Slow, steady and relaxing – bowls is the ultimate leisure pursuit under the sun. Played with precision, patience, and skill, it’s built a reputation for being the exclusive sport of a generation.
Under the shade of palm trees, the long figures of the Holmby Park Bowls Club dressed all in white cast long shadows against sun-stained grass. Wide brim hats, wraparound sunglasses and vintage knits are the order of the day, teamed with their favourite new D+D sneakers, kept tonal in shades of grey and white. This is the playground of anyone in LA’s most exclusive post code who has time to burn, as much a social event as it is a competition that can sometimes lose its friendly edge.
Lining up on the other side of the lawn is the D+D Bowls Club, newly formed, flown over fresh from London and full of ill-advised confidence of winning the game.
The training is brief – 3 bowls each, closest to the target (jack) gets the points for their team and takes away any chance of the other team scoring. Bowls can either swing in or out – it’s as much about the pace you throw it as it is the direction you let it go.
Good bowls came from the D+D team few and far between, with flashes of genius coming every so often, but we won’t lie – most of us were terrible. From our bowls going astray and interrupting other games, to falling way short of the jack and massively overshooting it, we underestimated just how much skill you need.
Video: Duke + Dexter via Vimeo.
After a few hours, the points were tallied on the chalk boards. The shade of red on our faces courtesy of the Californian sun hid our embarrassment as the D+D Bowls Club realised we had lost in grand style.
Despite the loss, we’d made firm friends with the team at Holmby Park Bowls Club and left in no doubt – Bowls is a sport fit for a king, and they’re the ones with the crown. For now.