“A couple of years ago,” recalls Scottie Marzonie, owner of Mammoth Taxi “I was on the phone with Dad, casual conversation, and I asked him what he was doing that weekend, and he says he’s going to Newport to play in the U.S. Open of Lawn Bowls.”
On a whim, Scottie decides he’s going to go watch his father play. I mean, how often do you ever get to see your father play in a U.S. Open of Anything?
Result: Right after, Scottie went online and ordered himself a set of lawn bowls (cost ~$400). And now he’s hooked.
So what is lawn bowling? Well, it’s kind of like bocci, or petanque, but of course, different.
*From the sound of it, bowls is dominated by folks from English-speaking countries who have an affinity for the postgame pint.
Marzonie said the world’s top players are generally in their 20s and 30s and this year, anyway, hailed from Scotland.
So for the past two years, it’s been a father-son trip for U.S. Open week, usually held in September. The event takes place all over Orange County with Newport as the hub.
The game is played on 15’ x 120’ regulation greens that are totally flat.
Since there’s nothing like that here in Mammoth, Marzonie has made do with the next best thing – the greens at Sierra Star, primarily the practice green.
Marzonie says Palo Alto has become his home club, and he plays when he can — a total of 4-5 times a year.
Despite lack of opportunity and lack of a practice green, Marzonie won the Pacific InterMountain Division Open, Novice Division, last year, held at GG Park, and also won the ‘C’ flight at a PIMD tourney in Palo Alto this summer.
Bill Marzonie became acquainted with the game during the time he ran the UC Santa Cruz Inn/hotel because there was a Lawn Bowls Club in the park directly behind the Inn.
Scottie doesn’t know anyone else who plays locally, but if you do, call him at Mammoth Taxi.