ST. GEORGE – In a recent edition of the Utah Senior Review (Vol 3, No. 6, Fall 2010), David Larsen pointed out that exercise is a good way to control blood sugar and prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Many individuals are unaware that the engaging game of lawn bowling is an excellent way to get the exercise they need to maintain good health. Lawn bowling is available in Utah, mostly in St. George, where it is played indoors at the St. George Recreation Center at 300 South and 400 East Streets. Three “rinks” or alleys 12 feet wide and about 88 feet long are created by rolling out synthetic carpet on the basketball court. The carpets are marked for lawn bowling and provide an incredibly superior surface for rolling the bowls.
Almost anyone from age 8–92, even the mildly handicapped, can roll the bowls. Bowlers deliver their bowls then change ends, allowing everyone to experience gentle exercise while enjoying a game involving little strength, but some precision.
The most common game involves four individuals, two on each team, in which one member of each team delivers four bowls each in one direction, then team members change ends and the other team member rolls four bowls. This usually occurs six times for the completion of twelve “ends.” Delivery of the bowls in one direction constitutes an end.
The bowls are rolled in an “arc” which allows the bowls to curve toward a small ball or “jack” located in the center of the rink. All bowls have a “bias” built right into the bowl, requiring the arc delivery. The objective of the game is to roll the bowls gently enough that they stop rolling close to the jack. Bowlers must estimate the size of the arc and the speed of the bowl so as to roll right up to the jack.
Bowls are of different weights, so bowlers select a set of bowls that feel just right for them. The St. George Lawn Bowls Club has 42 sets of bowls that allow most bowlers to select a set that suits them about right. After you’ve bowled for a while, you’ll want to purchase a set of your own bowls so that you can play with the same bowls every time and develop your skills in delivering your own bowls. The only other equipment you need is a pair of flat-soled shoes—no heels—to avoid damaging the carpeting and floors.
Play at the St. George Recreation Center begins at 10:30 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays of each week, but everyone arrives a bit early, around 10:15 a.m. to help set up score boards and get the equipment ready to bowl.
For new bowlers, the time from 10–10:30 a.m. each day is devoted to instruction in the skills, rules, and etiquette of lawn bowling. All you do is sign-in at the desk, pay a $2 use fee, and select your bowls. A mentor explains the fine points of the game, and everyone rolls some practice bowls. Then the fun begins.
Since lawn bowling is a game introduced by the British, it is customary to wear a white or tan shirt while bowling. In Australia, formal, competitive bowling requires everyone to dress in all white. Here, in the USA, however, we enjoy a more casual atmosphere and tend to wear only white shirts.
H.A. Overstreet observed that “recreation is not a secondary concern for a democracy. It is a primary concern, for the kind of recreation a people make for themselves determines the kind of people they become and the kind of society they build.” Lawn bowling is a gracious sport that builds strength, character, and a society of gracious individuals.
Dorothy Thompson caught the essence of lawn bowling when she noted that “recreation is nothing but a change of work—an occupation for the hands by those who live by their brains, or for the brains by those who live by their hands.” Lawn bowling is an activity that brings a form of rich and joyful living for both youth and adults.
We see lawn bowling as an easy and important way to support and refresh people for more effective lives, as well as for its own sake as a lively and entertaining activity. The St. George Lawn Bowls Club welcomes residents and visitors to enjoy lawn bowling. We can lead you to a more enjoyable lifestyle!
Written by R. Wayne Pace for St. George Health and Wellness magazine.
R. Wayne Pace is a Professor Emeritus of the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University. He currently resides in St. George, UT enjoying the great weather and recreational opportunities like Lawn Bowling where he is the Secretary of the St. George Lawn Bowls Club.
Contact Wayne Pace at [email protected].
Email: [email protected]
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