Oak Bay Lawn Bowling Club member Joan Roberts is anxious to start the new bowling season with the upcoming open house at the club on Harlow Drive.

Bowl me over

Club rolls out the green for new players

The greens are tended and arms are warming up as the  gets ready to kick off another season.

To start the season swinging, the club is hosting an open house on Sunday, April 21 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. to give the curious a chance to see what all the fuss is about.

About 160 people bowled with the club last year and took part in its wide variety of social activities. This year the club is hoping to keep its numbers up and hopefully bring some newcomers into the fold.

“Anybody can learn to lawn bowl and it isn’t just for old people,” said Joan Roberts, the club’s publicity co-ordinator.

At the event, guests will have a chance to meet the members, take a look at the facility (at  2190 Harlow Drive) and try out the sport.

Those who enjoy themselves enough to think about taking it up can sign up for coaching sessions, the cost for which is taken out of their membership fees.

Roberts has been a member for seven years. Her interest was piqued by a newcomers event and the club remains an important social and active event for her.

“It’s just the enjoyment of challenging yourself to get better, and also meeting really friendly people who are very supportive,” Roberts said. “You just make friendship groups here which are really very worthwhile.”

Lawn bowling, or bowls, originated in England and involves rolling biased balls with the intent of getting them as close to a smaller white ball, called the jack, as the player can manage.

While the majority of the membership are in their autumn years, younger members are encouraged to join. The club also hosts a junior program for teenagers with an interest in the game.

Evening bowling is held three days a week for people who work and can’t make it out during the day.

Throughout the season on Friday nights, the club invites members to bring along guests, free of charge, to try their hand at the sport, with the help of some on-hand coaches. Guests are invited to the social hour after the bowl, too.

In the winter, when the greens are closed, the club is still a hotbed of activity, with organized bridge, mahjong, cribbage, darts, table tennis and short mat bowling.

“It’s not just bowling,” said Roberts. “We do have quite a big activity base.”

People are also invited to join the club as a social member, with access to all the winter events and social activities, but without bowling or having a vote in club business. Last year about 30 people joined as social members.

Whatever way people wish to get involved, the goal is always to make them feel welcomed, said Roberts.

For more information visit bowlsoakbay.ca.

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