When you want to spend your weekend outdoors but don't have the energy for a hike or bike ride, lawn bowling offers a nice, relaxing alternative. And at the Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club, coaches give beginners free lessons every Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m., so there's no excuse not to give it a try. All you need to bring is a pair of flat-soled shoes and a few friends, if possible; you can generally play singles games or with teams of two to four players. For those who aren't familiar, lawn bowling is a very old game — and a very simple one — in which players try to roll their balls as close as possible to a smaller ball, called the jack. It's like a mix of shuffleboard, croquet, and bocce — all played outdoors on a well-kept lawn in the middle of Berkeley. And at this club, newbies have the added bonus of learning from members of a group that has been around since the 1920s, making it a truly vintage East Bay pastime.
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