We provide the equipment; all you need is flat bottom shoes. Just drop by.
Classes also available by appointment – Call Jim at 510 644 2249.
Outdoor bowling on a bowling green is a classic sport that goes back hundreds of years and continues today in Berkeley. The retro sport we love is modern day fun out in the fresh air. Walt Disney was an avid lawn bowler.
Please, stop by and check out the action be it lessons or just to watch on Wednesday or Friday afternoon. EVERYONE IS WELCOME!
Already know how to bowl? Day use fees for lawn bowling are just $5 per day for Berkeley residents and $5.50 for non residents. Phone (510) 841-2174.
Draw games for members and guests are normally held on Wednesday and Friday. Please arrive or call by 12:15. Games begin at 12:30. Spontaneous draw games, practice sessions, and special sessions have become quite common.
If you are interested in having your own special event at our facility, please contact us or drop by during one of the draw games. Our facilities can accommodate around 50 people for receptions, meetings, or team building events. We can provide bowling instruction or simply a rental venue with cooking facilities.
The PIMD Women’s Singles Championship is a chance for the
region’s women bowlers to show how it’s done and for three years in a row now,
one of BLBC’s own ladies has won the bragging rights.
The event was held at the BLBC on Saturday, May 11, and
Annie Brillhart regained the crown she had won in 2017 after ceding to another
Berkeley bowler, Cathy Dinnean, last year.
The weather cooperated for a lovely day on the green, at the
end of which Annie edged out a fine performance by novice bowler Elizabeth
Mulenga (Palo Alto). Both of whom were the only players to win all three of
their games, but Annie had a slightly better differential. Reggie Banares,
veteran bowler and winner of many past events in the Bay Area and beyond, came
The road to victory was not easy, however, as Annie had to
face her good friend and current title holder, Cathy, in the third match. Down 4-12 on the eighth end, Annie
told herself to slow down and just get the point. Which she did, so that by the
17th end, Cathy’s lead had been cut to 13 -12. With three points on the 18th
and final end, Annie showed the truth of that old saying: “It ain’t over till
to Annie on her win (again) and thanks to all who laid on the hospitality and
volunteered as markers.
an added kudos—for both Annie and the Club—BLBC
garnered at least two new Dual Members! This couple felt our green was bowling
so well and looked to be in such good condition that they signed up on the spot.
Many compliments from others, accompanied by hints of potential membership, came
our way on the state of the green, which is mostly attributable to the efforts
and dedication of newly-retired previous Greenskeeper, Annie herself. The
challenge now is to keep up her good work going forward
On a fine May 4 Saturday, eighteen members of the Berkeley club assembled on the Palo Alto green to defend the Meat Axe trophy against eighteen equally determined players from Palo Alto. The tournament, now in its 66th year, mimics the Cal-Stanford rivalry played out in “The Big Game” when the winning team gets to carry off the famous Axe. In the bowling world, the victors take home the somewhat smaller cleaver to proudly display in their clubhouse until next year’s event. Six teams from each club played a 14-end Triples game in the morning, and a second game in the afternoon. The scores were close all around, but Berkeley pulled off some exciting last minute saves, and ended winning four of the six games both morning and afternoon. The trophy was graciously returned to Berkeley by Palo Alto president, John MacMorris, to Berkeley president Ian Cameron. We look forward to next year’s challenge, which will be played on the Berkeley green.
Our thanks to the Palo Alto club for its wonderful hospitality as
always. Congenial competition was the spirit of the day.
Howard Mackey—long-time BLBC
member, former BLBC president, former greens-keeper, former board-member, and
former Memorial & Endowment Fund Trustee—passed away on April 15,
2019. Howard crammed a lot of life into his 93 years: he enjoyed taking
it all in, and he could tell you hundreds of stories about sailing, RV living
in southern California, life in the Bay Area from his childhood to the present
day, and bowling. Life did not just happen to Howard – Howard went at
life with a remarkable combination of enthusiasm, stoicism, and old-fashioned
Bay Area lawn bowlers consider
Howard a Berkeley institution, but Howard considered himself an El Cerrito
product. One of those rarities of California — a native — Howard was
born to a family that lived in El Cerrito around B Street, near the current
Harding School. Howard remembered the days when the dog track (the site
of the El Cerrito Plaza) was the epicenter of El Cerrito, then the colorful and
corrupt town that escaped Alameda County DA Earl Warren’s reformist wrath by
sitting just over the Contra Costa County line.
