Lawn bowling has long Lake Park tradition

Posted at 7:12 PM, Sep 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-09 20:28:16-04

MILWAUKEE -- In Lake Park you've probably seen many people playing Pokemon Go, but there’s one activity that's been there for years that you may have missed: lawn bowling.

“I thought well, this seems like something I might want to do on a Wednesday night because that's the night that my girlfriend golfs so yeah, this is my thing,” described three-year lawn bowler Tom Meier. “This is the man thing. Yeah, lawn bowling,” he added with a laugh. “It's very similar to bacci except it's probably a little bit of bacci on steroids.”

So sure it may not be the roughest and toughest of sports, but why participants play goes far beyond any bowl or jack.

“Why not join in with tradition?” Meier questioned. “That's kind of what I was thinking when I joined.”

Lawn bowling has been at Lake Park in Milwaukee since 1920. That’s right, almost 100 years.

“It looked the same 100 years ago,” said 40-year lawn bowler Carl Landgren.

But one thing is different.

“When the club first started, it was all men,” explained Milwaukee Lake Park Bowling Association Secretary Anna Witt. “Only men were allowed to play at Lake Park and there were doctors and lawyers.”

“That's been a change,” Landgren said. “Now everything is almost co-ed, makes things a lot more interesting.”

So here's how it works: You have bowls and a jack. Whichever team gets their bowls closer to the jack wins. Simple, right? But there's a catch.

“The bowls are weighted and they actually curve instead of going straight,” Meier explained. “You have to take into account the actual curve of the ball because they have different weights, so they might curve a lot or they might curve a little bit and that's sort of the nuance of it that I really enjoy.”

“It's so relaxing to come here to the park in the evenings and play a game, have some friendly competition, meet people who've become close friends,” Witt said.

People who carry on the tradition.