Lawn bowling, or bowls, is an exciting game of skill, strategy and steel will, steeped in a rich history. Documented play dates back to 13th century England, and both Richard II and Edward III banned the sport to some degree to focus on the training of war or limiting play to nobility. Sir Francis Drake famously finished his game, albeit a loss, on the green at Plymouth’s Hoe in Devon, prior to his incredible victory against the Spanish Armada in 1588. The sport, still well-played throughout the Commonwealth of Nations, is now beginning its resurgence in the United States. Traditionally played only by seniors in their whites, the next generation of lawn bowlers are breathing new life and excitement into the sport.
The Tacoma Lawn Bowling Club, started in 1929 by Scottish immigrant Alexander ‘Sandy’ Drummond, went defunct in 2014 due to lack of marketing and inability to attract new members. Freshly reestablished in 2017, and thereby preserving the club’s 88-year history, the new generation of leadership exemplifies the transition of the sport in the United States. The focus has shifted from exclusivity and etiquette, to community, camaraderie, and equality. While play itself follows centuries old rules, club rules are far simpler: bring a smile and no judgement. The new culture of bowls in the Pacific Northwest is exciting, loud, and intense. The competition continues to ramp up, and is now attracting prominent members of the community including mayoral candidates, parks commissioners, young professionals, aspiring entrepreneurs, and established businesspeople with wide-ranging connections. The greens are becoming more than a competitive arena, and now represent a perfect opportunity to network among like-minded individuals looking to leave their mark on the Tacoma community.