The Joy of Bocce Weekly
 In This Issue: Vol. I, Issue 48 - December 16, 2002 
•   Notes from the publisher
•   Bocce ladder
•   Readers’ feedback
•   Photos of the week
•   Bocce product of the week
•   Non bocce product of the week - STOCKING STUFFER IDEA!
 Notes from the publisher
The Joy of Bocce Weekly
The FREE weekly Ezine for bocce aficionados everywhere
Volume #1, Issue #48 December 16, 2002
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2002

Come visit us often at We have bocce info, merchandise, links to other great bocce sites, and the best selling bocce instructional book in the USA.

Order Now @ just $12.95 by clicking on the book image to the right.

I hope you will like this electronic newsletter. To be deleted from my list, you can Unsubscribe at the end of this issue. One of our enthusiastic readers suggested that “…bocce and unsubscribe are mutually exclusive terms.”

If you know others who would enjoy and benefit from this Ezine, encourage them to sign up. You could forward this issue to them so they can decide for themselves if they want to "opt in". I promise that I will never be in the business of selling or trading your email address or other personal information.

A word about ads: Like any entrepreneurial type, I'd love to turn a profit from something I really enjoy. For now, I have decided not to accept paid advertisements. If I pitch a product here, it is something I have examined and tested and deem it beneficial to our readers.

PLEASE – we are always looking for bocce photos and feedback from all over the USA. We want to connect bocce fans everywhere. You can email ( or snail mail (Mario Pagnoni, P.O. Box 608, Methuen, MA 01844).

Order an autographed copy of The Joy of Bocce - an inexpensive holiday gift - ships next day via 1st Class and at no extra cost to ezine subscribers

 Readers’ feedback
{Publisher’s comments in brackets}

Perry Michienzi of Downey, CA writes…

“Your weekly stories are great. Keep up the good work.

Is there such a measuring device as the laser beam? If so, where can we get one and how much?”

{Thanks for the compliment, Perry. I don’t know the answer to your laser question except that, if there isn’t one, there probably will be one soon. My guess is that it will be pricey, at least initially. Does any reader know anything about this technology? Please REPLY so that I can get the word out here.}


Many have asked about The Learning Channel's "bocce date" that we discussed in April.

Here is a recap for those who missed it in issues 13, 14, and 15.

The Dating Story (which airs on The Learning Channel) were to film a "bocce date" outdoors in a New York City park, but wanted an indoor venue in case of inclement weather. Several Joy of Bocce readers sent in suggestions. However, the weather cooperated beautifully.

The episode was filmed at Washington Square Park and several boules and bocce players who are "regulars" at the park were happy to coach the couple (and get in front of the camera).

Caroline, from Hoboken, New Jersey, and Carmine, of Staten Island, had a passing familiarity with bocce (mostly gleaned from the Internet), and were happy to have a little intro from more experienced players.

The show will air December 20th at 1:00 PM (A Dating Story, Banyan Productions - Producer Christine Engel - The Learning Channel). This is Eastern Standard Time, so be sure to check your local listings.


Always active Bob Whitlow sends this…

“I have secured space here in WF to install two indoor bocce courts. These will be constructed at a very nice facility with high traffic volume. The building lease, insurance, and utilities have already been secured.

This will be a community service bocce facility with NO charge to anyone. FWHS, our two-county service organization serving persons with developmental disabilities will utilize this complex for client recreation (mostly daytime) at their discretion.

I will open it on an appointment basis only for bocce introduction seminars and general play. It will not be open on a walk-in, 70 hrs per week basis. This will be a controlled environment dedicated to further the game of bocce and NOT a day care/babysitting facility. However, all children are welcome with parents or teacher supervision on field trips.

Schools, church groups, civic-fraternal organizations, senior citizen groups, clubs, etc. are all welcome to schedule an appointment for Bocce introduction/recreation.