He sometimes talked about the squalid trailers not far from his home,
where families who worked at the racetrack lived. Seeing this had a
profound effect on the young Howard. He was proud of his parents’ work as
supporters for what eventually became the El Cerrito Good Government League
that in 1946 successfully recalled the corrupt city government and replaced 3
council members with league candidates. He would say that there were many
reasons for them not to do what they did – but he felt they did the right
thing. Howard seemed to live his own life making choices inspired by his
Howard attended El Cerrito High
School and returned to teach there until his retirement. The halls
there have articles and photos of Howard serving his community. This
writer had the pleasure of coaching former students of Howard who came through
the BLBC gates years later. They would reminisce fondly about their time
Howard would want the story of
his life to include what a powerful combination he and his wife Barbara (also a
bowler and a BLBC member) were. They lived as though their good
fortune, robust health, and ability compelled them to serve their community
Howard and Barbara joined the
BLBC in 1993, and the couple bowled competitively for many years. The
BLBC’s winners’ board includes the Mackeys in all kinds of competitions.
They bowled regularly in PIMD tournaments and did the BLBC proud by bringing
back many victories over the years. And whether he bowled well or not on
a particular day, Howard never let the fever of competition overwhelm him: he
always started and finished a game with a handshake and sincere thanks for the
play regardless of the outcome.
Howard bowled for many years as
a lethal skip. In later years he preferred to bowl as an equally lethal
second. Toward the end of his bowling days, he left the heavy lifting to
others and shifted to bowling as lead. When he wasn’t working on the
green or in the clubhouse, he was practicing with 2 sets of bowls, but with neither mat
nor rink markers. He would bowl to a jack that he rolled anywhere on the
green. He then walked to the jack, rolled it out to another random spot
on the green and so on. During these practice sessions, Barbara might be
reading on the bench near the memorial plaque in her name.
When not bowling, Howard and
Barbara served the club in countless ways. Barbara served as board
secretary for several terms and Howard served two terms as BLBC president. Howard
and Barbara enjoyed running the Berkeley Jamboree for quite a few years.
They frequently were the first to come set up for events and draw games and
just as frequently the last to leave when putting things away. Howard
stepped up to serve as greenskeeper for several years, a thankless job that he
took on with grace and equanimity. A common sight would be Howard hunched
over a piece of machinery, confidently dismantling and reassembling it.
He might tell an observer about the first time he worked on a piece of
machinery like it — and how he completely messed it up. Ever the
teacher, Howard wanted us to know that failure followed by trying again was the
key to everything.
Barbara died in 2012, and that
took its toll on Howard. He did not dwell upon his loss in a public way,
but if he was comfortable with you, he would speak of his loneliness and how
strange it felt for him to wake up without Barbara there. He also
frequently spoke of the happiness and joy his family brought to him: he
knew himself to be lucky and was grateful.
And that is how we at the Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club feel about Howard and Barbara. They gave so much time, labor, love, and goodwill to the BLBC and its members. A grateful BLBC community shall remember them fondly for what they cheerfully provided in so many ways. We offer our condolences to the Mackey family.
Note: A memorial service for Howard Mackey will be held at the Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club on June 15, 2019.
This past week end at San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club, six women’s pairs teams battled for the right to represent the PIMD at the National Championships in September. They played three 18 end games on Saturday and two 18 end games on Sunday. Despite the freezing cold wind on Saturday, BLBC’s own Cathy Dinnean and Sarah Allday won two games and lost their third game by only one point. They were tied on the 16th end in games one and two and went on to win. They were tied in the 17th end of their third game; Cathy missed making the winning shot by a hair. All three games were exciting to watch. (Two teams didn’t finish until 7:30; they played their last end in the dark. Happily, we three ladies arrived at our club about then.) Cathy and Sarah weren’t as successful on Sunday. Despite some fine bowling by both ladies, they lost both games by six points. However, they ended up in third place. Not too shabby for their first time at the play-downs! The winning team: Angie Peet and Rose Selby–the only team to win all their games. Team Ginger Harris and Janice Bell (also a BLBC dual member) are the first alternates.
