 4th, National Bowls Day, the local club is offering people the opportunity to come out and give lawn bowling a try for FREE.
To be held from 10 am to 2 pm the Moose Jaw club will have everything you need to learn about lawn bowling. All that they ask is people show up with a pair of flat shoes, essentially a set of older running shoes without grips or healed shoes, and be prepared to have fun.
The flat shoes are essential as they do not damage the turf as lawn bowling as the name suggests is played on a grass field.
Additionally the club will also be hosting 23 elementary school students from King George School in order to initiate them to the sport.
For those who attend the free National Bowls Day on June 4th and would like to give lawn bowling more of a try the club offers the first three outings as FREE. After that there is a drop in rate of $5 for an adult and $3 for a youth.
The annual membership is $100 which is half of the $200 charged by Regina’s lawn bowling club.
There is a $25 youth membership fee. For those youth who want to participate in the provincial finals which can lead to the national finals and off to international events the cost is the full $100 membership fee.
The club will be open for play Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 6:30 pm - 9 pm. After June 1st the times revert to 7 pm - 9 pm. The season runs until the end of September - weather dependent.
Bowlers can also come and bowl at 10 am on Tuesday mornings.
The club is now working on Friday evening openings. Drop-ins are possible on the weekends.
Additionally the club also features tournaments at the end of July and August.
Lawn Bowling’s Benefits
According to the club’s members there are numerous benefits of lawn bowling.
Lawn bowling is a low impact sport which not only keeps a person active but also has health benefits.
Club president Daniel Morin said when he had joint replacement he used lawn bowling as part of his physio-therapy regime towards recovery.
“Lawn bowling has less impact on the body than other sports. I can bowl four games and walk the next day. It is very easy on the joints,” Morin said.
Other members point out lawn bowling is a major boost to an individual’s mental health.
What Is Lawn Bowling????
In Moose Jaw the sport allows participants to get outside and enjoy Crescent Park. It is a stress breaker, club members say.
If a person were to explain lawn bowling it could be best described as a game that is a hybrid of other games - bowling, bocce ball and curling - while at the same time a sport all unique as it’s own.
The main idea is to get as close to the jack (which is the white ball) with your bowl. The scoring is the same as curling with the bowls of one side closer to the jack than bowls of the other counting.
But unlike the button in curling the jack is movable and is thrown into play at the start of an end by the team that won the previous end. The jack must be tossed a minimum of 21 meters or the opponents get the opportunity to toss the jack.
Throwing the jack is a strategy all of its own with some players preferring a short jack while others preferring a longer jack depending on their skills as well as the skill of their opponents at varying distances.
Bowls are not round but rather oblong meaning they may be thrown in such a way to curl on the playing field. Bowls must cross a hog line or they are removed from play.
The entire end can find itself “reset” in an instant by simply bowling into and moving the jack to make a different bowl as the shot bowl.
For more information about the Moose Jaw Lawn Bowling Club and to plan a visit - family and other group visits are welcome - please contact Lorna at (306) 690-8739.