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.
Ten hopeful bowlers showed up to bowl in the BLBC Pairs Draw Tournament. Before drawing to see who their partners would be, they had to find out who would be skipping and who would be leading. Due to the small number of skips, I had to ask two bowlers who prefer to bowl lead to bowl skip instead. Both graciously agreed to take on the task. After the draw, the teams of John Hooper & novice Hugo Deaux, Lennon Hamilton & Sarah Allday, Cris Benton & Millard Long, Rob Hoey & Ted Crum and Shawn Roney & Ray Francis stepped onto the green. After bowling three 12-end games, the top two teams would bowl for the right to have their names on the Winners’ Board.
Sadly, we had an uneven number of teams, so one team had a bye in each of the three games. On a more positive note: Most of the games were very close. In the third game, four teams were in contention for the top two spots. Shawn & Ray bested Rob & Ted by one point in a very close match. The win put them in 1st place. Cris & Millard won their match against Lennon & Sarah with enough plus points to capture 2nd place. The rinks were changed and the two teams began the game. All four players bowled very well–no great surprise there! At the end of the game, Shawn and Ray prevailed. Well done Shawn and Ray!
An extra tip ‘o the hat to Ray. After 21 years, his name will now–finally, be on the Winners’ Board!
Huge thanks to Susan and Sarah for helping to organize the food and getting the club house ready for the tournament.
The Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club received a letter last week that long time member and former BLBC president George Steedman passed away at his home in Lodi at the remarkable age of 102. George’s obituary in the Lodi News-Sentinel does a very nice job of telling many exciting and worthwhile things George and Helen Steedman accomplished (it is worth a read).
George joined the BLBC in 1969. As the “winners’ board” on the clubhouse wall attests, the Steedmans played bowls very well: from the 1970s to the 1990s, the Steedman name appears frequently among the intra-club events victors. As bowlers, they both were competitive without being flashy and were gracious in victory and defeat. George may have been the best draw bowler this writer ever witnessed, and he freely imparted this advice: “If you have a choice between a heavy shot and draw, choose the draw shot.” And he took his own advice. Frequently advised by seconds to drive, George might deign to go heavy with a “yard on” shot; but never a drive. Usually, though, he stuck with drawing a shot to devastating effect.
Off the green, George served as president of the BLBC in 1983, and Helen could be counted on to provide welcoming hospitality inside the clubhouse. George served many years as chairman of the Memorial and Endowment Fund, and the Fund still benefits from his thoughtful and careful work in this area. In the 1990s, George became chairman of the BLBC’s lease committee, and he patiently and wisely guided the club through the tricky political landscape the club faced at that time. His efforts paid off, and the BLBC received a long-term lease that ensured the club’s continued presence in Berkeley.
After Helen passed away, George continued bowling well at the club before eventually moving to the Lodi area. George always behaved as a true gentleman and his demeanor served to bring out the best in those of us who knew him. Saying “no” to a request from George – a man who did so much for the club — was just about impossible. George’s natural curiosity about the world and its people meant that he was always ready for a good conversation about current events, the economy, the Cal sports teams’ prospects, and many other subjects. The BLBC offers its sympathies to George’s family, but we also remember with gratitude the many years of good bowling and excellent service the Steedmans generously gave to us. Thank you, George!
Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club initiated its first Young Bowlers Program in April. Twenty-three sixth graders (and one brave teacher) from The Berkeley School were introduced to lawn bowling. Club coaches set up four games of Triples and were on hand to help with learning how to bowl, to explain rules and strategy, and to ensure everyone had a great time. The student’s Physical Education teacher was on thegreen giving encouragement and watching their progress. The students were very enthusiastic and completely involved in the games. No slackers in this group! All the kids were awarded gold medals by their coaches. Our Club plans to continue the relationship with The Berkeley School as part of the School’s regular phys. ed. program. Who knows, maybe a future national champion is in the making?
BLBC hosted our first intra-club tournament of the 2015 season today. The 4-Bowl Singles event is always popular, but this year we had a record number of entrants. Despite reservations about using eight rinks (due to the questionable condition of rinks one and eight), tournament director Annie Brillhart opted to have as many people bowl as possible. Therefore, we had sixteen bowlers competing to have their name on the Winner’s Board. By the way, we welcomed two new members: Hugo Deaux and Gordon Wilson. Good to see you both on the green!
Everyone bowled three ten-end games and then took a break for lunch while Annie tallied the scores. The top four bowlers who moved on to the semi-finals were Shawn Roney (the only bowler to win all three games!), John Luster, Cris Benton and Gordon Wilson. (Gordon is obviously a bowler to be reckoned with!) Shawn and Gordon had a very close game that was settled on the last end. Gordon prevailed. John got the better of Cris (this time!).
So, John and Gordon moved on to the finals. It was a tough match. Both bowlers made beautiful shots all of which received hearty applause from the club bowlers who stayed to watch. The score was tied going into the ninth end. John took two points when his last bowl trailed the jack away from Gordon’s bowl. Gordon fought back on the last end, but John finished with solid bowls and won the game.
