Feature Story                                                                                                        Thursday, May 1, 2014


Love of the Lawn

Chilliwack bowling community looks to add new members

Staff/Voice photos


The Chilliwack Lawn Bowling Club's ceremonial golden bowl sits on the green at the Open House last Saturday. Below, Doug Fraser throws out the golden bowl.


t 91-years-old, the Chilliwack Lawn Bowling Club is the oldest sporting facility in the city. But believe it or not, some people playing it in town are older. For instance, Don Buchanan is an active member and he's 93-years-old.

Even though the grass had yet to be manicured, the Chilliwack Lawn Bowling Club threw open the doors to new members at the clubhouse located across from the Armouries building at 9350 Edwards Street.

Old friends trickled in and upstairs where they were met with of hugs and smiles.

To the uninitiated, lawn bowling appears to be for crusty old people, but the sport is actually being played by people all across the age spectrum.

"Our club is on the cusp of palliative care," quips president Carol Bell.


After being hit by a golf ball, a man in his nineties was looking for a safer sport and ended up at the Clubhouse on Saturday. A sport that was no harder to play than walking a dog.

"It's a genteel, cerebral and sociable game that bonds people of any age," said Bell. "It was a lifeline for me after Dave died."

Bell says members have the freedom to play 7 days a week, days or evenings.

The sport is good for retirees giving people an opportunity to remain active and the club has a flexible schedule. According to Bell, more younger people are discovering the sport.

"Last year, we had two different batches of kids from Promontory Church and they absolutely loved it," she said. "We gave them a quick little tutorial on how to throw the bowl, they're bias so they just don't go straight."

"We had snacks for them and they ended up having to eat their them on the way back home because they stayed and stayed to play."

Bells says she expects them back because they had such a good time last year.

"They want to make it an annual thing."

Don't have any bowls? That's fine says Bell.

"We have quite a few sets of club bowls so people don't even have to have their own. Basically just show up with your tennis shoes on."

Bell says they hope to find partners in the non-profit sector looking to stage fundraising events modeled on www.lawnsummernights.com which can help introduce new participants to the venerable game of bowls.

Chilliwack resident Doug Fraser spends his winters in Mesa Arizona. In the summer, you can find him on the bowling greens at the club.

"I play every second day, and I cut the lawn," says Fraser.

Fraser says when compared to a sport like golf, lawn bowling is much more affordable.

All the bowls have a bias on them with a small ring on one side and a larger ring on the other side. When thrown, the bowls tend to curve, similar to curling.

The white bowl is call the "jack" and players try to get their bowls as close to it as possible.

"What happens when you throw the ball, it will run straight for what you have aimed for and the last one-third of where the bowl's going to go, it will curve towards the side of the small bowl," explains Fraser. "So, for instance, when you bowl to the white jack that you throw out first, that's the object of the game, to get as close to the jack with the bowl."

Fraser says that if there's dew on the grass, you can see the track that the bowl will make getting to the jack.

Fraser holds up a bowl and points to its sides.

"If you're bowling to the right, the small circle would come to the inside, and it will run for the jack but you don't aim for the jack, you aim to the right or left and the bowl will curve," says Fraser.

Club tournaments include; men's, women's, singles, pairs, triples, and mixed.


Drop-ins pay $5/game which consists of 12 ends. Annual memberships are $160 and that covers everything, including the odd hug or two. The season runs from April 26 until the end of October depending on the weather.

Greens are open 7 days per week as follows:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 9:30 am - morning bowling
Tuesday, Thursday: 6:45 pm - evening bowling
Saturday: 10:00 am - morning bowling
Sunday: 2:00 pm - evening bowling

For more information, call (604) 795-2637.

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Previous Voice coverage The Best Shot - May 9 2013

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