Wow. What an impressive facility City of San Jose has created for SJ Lawn Bowls Club. Not just a new world class green (which is too fast and set to Aussie and not US standards) but lovely fences, benches, umbrellas and surrounding gardens. Some of us will miss the old quirkiness of San Jose with its famous end lane that sloped off so badly, and think this is a new perfect tabletop.
But it still has its minor subtleties you have to learn. I found forehands and backhands were not always the same draw for example. But there are very few visual clues so you have to use numbers and markers on the back boards (which are a longer artificial turf than the actual carpet mat). The carpet seams do show if you look carefully, but have very little effect on a rolling bowl.
If we ever get Fresno to consider a no water, no maintenance green, then here is a great example, fully documented, of how to build a state of the art facility – for just a million dollars (all paid by city). But we sure will not let the Aussie carpet supplier dictate the green speed. 15.5 on the stimp meter might work down under (where they all have narrow bias bowls), but here it is way too much of a problem and greatly slows down the game as you wait and wait for your bowl to creep down as slow as you can release it. Plus you have to be more aware of players in neighboring rinks as you are probably going 2 feet out of your lane to handle the big loop needed to get back to the jack.
But all in all, San Jose players are over the moon, even as they all rush to buy new bowls and have to learn all over again. In this picture, taken on a very warm winter Saturday, look how far from the jack the bowls on average are here.. and this was a pretty experienced foursome. Kiss those tight heads goodbye for now.. and be stricter with Dales from Australia in the future.