Congratulations to John! And congratulations to all the bowlers who participated in today’s games!
Huge thanks to Cathy Dinnean, Susan Jamart and Sarah Allday for spiffing up the club house and providing plenty of coffee and snacks throughout the day! (Susan, your flowers were lovely!)
An exceptional note of thanks to Sarah for being a (mostly) lone marker all morning. Thank you, Sarah!
Last but not least, thanks to Cathy, Dave, John Hooper and Erwin for helping to mark the semi-final and final games.
I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all of those who bowled today for their feedback and generous support.
Some of you will remember the PIMD Women’s Fours Team of Ginger Harris, Mary Scott, Cathy Dinnean and I won 1st Place in the 2nd Flight at the US Open last September. Well, the PIMD ladies were at it again at this year’s SW Open. The Women’s Fours Team of Ginger Harris, Judith Perkins, Mary Scott and I bowled our way into the Championship battle for 1st and 2nd Place!
On day one, we won two and lost two. That was just enough to move us into the 7th position of the Championship Flight. On day two, our first game was against the number two team, a very formidable opponent! After 14 ends, we were tied, so we had to play a one end sudden death play off. We won the toss, and I rolled a long jack. We won! In the second game we were bowling against Joanne Kluck, Angie Peet (also from PIMD) and two women from the SW division. I think it’s fair to say they were considered to be the PIMD favorites. Once again we were tied after 14 ends–but only because of a spectacular last bowl by Ginger Harris! They won the toss and rolled a medium long jack. We held it together and won. All of a sudden, we were bowling against the strongest SW team for 1st and 2nd place! (Joanne and Angie’s team went on to win 4th Place. Kudos to them!)
The SW team (Maryna Hyland, Heather Stewart, Jan Hargraves and Betsy Lauryssen) won the toss, rolled a short jack and won the point. Over and over, we kept them to one or two points, but they kept rolling those pesky short jacks. Finally, when we were down 1 to 12, we adapted and won the point. Ginger asked me to roll a long jack, and I did. Over and over again. We crept up until we were two points from tying on the 14th end. Would this be yet again another sudden death play off? Sadly, it was not to be. But we sure made the SW team work for their win!
My understanding is this is the first time in a long time that PIMD women’s teams made it to the Championship Flight. Well done to both PIMD Women’s Fours Teams!
Fifteen Berkeley bowlers made the trip to Palo Alto on Saturday, January 21st, for this year’s battle for the meat axe. Two triples matches were played under crisp, clear winter skies. In the end, it was Berkeley seven, Palo Alto 3 and the coveted trophy was returned to its rightful place in the Berkeley clubhouse.
The Winter League is a favorite of those Bay Area bowlers who feel the need to keep their competitive juices flowing through the bowling calendar’s “off season.” Formerly the San Jose Winter League, it was re-named this year in honor of John Ogden, one of Northern California bowling’s “good guys” and who had been its long-time organizer before his passing in 2014.
At the start of this year’s tournament, members of John’s family were present to remember him, along with bowlers from the teams entered in the competition. John’s Dad, Woody, a US Bowling Hall of Famer himself, ceremoniously rolled the first jack to get the event off and running.
Over three weeks, the 14 pairs teams played an almost round-robin of 12 10-end games. After an uncharacteristically slow start on the first weekend, Jon and Tom Burnoski came through as narrow winners, tying with Berkeley’s Jim Corr and Bob Schwartz on games won (nine), but with a points differential of 98 compared to Jim and Bob’s 96. Larry Collaco and Marcus Zieno (San Jose) took third place, while the team of Frankie Napoli (Rossmoor) and Phil Grattan (Berkeley) came in fourth.
Jon (left) and Tom Burnoski, first place 2015 John Ogden Memorial Winter League
We recently received news that former BLBC president Myra (Kolitsch) Baylor passed away earlier this year. Myra served the club in many ways, including serving as a board member and head of the coaching committee before being elected as the first (and to date only) woman president of the BLBC.
Myra hailed from Appleton, Wisconsin, and grew up in a large family. While a young student, Myra fell ill with scarlet fever and made up for lost school time by becoming a voracious reader and autodidact. She always enjoyed hearing about what other people were reading, and gently encouraged others into reading her favorite authors (she particularly enjoyed Vladimir Nabokov).
In one of her first jobs she worked as an assistant librarian at the public library in her town. She remembered that, when the Great Depression hit, people swarmed to the library for heat and relief from the harsh Wisconsin winter. She recounted that, at the end of the day, people would steal the library’s newspapers to use as insulation in their shoes that night. The head librarian drove herself to distraction trying to protect her newspapers. Myra came up with a solution: instead of trying to protect all the newspapers, Myra made a deal with readers in need: Myra would make sure 1 complete newspaper remained available for the library’s records and she would make all other copies of the day’s newspaper available for the cold night ahead. This story sums up Myra’s character: find a way to do the right thing and find a way to treat people respectfully and compassionately.
