March 24, 2009
Lawn bowling open house April 11
The Williamsburg Lawn Bowling Club will host an open house Saturday, April 11 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the lawn bowling green behind the Williamsburg Inn, 136 East Francis St. in Williamsburg. Free lessons will be offered to anyone interested in learning more about the game that dates to 13th-century England.
Shakespeare mentioned lawn bowling in “Richard II.” Henry VIII played the game – presumably when he wasn’t beheading wives – as did Charles I, Sir Francis Drake and Walt Disney. In Virginia, William Byrd created a green at Westover Plantation on the James River. Many taverns and estates had their own greens. After the American Revolution, lawn bowling fell out of favor in the United States, possibly because of anti-British sentiment, but the game lived on and thrives today.
Today, lawn bowling attracts tennis players and golfers whose knees and elbows may not handle the rigors of a vigorous sport – the average age of players is 50. Far from being a sedate activity, however, lawn bowling provides exercise and requires stamina.
Susan Berg is a member of the local lawn bowling club and wrote an article on the game for Colonial Williamsburg’s summer journal in 1999. “It’s a social game. There is a conviviality to it you don’t find in tennis or golf,” says Berg. “It’s a game of strategy, concentration and skill, and bowlers can be competitive in this sport at an age when they might have lost their edge in other competitive games.” Berg adds that women compete on the same level as men, and it’s not unusual for a woman to be the club champion.
In 1966, Colonial Williamsburg built a professional lawn bowling green behind the Williamsburg Inn for guests and visiting teams. In addition to guests, members of the Williamsburg Inn Lawn Bowling Club play regularly and hold tournaments. It is the only professional lawn bowling green in Virginia. The closest greens are located at Pinehurst, N.C., and Wilmington, Del., – five hours away from Williamsburg.
For more information on the Williamsburg Inn Lawn Bowling Club, tournament schedule and membership, contact club president Ann Wuest at 757-375-5729.
Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as the nation’s largest living history museum. The Colonial Williamsburg Company, a subsidiary of the Foundation, operates a Resort Collection with more than 1,000 guest rooms among five hotels including the landmark Williamsburg Inn, four historic dining taverns and six restaurants, and 66,000 square feet of conference space centered at the Williamsburg Lodge, as well as a new 20,000-square-foot spa, and the Golden Horseshoe golf courses. Each purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the Foundation’s preservation, research, and educational programs.
Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at www.colonialwilliamsburgresort.com or www.colonialwilliamsburgresort.com/golf.