Photo: Dave Patrick, front left, with some of the Summerset at the Course bowls team.
At Summerset at the Course in Trentham, Upper Hutt, a group of keen bowlers have been enjoying teaching new players of all ages.
Summerset resident Dave Patrick has been an avid bowler for 20 years, and says that when it comes to coaching novices, he can often spot right away if someone has a knack for the sport.
“A lot of it is hand eye coordination, and you find that golfers often play good bowls, as they have an eye for the angles. It’s great to watch people learn, and see how excited they are when they make their first good bowl or get their first touch of the jack.”
As well as the regular coaching sessions with fellow residents, Dave and few other experienced bowlers also recently taught a group of students from nearby St Patrick’s College in Silverstream, Upper Hutt.
“The St Pats boys had been doing these sessions at the village to help us with computers and tech, and they were great kids and really helpful. So we said ‘ok, how about we teach you to bowl?’ A group of about 18 boys turned up to play, which was more than we expected and a bit of a handful, but we soon sorted it out. Some of them picked it up very fast, and they all had their mates there cheering them on, it was good fun.”
While some might have more of a natural flair for the sport, Dave believes that with the right teaching, anyone can learn.
“We take the beginners through some basics before they start to play, just so they aren’t standing there not knowing what’s going on,” he says. “We start with things like the correct way to hold a bowl and the right position to release it in.”
At Trentham village, residents play three times a week, and the number of newbie bowlers usually outweighs the number of experienced players on the green. The better bowlers used to play with a handicap to help the novices along, but with regular coaching sessions, the beginners have caught on fast and the handicap is no longer needed.
Dave, who plays bowls for the Upper Hutt club, also helps to organize the village competition games between other local clubs and retirement villages. And with the new players honing their skills and some fresh whites to wear on the green for competition matches, the village bowls scene is going strong.
“Our approach at the village is, we take it seriously, but if it’s not fun then don’t bother! Everyone has to be having a good time.”
If your club would like to check out the greens, or plan a friendly competition or game against Summerset residents, please get in touch with your local Summerset Retirement village.
Summerset Retirement Villages are Bowls New Zealand Major Sponsor.