The Windsor Lawn Bowling Club finished hosting two major national championship events Sunday.
“Very dear to us to be able to showcase our club,” said Maureen Hagman, the club’s vice president.
The competitors flew in from all over the country to play in the Para and Mixed Doubles tournaments. Many of the athletes agree, the grass is greener on the other side.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize the hidden gem here in Windsor,” said Baylee Van Steijn who won bronze in the Mixed Doubles event with her partner Jake Masterson.
Michel Larue and his partner Songsin Tsao won the Canadian Mixed Pairs Championships Sunday morning and echo Steijn’s assertion. Both have bowled around the world and rate Windsor among the best.
“After 33 years of bowls in Canada and internationally for Canada for 15 years, in Canada this is the best green I ever played,” said Larue, who also added he likes the city and people.
“This is one of the best clubs that I’ve bowled at this year,” said Steijn who was impressed with the fast greens in Windsor when she last visited in May for a training camp. “They were running amazing that early in the season.”
Para bowler Jeff Conner of Alberta enjoyed Windsor’s club earlier this week.
“I’ve bowled at a lot of greens over the years but Windsor is definitely one of the better ones,” he said.
The club has a group of six men that tend the grounds six days a week. Their efforts helped Windsor land the high performance tournaments.
“It brought a lot of attention to our club,” said Hagman who is hoping the attention will attract more bowlers to the growing club. “We have new people come out that walk around the park, Jackson Park. They see the activity. They wanna come in and try it.”
Van Steijn and Masterson are in their early 20s and won bronze at the Mixed Pairs event. They and many others are helping to break the perception of lawn bowling for the older generation.
“Oshawa has a really big junior program and there’s a lot of up and coming under 18 programs in the works,” said Masterson.
Larue encourages people to try the game which some have called curling on grass.
“You can play social. You can socialize. You can play the game and play competitive. There’s an interest for everyone,” said Larue.
There’s a strong interest in the Windsor Club. The Ontario Lawn Bowling Association has reached to club admin and said they would like Windsor to host the provincial 4’s championship next summer.