BARRETT TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – A unique week-long sporting event made its way to the Poconos this year.
It’s not quite a bowling alley, and there aren’t any pins to knock down.
“It’s challenging, but it’s fun,” says Colin Smith, Northeast Division Vice President.
This is lawn bowling.
“It’s not as easy as it looks! It’s really about thinking and strategy. It’s a mental game,” say Veronica Sum, Northeast Division President.
Players roll balls down the bowling green. Their goal is to get as close as possible to the white ball, called a jack. The game is based on points, and sometimes it will throw you a curve ball.
The balls weigh between three and four pounds, and you’ll notice they’re not round. It’s supposed to fit in the palm of your hand.
“They come in different sizes,” Smith explains.
This is the annual Northeast Division Open. This year, the week-long tournament was split between Buck Hill Falls and Skytop Lodge.
“We have people here from South Florida, Milwaukee, we have Canadians here as well,” Sum adds.
Skytop’s lawn bowling green was built with the lodge in 1929. Because the sport was so popular, Buck Hill Falls also built one two years later.
“The best bowlers in the world are in their 20’s. And yet, in this country it’s known as an old folks game. But it’s not,” Smith points out.
You can play in teams or as singles. The game’s based on points.
“There’s a lot of different ways you can play the game,” Smith adds.
An age old game still rolling along.
Some celebrities spent time lawn bowling in the Poconos. We’re told Walt Disney visited Buck Hill Falls, and William “Bill” Hay of ‘Amos ‘N Andy’ was a game announcer there the 1960’s.
The annual tournmanent was hosted in the Poconos five years ago. Players hope to return again next year.