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iN PHOTOS: Lawn bowlers carry on 100 year old tradition in Vernon's Polson Park

A lawn bowl is flung with force at the green in Polson Park, Wednesday, May 17, 2017. The Vernon Lawn Bowling Club is about 60 members strong, and this year, it celebrates its centennial.
May 17, 2017 - 8:00 PM

VERNON - It’s a Wednesday afternoon in Vernon’s Polson Park, and about 30 people are taking part in a game that, to those unfamiliar with the sport, might think it looks something like bowling, bocce and curling all rolled into one.

It’s called lawn bowling, and it’s been taking place in Polson Park for a long, long time.

The Vernon Lawn Bowling Club is about 60 members strong, and this year, it celebrates its centennial.

David Nagy, with the club, says it is regarded as the oldest club in the Interior. The club formed in 1917, and two years later, unveiled the Interior’s first lawn bowling green in Polson Park, where it is still used today.

“You couldn’t ask for a better spot,” Nagy says. “It’s right in the heart of the City of Vernon, and being in this park as well, it’s probably the most picturesque location.”

There have been a few changes over the club’s hundred years. The original clubhouse, which was also Vernon’s first post office, was moved in the 1990s following the construction of the current building. In the early days, men and women were in separate leagues.

Nowadays, the club draws a predominantly over-50 crowd, but members encourage all ages to participate.

“I like the social aspect of it,” member Gary Monk says. “And also the skill and physical activity.”

Teams are picked by draw — you never know who you’re playing with — and games can last about an hour. Lawn bowls are designed to have a ‘weight bias’ which makes them curve when thrown. The goal is to get your bowl as close to the jack (a smaller, white ball) as possible.

In the 1930s, the club hosted more than 40 players from South Africa, and the visitors declared Vernon’s lawn bowling green as one of the finest in Canada, Nagy says.

The Vernon club is one of several in the Interior that holds regular summer tournaments. This year, 14 tournaments are planned, and the club will also host competitions for the 2017 B.C. 55+ Senior Games.

Nagy says it’s a momentous year because because the club is marking 100 years at the same time the City of Vernon turns 125 and Canada celebrates 150 years.

“It’s a celebration of the club’s past with a look ahead to the future,” Nagy says.

The club's annual Open House is May 20, and anyone interested in trying out the sport is invited. Find out more about the club here.

David Nagy holds a lawn bowling trophy from 1929.
David Nagy holds a lawn bowling trophy from 1929.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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