With a commitment to delivering a healthy dose of fun and exercise, the San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club focuses on a sport that is rather easy to get the hang of. Participants of all ages and physical fitness levels can find a place with this activity, which centers on wooden balls (or bowls) similar to Italian boccie or French boules.
In 1901, a Scottish fraternal organization by the name of the St. Andrew’s Society formed a lawn bowling club in San Francisco. The Superintendent of Golden Gate Park at the time, John McLauren, carved out a niche for the lawn bowlers in the west corner of the recreation grounds situated close to Sharon Meadow. The first members played with wooden bowls transported from Scotland on October 18th. In the beginning, the club was known as the San Francisco Scottish Bowling Club.
All was well until a 1906 earthquake and fire attacked the city. The green was destroyed and the Army set up shop in the nearby Sharon Meadow. It wasn’t until April of 1907 that the green was fully rejuvenated. The Women’s Golden Gate Lawn Bowling Club was established in 1912. Between 1914 and 1915, the current members of each club contributed $500 for the construction of a wooden Edwardian-style clubhouse. The first State Tournament was help on the greens in 1929.
In 1931, the present name of the club was adopted. Nearly 50 years later, the Women’s Golden Gate Lawn Bowling Club merged with the SFLBC. Today, the San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club is recognized as the oldest public club in the country and known as the first municipal lawn bowling green established in the United States.
The current membership of the SFLBC exceeds 130 people, where members are also associated with the Pacific Inter-Mountain Division (PIMD) of the US Lawn Bowls Association. Every Wednesday, free lessons are offered at noon and by appointment with a selected Club Instructor. When the weather becomes more inviting – evening lessons are provided to the interested during the late spring and summer.
San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club Events
Throughout the year, members can participate in weekly competitions held during the spring and summer season, which is also a great way to prepare for other Bay Area tournament contests. The SFLBC has also fostered the talent of members who have gone on to participate well in worldwide events. One member even brought home a gold world championship medal.