Get a grip!

We all need a better grasp of the basics of our game. One of the first things you’ll do as a new student will be to find a bowl that fits your hand. The coaches will ask you to hold a bowl using only the thumb and middle finger of both hands around the large circumference. If your finger tips just meet comfortably, that’s the right size.


Side view – a consistent grip aids delivery.


Front view – Note vertical position of the bowl.

Sometimes a coach will give you a slightly smaller bowl as a beginner to enable a stable grip. How you hold the bowl will affect the way the bowl rolls once it’s released. In the photographs above, you can see one way to hold to bowl to maximize consistency. As you develop your skills, you’ll want to make simple things like the grip as automatic and stable as you possibly can.


Notes on the Green

New initiative: Let’s vary rink layout

The Greens Committeee has determined that, for the integrity of the green, bowling should adhere to a schedule of alternative directions on certain days of the week. Rinks need a chance to recoup in the areas where mats, bowls and feet are placed–typically two to six meters from the ditch. Please note the schedule below and maintain this schedule when bowling ladder games as well as draw games. In other words, you will need to be prepared to bowl east-west if that is what the schedule calls for on the day of your match.

 Set rinks to run North-South on:


 Set rinks to run East-West on:


Upcoming Green Maintenance – April 5 & 6

It is that time again.  Phil relays:

We have asked Jose to plug and sand the green on Saturday April 5th.  This will adversely affect play for approximately a week. So, there will be no draw games scheduled until Friday April 11. Also, because of this, the birthday party scheduled for March will be postponed until April 27th and combined with the April party. We very much regret this inconvenience, but trust that you will understand that maintenance of the greens is a major priority.

So, the grounds crew will plug and fill the green with a bit of leveling flourish here and there. We will have sandy rinks for a few days thereafter. Now, where are those old bowls?

Teamwork and stress – Tips for Skips

Winning or losing; having fun or wasting time…

Neuroscientists have shown again and again that positive feedback produces better performance in team efforts. The competitive hormones are all flowing by virtue of the fact that it’s ‘game on’. Negative feedback has the undesirable effect of creating unnecessary tension. It also tenses the very muscles that need to be relaxed to fully utilize the muscle memory we try so hard to develop.

So, the next time your lead is short, take a tip from neuroscience and send some love. It might even help you – the skip – deliver the bowl you need to save the end.


President’s Newsletter for March

A few of the items discussed during the February board meeting were:

1. There is a new mowing schedule. Jose will be mowing the green Tuesdays and Fridays from 2:30 to 4:00. Please do not arrange games which interferes with this schedule.

2. Cathy has completed the 2014 club roster and it is available for pickup at the club. Please review your contact data for accuracy and advise Cathy if there are any errors.

3. The March birthday party is scheduled for the last Sunday in March.  Update: due to greens maintenance , the birthday party scheduled for March has been postponed until April 27th. There are four celebrants: Howard Mackey, Dave McMullen, Bob Schwartz and Des Simpson. The club will provide coffee and dessert. Bring your own lunch at noon to be followed immediately by bowling.

4. The board will put on one of the back tables duplicate and excess books on lawn bowling from our library. They will be left out for a short while available for free to any member who wishes to add them to their personal library. The remainder will be donated to a third party.

5. We will have a booth at the September Solano Stroll in an effort to increase membership. Although this does not happen until September 14th we will need volunteers to man the booth. Do not be surprised if you are approached to volunteer your time for this worthy endeavor.

6. On the subject of volunteering the club functions much better if all the members participate in volunteering their time to the degree possible. Again do not be surprised if a board member respectfully asks that you consider doing some project for the good of the club.

7. Opening day at Rossmoor is this Saturday, the 15th. Be sure and consult the calender in the clubhouse Cathy has prepared so you do not miss any upcoming tournements.


Opening Day 2014

The folks at Rossmoor Lawn Bowling club are hosting this year’s opening day event. They are in the process of growing a brand new green, so the action will be limited to 16 rinks on 2 greens. Thank you Rossmoor – yours truly is looking forward to the event on Saturday, March 15.

Free weekend morning lessons

Sunday morning now joins Saturday morning as the time to get out and learn to lawn bowl. Our coaches will be there at 10:00 am on both days, weather permitting, to show you the ropes. Nothing to buy, just wear flat soled shoes and bring a desire to enjoy some fresh air and have a good time. Better yet, round up a group of 4 to 6 and come as a group.

BLBC is at the corner of Acton and Bancroft.
BLBC is at the corner of Acton and Bancroft.

Farewell to another good friend – John Patrick

It is with sadness we report that long time former member John Patrick died peacefully on November 14. John joined the Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club in 1988 and maintained his membership until recently. During his years with the BLBC John served the club in various roles, including greens keeper and board member. John also served in various functions for the PIMD (including umpire duties) and for the national bowling organizations.

John took his greens keeping duties seriously and worked hard at them. John could be counted on to squeeze a couple of years more use out of any piece of aging mechanical equipment. John admired good work whenever he saw it and, for example, could appreciate a well-constructed piece of metal or a beautiful shot in bowls; and he never hesitated in remarking on his appreciation to the creator of the good work.

For many years John was a very good bowler and enjoyed bowling around the world, from England to Windhoek, Namibia. When he returned he would tell anecdotes about his trips, frequently adding his editorial comments!

When John could bowl no longer, he remained a frequent presence at the club. Though not bowling, he remained a bowler by being present and watching the game take place on greens he had tended for years. John was passionate about lawn bowling and his care for the game came out in many ways that benefited the BLBC. We extend our sympathies to John’s wife, Masako, and the Patrick family.

In Memory of Irving Gershenberg

Our dear friend, Dr. Irving Gershenberg, passed away quietly at home on September 24. Irving was an avid bowler, past President, and current member of the club’s Memorial and Endowment Fund. A celebration of Irving’s bountiful life is being planned. We, at BLBC, share the family’s loss. Irving2

BLBC Had Company Today

Today was a special day at Berkeley LBC! Twenty-seven employees of a prestigious local firm were guests at the bowling club today as part of a team building exercise. They brought a splendid lunch and a desire to have fun.

The real purpose of this news item, though, is to applaud the efforts of one BLBC member who has taken the lead in events such as this one. Ann Gardiner is one amazing person. In the last four days, she has been the primary force for two hosting events at the club and participated in a major club-on-club tournament. This was a larger-than-ordinary task that could not have been pulled off without the right mix of leadership and hard work.

After the guests finished their lunch, the five “coaches” present had to introduce a lot of guests to lawn bowling quickly. But how does one do that? No problem for Ann. She had each person pre-select a bowl of the appropriate size to identify their set of bowls and set up the intro. Then, to my surprise, she had them form two parallel lines on the green facing her. She gave a simplified set of instructions and explanations about the nature of lawn bowling and the mechanics of delivering both the jack and the bowl. Immediately, one person at a time delivered a practice bowl to a waiting coach who then rolled it back. The neophyte bowler picked up the returned bowl and reported to an assigned rink where coaches were ready to direct a game of triples.

The amazingly efficient double line format streamlined the training and underlined just how important people like Ann Gardiner are to this (or any) organization. The next time you see Ann…say thank you.

Now it’s obvious that Ann didn’t do the whole event herself. Lots of other folks chipped in; Susan J., Jim C., Erwin V., John H., Millard L., and Dave R. all help set up, coach, and/or take down.

Now that’s teamwork. Let’s hope our guests did some team building too.