The intent of this endeavor is to further introduce this 7000 year-old game to more residents of Southern Illinois. The more exposure we can give this great game, the easier it will be next year to secure players and teams for tournaments/fundraisers/community college classes next year.

I'll keep you updated on the progress.”

{Please do keep us updated and keep up the great work you do promoting the game you love so passionately}


Pat Hanssen of Lee Tennis commented on my article about Top Dressing bocce courts from Issue # 45 (which I have made a permanent part of my web site).

“I love the web pics. You've really simplified it for people. If you want some other techniques before you write the Top Dressing chapter for your book, let me know and we can talk about it.

I am going to mail you 10 copies of our bocce court specs in case you get requests from your article.”

{I’m planning a second edition of The Joy of Bocce…perhaps for next summer…will have new photos and probably 50% new material.

The bocce court specs Pat alludes to are Har-Tru’s (Lee Tennis) seven-page detailed court construction specifications. They include info on Sub-Base, Base, Leveling, Surfacing, Drainage, Maintenance and more. The 8-page document includes detailed drawings. I have six copies left which can go to the first six readers who send $2.00 postage to Striker, P.O. Box 608, Methuen, MA 01844}

Check out Har-Tru at

 Bocce product of the week
Clubhawk Gold Measures

The Premier Boules Measures have been flying off the shelf lately. But our subscribers are overlooking an equally fine measure in the Clubhawk Gold.

Using a string rather than a steel tape, this is an extremely accurate measuring device. It extends a couple feet farther than the Premier, has the same calipers for close measurements, and even has a belt clip.

Remember, we don't need a finely calibrated instrument that measures exactly how far a ball is from the object ball...we just need to know which is closer to it. This nifty string device does the trick. You pull out enough string to reach the first ball you are measuring. If you have to pull more string from the housing to reach the other ball in contention...then it is farther away!

Click below to see more photos showing the Clubhawk’s features in detail. Retails for $19.95 plus $4.00 shipping anywhere in the USA.

See more photos of the Clubhawk Gold

 Bocce ladder
Using a “ladder” to form teams for league play

This year our indoor bocce group wants to move from our informal pick-up games on Monday mornings to more organized and competitive league play.

After the dog-eat-dog world of competitive college and semi-pro sports (basketball and baseball), recreational bocce appeals to me because of the scaled down competition. Everybody wants to win these games, but it’s more about fun and camaraderie than victories.

I’m afraid that, with league play, there will be a trade-off. We’ll get the stepped up competition and rivalries, but we’ll lose something too. Instead of just showing up whenever you can make it, there will more of a sense of urgency to attend. And we’ll lose the flexibility to invite someone new to come down and join us just for the day.

I’ll keep you posted on how all of this plays out. We have a terrific group of participants who can keep the competition in perspective. Hopefully we’ll work it out so that there is no “down side” to our new format. To start our league, we’ll begin by creating a Bocce Ladder.

A Bocce Ladder is a ranking of players in order of pointing skill. Top level players tell me that pointing is more important than hitting, and that they will take a good pointer over a good hitter every time.

So, initially we need to establish which rung on the “pointing skill ladder” each player will occupy. Every player rolls 8 balls attempting to get as close as possible to the target ball, which we arbitrarily set in the center of the court 16 feet from the end of our 72-foot playing surface. (Our indoor temporary courts are 6” by 6” by 8’ timbers placed end to end over AstroTurf).

After each rolled ball, we measure its distance from the target, record it, and move that ball out of the way (we want subsequent rolls to have a clear path to the target).

If the target ball is hit by any roll, we return it to its original location and measure the distance from there to the resting place of the rolled ball. For these measurements, a steel tape is best and, since accuracy is not critical, we measure from the edge of the pallino to the center of the bocce ball (estimate where the center is).

When the eight balls are rolled and their distance from the object recorded, we eliminate the two worst rolls and then add the combined distances of the remaining six.