Myra went to university to become a professional librarian (with degrees from the University of Wisconsin and Columbia University). She came to the University of California in Berkeley in the 1940s and worked as a librarian into the 1980s. She met her future husband, former BLBC president Bob Baylor, at the Berkeley bowling green. In retirement she also served on the Berkeley Public Library board.
Myra’s commitment to people and ideals made her a superb coach and a great teammate for lawn bowling. She had a keen eye for strategy, and proved that bowls is game for everyone. Stronger and more experienced bowlers mistook Myra’s gentle demeanor for weakness at their peril. She recounted with particular glee the time she skipped a team of, as she called it, “3 little old ladies” against a seasoned team led by a nationally ranked man. Myra instructed her lead to roll two bowls short at every end to cause obstacles for the opposition: Myra’s famous super-wide 3s easily went around the blockers. The little old ladies won. Handily. Anyone who was on the receiving end of Myra delivering a bowl or dropping a run of doubles in dominos knows the mischievous yet charming glint that came to her eyes as she emerged victorious. She was obviously competitive, but valued good play far above winning.
Myra’s bowling legacy continues today: her coaching success can be seen in the bowling accomplishments of many current Berkeley bowlers. Myra provided the energy and inspiration that led to the creation of the special “Low Income or Disabled” and “Student” memberships. Myra was a force of nature and a kind, generous person. The BLBC is lucky she came along and is grateful that she gave so much talent and energy to our club. We offer our belated condolences to Myra’s family.
On Saturday, November 8, the Palo Alto Lawn Bowling Club hosted the Bay Area’s final bowling event of the year. The Ed Arnold Invitational, named for a generous and hard-working past president of the club, was played by fourteen teams of three – that’s 42 bowlers on seven rinks. Each of the 42 entrants played skip, vice, and lead, in rotation, in each of three 12-end games. Teams comprised two men and one woman each, and included representatives from most of the Bay Area clubs. In an unusual twist, no team won all three of its games, though eight teams won two, so the winners were determined by the point differentials.
Winning teams at the end of a vigorous day. From left to right: Ann Brillhart, Shawn Roney, and Cris Benton (1st Place) then Wilfred Wong, Rob Hoey, and Cathy Dinnean (2nd Place).
Berkeley was well-represented by two teams of full members, plus two of our dual members. The rotating format presents a unique challenge, and Berkeley proved up to the challenge! We proudly announce that First Place was won by Shawn Roney, Ann Brillhart, and Cris Benton, who had two game wins and 18 plus-points. Further, Second Place was taken by the Berkeley team of Rob Hoey, Cathy Dinnean, and Wilfred Wong, with two game wins and 10 plus-points.
These wins conclude a fine bowling season for Berkeley, during which we were on the podium at many events throughout the year.
Cris Benton, a Berkeley novice (less than two years’ membership), won the 2014 PIMD Novice Tournament going undefeated over two days of bowling at the Oakland Lawn Bowling Club. Both he and Rob Hoey, another Berkeley novice (and the current PIMD Open Singles Champion, a stellar achievement for a “newbie”) were undefeated on Saturday October 18 and proceeded on Sunday to the round robin final stage along with Lucien Salyk of Oakland and David Peters of Rossmoor. Each match involved unlimited ends with the winner being the first to accumulate 18 points.
In the first Sunday game, Rob played Dave in a 3+ hour game that was tight. Rob fell behind early but battled back right up to the end. Then his luck turned and Dave came through for an 18-16 win. Meanwhile, Cris prevailed 18-8 against Lucien, who had home green advantage.
In the second round the Berkeley duo faced each other in an exciting match in which Cris’s early lead was gradually pulled back by Rob and a further surge by Cris was again chipped away until it was a 17-17 tie. On the final end, Rob, well-known for his mat strategy, had the mat and placed the jack at maximum depth. After his last bowl, and with Cris having one final shot, Rob held two convincing points and the head was such that a draw shot would be tough. Cris resorted to what he describes as “a Hail Mary” and ran the jack into the ditch for the win. In the other match, Lucien defeated Dave 18-14.
In a relatively quick third game, Lucien was successful against Rob, leaving the possibility of a three-way tie—and the need for a further play-off—if Dave were to beat Cris. A very tight and long struggle that stretched into the gloaming saw the outcome poised on a knife edge with the score 17-16 in Dave’s favor. However, despite the gathering dusk and despite wearing sunglasses (not anticipating such a long day, he had forgotten to bring his regular glasses), Cris managed to get three bowls within a foot or so of the jack, thereby offering an inviting target! Dave drove his last bowl at the head, but a slight nick on one of the bowls in the front diverted its path just enough to leave Cris’s three in place and the title his.
Congratulations to Cris and well done to all the novice participants!
Cris Benton at the Oakland Lawn Bowling Club
The Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club promotes the game of lawn bowling for the enjoyment of new and experienced players alike.