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Get outdoors for lawn bowling

Bowlers coming to King City for NW Division competition seeking smooth greens and blue skies
by: Bob Schoenberg, Marie Perry, lets loose down the green while her teammate, Sue Sutter, Tigard cheers her on.

Lawn bowling is a precision sport where the bowler's goal is to roll a slightly off kilter 'bowl,' that is, it's not a perfectly round ball, down a long grassy lane at a target ball, called a jack.

The object is to see who can set their bowl the closest to the jack, being rewarded with points.

Depending on the game played, it can be two players or in teams of four or six players.

The players roll three or four bowls in each rotation, getting as close to the jack as possible. The object again is to strike each other's bowls out of play, or even hit the jack out of bounds.

King City has a regulation rink, 120 feet square of well maintained grass just in front of the King City Civic Association Town Hall and boasts its own official lawn bowling club, which meet and bowl three days a week.

'It's a fun game and it can take some skill, but it is fun even if you don't have enough skill,' said Rose Stunkard, the club's treasurer who has been lawn bowling for 10 years.

The game of lawn bowling has been around in the United States since about 1900. The King City Club is a member of the United States Lawn Bowls Association that regulates the rules of the game and organizes sanctioned competitions.

The Northwest Division of the Association will be holding the Northwest Mixed Triples competition in King City Club, July 15-16, bringing bowlers from around the region.

The bowls they roll are not perfectly spherical, and will not roll straight. One side is slightly flattened, and it is toward that side with its bias that will draw the path of the bowl in a sweeping arc. The mastery of this phenomenon is at the heart of the challenge of lawn bowls.

The skill involved is hand and eye coordination rolling this strangely flattened bowl towards the jack. The bowler doesn't roll the bowl directly at the jack, but rolls it aimed several feet to one side. As the bowl slows down, it curves to the inside of the bowl depending on which side of the jack the player is aiming for.

The skilled bowler must judge the amount of curve and the distance, as well as strategy placing the bowl to block an opponent or even to strike an opponent's bowl to advantage.

After all the players have bowled at the jack, they have completed an 'end' and then they measure the distance of the closest bowls to find how many points are awarded.

A game can last a couple of hours. The King City Greens can accommodate up to eight games at a time.

Any one can come play and the club has loaner bowls for newcomers to the game as well as instructions from members on the finer points of the game. The club meets three times a week at 10 a.m. on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The Lawn Bowling Club Board meets once a month and the there are pot luck dinners and other activities for members. For more information call Club president, Atanas Todorov, 503-624-1739.