By JESSICA SHACKLETON
Kew Beach Lawn Bowling Club was full of excitement on Saturday, June 17, as the club hosted an open house and welcomed people from the neighbourhood and beyond to come in and try the sport.
With one membership, the club’s members enjoy both croquet and lawn bowling during the outdoor summer season from May to October.
Esther Ashby and her husband Stephen have been club members since 2018. Neither had ever lawn bowled before but are now heavily involved in both the social and competitive aspects of the club.
An avid soccer player, Stephen suggested they join the club to take up another sport. “My soccer skills don’t transfer, but my golf game has improved,” he said.
As the membership coordinator, Esther comes up with incentives for people to join the club. One of them is themed games including black tie, tie-dye, and solstice bowls.
“It makes it more fun,” she said.
The purpose of Saturday’s open house was to give onlookers and visitors a chance to see what the club is all about and encourage new members to join. It included a tour of the clubhouse and an active session of both lawn bowling and croquet.
“Lawn bowling was really popular in the 1970s, and we’re always trying to attract a younger group,” said Esther.
Genevieve Landry and Michael Bouliane are the newest members of Kew Beach Lawn Bowling Club. After walking by the club often, they finally decided to join this season.
“It’s a good deal and a flexible schedule…and it’s fun,” said Landry. “The people are great and caring, patient members.”
Though it can be competitive, encouraging new players and keeping the sport going is most important. “It’s a really fun, lovely thing to do and the location is fantastic,” said Bouliane.
The sport has aspects similar to curling but unlike the winter sport, the target moves. The goal is to have your biased, weighted side, ball closest to the jack, which is a smaller white ball that can be knocked into a different position. Team numbers and members are flexible. There is a system called the jitney that groups different teams in each game.
Echoed throughout for those at Saturday’s open house was how great the people are at the Kew Beach club. Julie Demers, who coaches croquet, and Ashby were both fantastic coaches whose passion was evident to all who took part.
Located steps from the waters of Lake Ontario and the Boardwalk, the club is in the centre of a very popular spot for walkers. And that is how many of those taking part first became familiar with the club.
Marilena said she had never lawn bowled before, but passes the club all the time and was curious about the sport.
“I wanted to see if it was as fun as it looks,” she said.
After learning how to hold the ball and roll it a few times, she understood the sport’s draw.
“I can see how it’s addicting because you always want to improve,” said Marilena.
There are men’s and women’s leagues as well as tournaments and open bowling and croquet running on Saturdays. The club also hosts corporate events and rents its space out. This year marks the club’s 115th year of the Kew Beach Lawn Bowling Club.
It’s never too late to learn something new and the club is welcoming and willing to share their love for all parts of the sport.
As Bouliane said, “If you’ve walked by, come and try it.”
For more information on the Kew Beach Lawn Bowling Club, please visit https://kewbeachlbc.ca/