Eleven men’s pairs teams also played. The top six teams will compete again next weekend. Sadly, BLBC team Jim Corr and Bob Schwartz just missed the cut. However, BLBC dual members Daniel Gorelick, Mo Shooer, Frankie Napoli and Russ Leonard advanced. Good luck going forward, guys!
On Saturday, March 16, 120 bowlers from the PIMD met at San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club for President’s Recognition Opening Day. Our own Jim Corr was recognized as a past president, and Ian Cameron was recognized as our current president. Along with Ian and Jim, eight other members of our club–Andy, Annie, Cathy, Glenn, John, Rob, Mo and Susan Carlson–were on hand to enjoy seeing familiar faces and to meet new friends.
Of course there was a raffle to help raise money to pay for hosting the 2019 National Championship at San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club in September. We’ll be needing volunteers from our club to help. More about that soon!
The morning began with a well earned tribute to the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department. (See first photo below.) Their commitment to improving the greens and surrounds is extraordinary; their sincere belief that lawn bowling is both an historic and a contemporary socially important activity that deserves their City’s strong support serves as a model for other communities. After the opening ceremonies, we all participated in a spider. Quite a sight! (See the photo below.)
Then, everyone was ready for the bowling to begin. We played a game in the morning, took a break for lunch and played another game in the afternoon. Six of our club’s bowlers won money! (I know it’s not just about winning, but we all have to admit it’s great when we do!) Two of our novices did quite well.
Novice Susan Carlson: 2nd Place in the morning game. Well done, Susan!
Novice Ian: Tied for 2nd Place in the morning game, and won 2nd Place in the afternoon game. Hubba, hubba!
Annie: Tied for 2nd Place in the morning game.
Jim: 2nd place in the afternoon game.
Mo: Tied for 2nd Place in the morning game.
Rob: 1st Place in the afternoon game. (Best win for our club!)
The BLBC recently received news that former BLBC member George Goldman passed away in June of this year. George joined our club and bowled enthusiastically for quite a few years. Several years ago he started treatment for leukemia, and the treatment gave him valuable additional time,but took its toll on his physical strength. George himself likely would have admitted as much. He proudly honed a rational approach to life and offered an unblinking and unsentimental assessment of his state and prognosis. That sounds more serious than George was: his curiosity and sharp sense of irony made George a voluble and entertaining raconteur.
Outside of his lawn bowling life, George worked at the University of California in the Extension programs as an economist specializing in agriculture. He was one of the charter members of the BLBC’s poker group. Imagine George and several other economists at the poker table waxing eloquent on various economic issues of the day in technical detail. The non-economist at the table might think this distraction would help someone focused on the poker score. Alas, for that non-economist (like this writer), when George sat at the table he won more frequently than he lost when the night’s counting out was through.
Any conversation with George might cover economics, bowling,music, cooking, camping, travel, softball, or any other topic, really. He was a charming, forthright, funny, curious and sincere man. The BLBC offers its sympathies to the Goldman family.
The BLBC “Rossmoor Challenge” is an annual match up of Berkeley bowlers against our friendly rivals on the other side of the Caldecott Tunnel. It is played in alternate years on each club’s green. This year, BLBC was firing on all cylinders. Under sunny skies Berkeley won by a score of 9 games to 1 (four triples matches and one pairs in the morning and the afternoon). Everybody from both teams had a great day, both socializing before the games and during the lunch break. We look forward to defending the “title” next year at Rossmoor.
Thanks go to all who participated as well as the hospitality
crew of Sarah Allday, Cathy Dinnean, and Susan Jamart who made sure a fine
spread was set up in advance.
We promote the game of lawn bowling for the enjoyment of new and experienced players alike.