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SFLB 1901.jpeg

Our History

San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club is the oldest municipal lawn bowls club in the country, founded at the prompting of the Scottish fraternal order, the St. Andrew's Society. With the blessing of two soon-to-be-members, legendary (Scottish) park superintendent John McLaren and "Sunny Jim" Rolf (long-time mayor and CA governor), the first game was bowled in October 1901, and bowls have been rolled ever since, except for a year's interruption after the 1906 earthquake. 

The Game

Lawn bowling is a classic outdoor game (with indoor rinks in many countries) that is easy to learn and fun to play. Two teams of one to four players compete to roll heavy, weighted balls, called bowls, closest to a smaller white ball (the jack) at the end of a grass-covered 14.5' X 120' rink. Players score points by getting their bowls closer to the jack than their opponents' bowls. It's a great game to play with family and friends and can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Various forms of lawn bowling date back to Roman times, and possibly even further back than that. In England, it has a heritage dating back to 1299, when the first lawn bowling club was established, but it is to the Scots that we owe our bowling green. This seemingly innocent sport was not once, but twice outlawed by British law, on the concern that enthusiastic lawn bowling citizens were neglecting their other chores. A special exception was made on Christmas Day, when common people were allowed to indulge in the game.

~ Atlas Obsura

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