Margarete Kisser, 71, demonstrated good form at the Langley Lawn Bowling Club. Dan Ferguson Langley Advance Times

VIDEO: Langley Lawn Bowling Club prepares for new season

Social aspect is a big part of the game, members say

Almost every time Barbara Taylor would walk by the Langley Lawn Bowling Club, her husband Bill would suggest they give the sport a try, and she would decline.

“He would say, we know people there, let’s bowl,” Taylor recalled.

“I would say no, I’m not ready.”

Finally, in 1995, she joined the club.

From a reluctant novice, Taylor, 72, has become a lawn bowling enthusiast, going on to compete at elite-level provincial championships.

“It’s not just bowling, it’s also the social aspect that comes with it,” Taylor said.

“You’ll get to know a lot of people and you’ll have a good time.

On a recent sunny afternoon, Taylor and other members of the club were preparing for the formal resumption of outdoor lawn bowling later this month with a few friendly games.

Elaine and Grant Dickinson said like the Taylors, they were also passers-by who decided to try the sport after seeing competitors at play at the Langley club.

“It’s a wonderful game,” Grant said.

“You get to enjoy the nice weather.”

Margarete and Roger Kisser took up the sport after a friend from their curling league suggested it as a warm-weather possibility.

“It’s a lot more fun than we thought,” Roger said.

Stephen and Melody Chandra cited the fun of being outdoors and the fact the game can accommodate his bad knee.

“It’s not that hard on you [physically],” Stephen said.

“It’s nice and easy.”

READ MORE: VIDEO: How a once-subversive activity became a popular recreation for seniors

Founded in 1979, the Langley Lawn Bowling Club and has been in operation since 1982, when the Douglas Park lawn bowling green was built by the City of Langley, with funding from the Langley Rotary Club and the provincial government of the day.

Members range in age “from people in their 50s to late 80s,” said membership coordinator Nell VanVliet.

Located at 20471, 54th Avenue at the south end of the park, the club will hold its official opening with an open house on Saturday, April 27 at 1 p.m.

It is open to the public and refreshments will be provided.

Drop-in sessions at the Langley club are held three times a week, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 6:30 p.m.

Visitors and new bowlers are welcome.

They are asked to wear flat-soled shoes.

Lawn bowling is played on a large, level surface of grass or artificial turf called the “green,” surrounded by a shallow ditch divided into separate rinks.

Between one and four people can play at a time, with the “leads” first to bowl and the “skips” going last.

There are records of organized lawn bowls being played as far back as the 12th century in Britain.

According to historical accounts, the unique shape of the balls used in modern lawn bowling was introduced in the 1500s, supposedly because the British Duke of Suffolk broke a ball during play.

Suffolk, it is said, found a replacement by sawing off an ornamental ball from a stair banister, leaving one part flat and sending the ball curving at the end of its run, instead of continuing on a straight line.

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Looking forward to a new season: bowlers Stephen and Melody Chandra, Elaine and Grant Dickinson, and Margarete and Roger Kisser at the Langley Lawn Bowling Club. Dan Ferguson Langley Advance Times

Barbara Taylor used to think about taking up lawn bowling whenever she walked by the Langley club. Now she competes at an advanced level. Dan Ferguson Langley Advance Times

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