Don’t be afraid, though some nervousness is a good thing, just enter those club comps, get in and have a go. Remember: You are learning, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Your opponent will be more wary of you, as you are the unknown quantity.
I’ve played bowls for 30 or more years and have got further than I ever thought I would or could have. So, retire at the top they say!!! I’m a veteran of bowling holidays and tours and I’ve worked with bowls as an Officer at County level in Devon and made a late career of selling Bowling Holidays at TLH Leisure Resort here in Torquay. So I asked myself, was it a time for a change of direction?
Yes – time for a new challenge: On my 60th birthday in July I went to Teignmouth Golf Club to ask about lessons. The Pro, John Axford, enrolled me on a course of 5 lessons and as soon as I picked up the club I just knew I would be an addict. I’ve included a picture of my birthday cake – clear evidence of my new-found addiction.
The first lesson on how to hold the clubs and hitting a ball just a few feet with a 7 iron had me transported to the world of long green fairways in the sun. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not an easy discipline as there is so much to think about before you manage – if you manage – to strike the ball, but in the time honoured tradition of competitiveness and aspiring to be the best I can, I was allowed to take the clubs home to practice the swing. Bliss, as any addict will tell you.
My first investment was a dozen ‘air balls’. I practiced chipping these balls down the 4 steps of our open plan lounge into the dining room. I managed to break the glass in one of our pictures and turned a light switch on a couple of times, but the swing got better and the balls lifted into the air the way they are supposed to.
The only other things that suffered were the cats – they scattered, and five months later will still run away when they see me bringing out my clubs. I don’t think they like the crash helmets I bought for them either.
After the first 5 lessons I enrolled for 5 more, bought my bag, irons, 2 rescue clubs, a driver and a putter, and every day I went to the practice ground for a swack about.
I joined the Club, ohhhhh yes, and having finished my lessons I have embarked onto the real course. It is a challenge and yes it is frustrating, but I now have a new group of friends and new social life and a new addiction.
Is it expensive? No…… not really – once you have made the intial investment for equipment and have joined the club you don’t pay any more fees. There might be a bit of creative accounting on my part to justify the expense, but you only live once!
Any seasoned golfers who are reading this will recognise exactly what I am talking about. I can highly recommend playing down here in the glorious South West where there is a variety of fantastic courses, and if you are looking for a golf break, take a look at the All Inclusive holidays available at our Toorak Hotel in Torquay.
That’s all folks
Dru Close (watch out Tiger Woods, I’m on your tail)
One rainy evening in October, just as we had started our indoor season and were re-acquainting ourselves with long lost teammates and fast carpets, three likely lads strayed in from the rain. They were all teenagers and they stood and watched us for a few minutes before one youngster asked if anyone could have a go. So, I told them to kick off their shoes, I grabbed some spare bowls and one of our under 25’s who was lounging at the bar, and got them all started on a spare rink.
I had only been bowling for a couple of weeks when some bright spark suggested that I take part in a friendly game at the club one day. So onto the green I trooped with my new bowls and new white bowling skirt and top. I was quite proud to have been asked to play and very much in awe of the etiquette and other players. It was 1982.
With a view to promote this pastime, which to me should be called a SPORT, a phoenix is arising from the ashes of complacency and the phoenix’s name is the Bowls Development Alliance.
Recently I looked at the British Crown Green Bowling Association Handbook and I was concerned to read that there is a whole page set aside called:
‘Guidelines for Clubs Whose Greens Face Closure’
Reading the notes and the plans that have been laid down by the BCGBA, although I am impressed with the plans to try to reverse the decisions being made to close their greens, I wonder how much more the bowling fraternity in England can take.
And, if this is happening in England then it is happening in Wales, Ireland and Scotland as well.
WHY is this happening? Well to start with it’s all about finance: In this economic climate, Local Authorities are relinquishing the costly running of their bowls greens back to the clubs. It probably costs about £8000 per year to keep a green in good condition. Clubs cannot afford to keep their greens going as the cost of treating and dressing them is a costly business. Then there is the watering of the green. No one needs to be told about the rising water rates throughout the country.
But mainly, any authority given the opportunity to make millions on housing, a bowls green offers a prime site. Its as simple as that.
John Woodcock Labour and Cooperative MP for Barrow recently proposed a bill before Parliament, that the Government make it quite clear to Local Councils that certain criteria need be met when seeking planning permission to build on bowling greens.
How will this proposed bill be met? Your guess is a good as mine.
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