Yard Shtick

Written by Jamie Killin Category: Lifestyle Issue: December 2013
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According to the Arizona Golf Association, there are more than 85 golf courses (public and private) throughout the Valley. And while it’s fun to avail yourself of our fabled fairways – especially in the winter months – the city has many more outdoor sports to enjoy, some from the comfort of your own lawn.
Take lawn bowling, for example. All you need are some heavy balls, and a smaller ball called “the jack.” The object is to toss the jack, and then each player tries to lob their ball as close as possible to it. Try out the sport with one of the Phoenix-area South Central Division lawn bowling clubs, who boast the title “Home of the finest greens in North America.” The South Central Division has been in existence for more than twenty years and is part of the larger United States Lawn Bowls Association, which offers tournaments to add a competitive edge and motivate players. With fifteen clubs located in Phoenix, Mesa, Sun City, Surprise, El Mirage and Casa Grande, it’s easy to find a club near you and get the ball rolling (scdlawnbowls.org).

More Lawn-Centric Sports

Bocce Ball at The Vig 

Stop by one of The Vig restaurants (Arcadia, Uptown or Downtown) to play the easy-to-learn, Italian game of bocce ball, which is similar to lawn bowling, except bocce is usually played on sand or asphalt instead of grass. To avoid the heat-retaining misery of such surfaces in Phoenix, The Vig offers bocce ball on grass and composite surfaces, adding a bit of unexpected fun to your after-dinner plans.thevig.us

Cornhole at Culinary Dropout at The Yard 
Also known as the less dubious-sounding “bean bag toss,” the game of cornhole consists of throwing little bags filled with corn or beans at a raised platform with a hole in the far end. Points are scored for both hitting the platform and making it in the hole. Have your choice of four different cornhole courts at Culinary Dropout at The Yard in Phoenix, which offers an exceptional patio that allows guests to enjoy not only cornholing, but also free table tennis. 5632 N. Seventh St., Phoenix, 602-680-4040, foxrc.com/restaurants/culinary-dropout/

Arizona Croquet Club
Of all the fun things one can do while wielding a mallet, croquet – knocking balls through hoops embedded in grass – is among the most refined (excepting the Red Queen’s flamingo-and-hedgehog version in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland). The Arizona Croquet Club has been bringing the sport to Arizonans since 1975, and hosts competitive tournaments as well as social events in Paradise Valley. Membership costs $45 per quarter. azcroquet.org

Arizona State Horseshoe Pitchers Association 
The Arizona State Horseshoe Pitchers Association encourages players to get involved for the fun and health benefits of the sport, which they say include boosted fat metabolism, better limb dexterity and stronger bones. ASHPA has clubs all over Arizona, including El Mirage, Mesa and Phoenix. Membership costs $30 for adults; $5 for junior players. Find a list of events and membership information atpitchwithus.com/arizona