For outdoor-loving people, lawn bowling is an opportunity to get some exercise and enjoy the summer.
“On a summer evening, there’s nothing better than to come out and throw a few bowls,” said Gary Schwandt, vice president of Highlands Lawn Bowling Club.
The nearly century-old club is located at 113 Avenue and 62 Street and is holding its open house on May 29. Schwandt explained the open house is an opportunity for people to take in a quick lesson and learn more about the sport.
“We take you out on the green and teach you the proper way to stand, the way to hold the bowl,” said Schwandt. Lawn bowling is often considered a sport for seniors, but the club has a 15-year-old member as well as some members in their 30s. Schwandt said that the sport is for “ages 9 to 90.”
One of the members is blind with some remaining vision. Her son coaches her when she competes. “She is the Canadian champion in her division,” said Schwandt.
Lawn bowling is similar to curling and is simple enough to play, with the point being to roll the bowls as close as possible to a jack, a small white ball. Bowls are weighted balls designed to curve as they move. Commonwealth Lawn Bowling Club and Royal Lawn Bowling Club are the other two clubs in Edmonton and are also holding open houses on May 29.
During the open house, people can sign up to become a member. Membership is $50 for the five-month season, which runs from May to the end of September. The equipment is free to use for members and new members aren’t expected to learn the sport on their own.
“Once you sign up, there are three coaching lessons we like you to take.”
Besides the initial lessons, regular coaching sessions are on Wednesday evenings. Cecilia Gillespie, a Canadian pairs champion, coaches members.
“We’re lucky enough to be coached by the very best,” said Schwandt, and added that other trained club coaches are available.
Lawn bowling is on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings as well as Wednesday and Saturday mornings. Members aren’t placed on specific teams; every night the teams change. Members also don’t have to bowl every day. “You can come when it’s convenient for you,” said Schwandt.
The club has a relaxed approach—members can bowl for fun or they can compete. For those interested in competing, there are club competitions and provincial competitions, which lead to nationals.
HIGHLANDS LAWN BOWLING CLUB
11333 – 62 Street
Open house May 29
10 a.m. to 4 p.m
Feature Image: Lawn bowling is a great sport for people of all ages. Credit: Supplied