SF Rec and Park celebrates Historic Lawn Bowling Green Re-opening

SF Lawn Bowling Club co-hosts celebration in Golden Gate Park

SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department in partnership with the San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club (SFLBC) hosted a celebration for the re-opening of the historic Lawn Bowling Green located in Golden Gate Park.  The Lawn Bowling Green recently went through a renovation funded by the Community Opportunity Fund, a 2008 Parks Bond Grant Program.  The re-opening celebration included a ribbon cutting ceremony, a ceremonial rolling of the first bowl by SFLBC’s Bill Campbell (a BowlsUSA Hall-of-Famer), at which SF Rec and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg delivered the “jack”, and a celebratory lunch followed by the games of the club’s November “monthly social”.


“We’re privileged to have been selected as recipients of the COF grant and are proud of our members countless hours of volunteer service which helped qualify us.  It’s not hard to imagine at least a hint of a smile from the gruff Scotsman who co-founded our club in 1901 and originally laid out this green in finally viewing the finished product!” said Rod Arriaga, President of the San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club.  We look forward to continued productive partnership with McLaren’s successors at SF Rec and Park.”


In 1901, the San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club’s Green was laid out by John McLaren, then Superintendent of the San Francisco park system, and a founding member of the Club.  It is the oldest municipal lawn bowling club in the United States and its clubhouse and greens are designated as a San Francisco historical landmark (#181).  Traditionally, members of the Lawn Bowling Club wear white for tournaments and special events only.


“Golden Gate Park’s beloved Lawn Bowling Greens are historic and were in great need of renovation to protect the integrity of the green space and the sport,” said Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec and Park General Manager.  “We are thrilled to be working closely with the San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club to keep this meaningful San Francisco tradition alive in Golden Gate Park.”



The Lawn Bowling Green renovation includes an accessible concrete pathway and gutter surrounding the existing green and a new metal fences and gates on north and south perimeter.  The project is funded through Community Opportunity Fund (COF), a neighborhood park capital improvement program from the 2008 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond.  The program allows residents, neighborhood groups, and park advocates like San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club to initiate capital improvements by matching public funding with philanthropic donation and volunteer contribution.

The game of lawn bowls involves rolling a bowl on grass so that it comes to rest as close as possible to a target ball, called a “jack.”  The game is related to bocce and petanque.  The side that has the bowl nearest to the jack scores a point for that bowl and an additional point for each bowl closer to the jack than the nearest bowl of the other side.  For more information about lawn bowling, please visit the San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club website at http://www.sflbc.org/.


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