Now we can rank order the players from 1st to last in order of pointing skill. The player with the lowest total gets the top rung and the player with the highest ends up on the bottom rung.

This is only the initial positioning. Now, any player may challenge another player who is not more than 4 rungs up the ladder. They play a regular singles bocce game to 12 points.

If the higher seed wins, there is no change to the ladder. If the lower seed wins, s/he takes over that higher rung and the higher seed drops down a rung (pushing some of the others down a rung as well).

For example, if #4 challenges and beats #1, #4 earns the top spot on the ladder. One drops to two which pushes the previous #2 to #3 and the previous #3 to #4, (but #5 through the bottom rung are unaffected).

Another simpler option is to just have the winner and loser exchange rungs on the ladder (no one else's position is affected).

Players who join after the initial ladder is formed take the eight-ball qualifying test and are inserted into the Ladder in a position relative to the other scores.

Once placed in the Ladder, movement up and refinement of the Ladder is accomplished by challenges.

If you know that certain players ended up lower than they should have, your organizers can institute challenges for the good of the league.

You need to set a reasonable period of time for challenges to take place and make a few ground rules such as these from The Long Island Bocce Club...

“A member may not challenge the same person more than once in a calendar month.”

“A member may accept any number of challenges but is not required to accept more than 4 challenges in any calendar month.”

Go to their web site to see their official challenge sheet.

After a suitable period of time for ladder "refinement" it is time to pick teams. Here is an example of setting up 10 evenly matched teams with 40 players (with odd numbers you will have to tweak this to fit your situation).

Pair up the top ranked player with the bottom ranked, second ranked with next to last ranked, etc. on down the ladder.


Next match up the first two-player team with the bottom one to make a four-player team.

1-40.....&.....20-21 {These numbers add up to 82}
2-39.....&.....19-22.....= 82
3-38.....&.....18-23.....= 82
4-37.....&.....17-24.....= 82
5-36.....&.....16-25.....= 82
6-35.....&.....15-26.....= 82
7-34.....&.....14-27.....= 82
8-33.....&.....13-28.....= 82
9-32.....&.....12-29.....= 82
10-31....&....11-30.....= 82

{If you have any experience with ladders, selecting teams, or organizing leagues and you can provide input, please REPLY.}

See Long Island Bocce Club ladder instructions and challenge sheet

 Photos of the week
This week’s photos document how my bocce group is going about setting up a bocce ladder (see details above).

{Please send bocce photos from different areas of the USA. The Joy of Bocce Weekly features too many photos from the East - need pics from the "left coast" and the South & Mid-America too. I'd love to post them here on "This Week's Photos."}

Check the photos

 Non bocce product of the week - STOCKING STUFFER IDEA!
Fortify your defense against phone radiation with the Stealth Radar Shield

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The Stealth Radar Shield was developed using advanced absorbing and stealth technology used by the United States Department of Defense. It actually absorbs radiation emitting from the earpiece of wireless phones, thus reducing radiation by 98%.

* Utilizes U.S. Department of Defense and advanced military radar-absorbing and stealth technology

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* Available in two convenient sizes to fit any phone

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* Convenient peel and stick adhesive backing for easy application

Protect yourself and your family from potentially harmful radiation! Order your Stealth Radar Shields today!

Stealth Radar Shield (small, for most cellular phones - about the size of a dime, adheres to earpiece) $9.95

Stealth Radar Shield (large, for most cordless phones - about the size of a nickel, adheres to earpiece) $11.95

Stealth Radar Shield Introductory Pack (both small and large) $17.95

Get more info on the Stealth Radar Shield

Merchandise still available at

Check out the first-rate equipment we offer. The finest measuring devices for bocce (made in UK by Prohawk for lawn bowling, petanque, and bocce) - the finest bocce balls in the world (made in Italy by Perfetta) and the number one selling instructional book on bocce in America - Check them out.
 Check out the merchandise