Lawn bowling: A game of skill, competition and history - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Topstory

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

Lawn bowling: A game of skill, competition and history

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Tuesday, December 29, 2009 12:00 am

The most popular competitive sports of today may have larger-than-life athletes, who hit baseballs out of the ballparks and tackle other players with a fierce veracity, but at the Ahwatukee Recreation Center the several thousand-year-old sport of lawn bowling has a loyal following that fosters a refined competitive spirit.

Art McMaster, a member of the ARC’s lawn bowling roster, has been playing the sport for more than 50 years. Over the years McMaster has come to appreciate the sport for the skill and competitive spirit it demands.

“You walk about a mile in a regular game so it’s good exercise, and you meet a lot of nice people,” McMaster said. “It’s also really good competition.”

The object of the game is to score points by getting one’s ball, called a bowl, closest to a small white ball, called the jack. The catch is that the bowls have a degree of bias, which means that they are deliberately lop-sided.

McMaster’s wife, Helen, is also an avid lawn bowling player.

“It’s a fun game, and it’s good exercise,” Helen McMaster said. “It’s a refined game in that people are polite and kind. You compliment your opponent when they receive a point.”

The game remains exciting until the last round of rolling the bowls, which are called ends.

“You don’t know until the last end who’s going to win,” Art McMaster said. “Weather is also a factor. If it’s too wet or windy you can’t be sure what the bowl will do.”

Part of the fascination with lawn bowling is its colorful history. Perhaps the most famous lawn bowling story goes that when Sir Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh heard of the impending assault from the Spanish Armada, Drake insisted on finishing the game before sailing out to fight the Spaniards. Even Walt Disney was an avid lawn bowler.

“There is a certain camaraderie among lawn bowlers that is not found in any other sport,” Art McMaster said.

While the McMasters appreciate the rich history of lawn bowling, it is not the focus of their daily lawn bowling games.

“When we first started the history of the game was interesting, but now we think more about winning and getting the bowls closest to the jack,” Art McMaster said.

The ARC lawn bowling club currently has about a dozen active members, but is looking for new members. To join you must be a member of the ARC.

“We give free lawn bowling lessons, and you can use other people’s bowls so you don’t have to buy your own,” Art McMaster said. “We bowl Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9 a.m.”

The ARC is located at 5001 E. Cheyenne Drive. For more information on lawn bowling at the ARC, call (480) 893-2549 or visit

More about

More about

More about

  • Discuss

Macayo's rebrands, changes name (for the fourth time in 70 years)

Macayo's, the long-standing Mexican restaurant whose original owner Woody Johnson is credited with inventing the chimichanga, has gone through…

Published: October 25, 2016 - 4:45 pm @…

Emerging Garden and Plant Trends for 2017

To boost sales next year, dig deep into these consumer desires. by: Tom OderBoost your lawn and garden sales by knowing the 2017 trends. (Phot…

Published: October 25, 2016 - 4:45 pm @…

Goodyear Kid Science Advisor meets Obama to talk about STEM

Local 13-year-old Sage Foreman, who represents his Goodyear school as a chief science officer for the Arizona SciTech Festival, recently visit…

Published: October 25, 2016 - 4:43 pm @…

Poll: Donald Trump takes the lead in Arizona

PHOENIX - A new poll shows Donald Trump has taken the lead in Arizona. The poll released by Monmouth University on Tuesday shows 46% of Arizon…

Published: October 25, 2016 - 4:41 pm @…

Ballot Bullies: Big Tobacco Goes All Out to Kill Proposition 56

Photo by Pandora Young The old-school image of a rock star was a guy smoking a cigarette, and Tris Imboden was that guy. As the drummer for th…

Published: October 25, 2016 - 4:14 pm @…

Brewer tells the truth

The national progressive echo chamber had quite a fit last week when former Gov. Jan Brewer brushed off the suggestion that Hispanics would ca…

Published: October 25, 2016 - 4:14 pm @…

Latino Activists Respond to Jan Brewer's 'They Don't Vote' Remark

Griselda Nevarez A A Did Jan Brewer put her foot in her mouth this past Friday? A lot of Arizona Latinos think so.  In an interview with the B…

Published: October 25, 2016 - 4:01 pm @…

Hugging Higher Costs

Yesterday, the Obama Administration announced 2017 premium increases averaging 25 percent for the benchmark plan offered on the federal ObamaC…

Published: October 25, 2016 - 3:44 pm @

Mock teen bedroom at AZ capitol shows hidden signs of drugs

By Andres Guerra Luz | Cronkite News PHOENIX – It seems like a normal room: There’s a can of hairspray by the mirror, a red trash can by the d…

Published: October 25, 2016 - 3:40 pm @…

Former Sparky keeps fork 'em tradition in family

For Trisalyn Nelson, inspiration hit when the oncoming car almost did. One day in 2014, Nelson was cycling on her way back from work at the Sp…

Published: October 25, 2016 - 3:10 pm @…

Facebook on Facebook

Twitter on Twitter


Subscribe to via RSS

RSS Feeds


Most Popular

Online poll