Hit the Bowling Green

If bowling gives you vintage vibes, you might be surprised to learn a lesser-known version of the sport — lawn bowling — dates back to the 13th-century in England. However, though similar in name to bowling at an alley, lawn bowling is more similar to bocce ball, with a scoring system akin to the one used in curling, and players use a smaller ball that fits in the palm of one’s hand.

The Tacoma Lawn Bowling Club was founded in 1929 and has experienced a more recent resurgence. On a sunny day, you may have stumbled upon the group playing at Wright Park, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that the club was revived and bowling again.

lawn bowling

Courtesy of the Tacoma Lawn Bowling Club

Kane Tobin moved to Tacoma in 2017 and marveled at the wide-open grass at Wright Park — how perfect would this be for lawn bowling, he thought?

“I have always wanted to try the sport, so I started doing some research and discovered the club had gone defunct (about) five years before my arrival in Tacoma,” he said. “So, I reached out to Metro Parks and started renting out the space for weekly bowls. We found the Tacoma Lawn Bowling Club’s equipment in storage and took legal ownership of the club.”

With the assistance of surrounding lawn bowling clubs and several volunteers, the Tacoma club started to rebuild its membership and has between 20 and 35 participants. Tobin currently serves as the club president and manages the program through Metro Parks Tacoma.

This year, the club is celebrating its 90th anniversary, and always is welcoming new members, including curious passersby interested in joining a game. You’re not too late to join its late summer league, which begins Aug. 6. The local season runs from early May to mid-September, and you can learn more about how to get involved by visiting the club’s website.

is an assistant editor at South Sound magazine. Email her.
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