The Joy of Bocce Weekly
 In This Issue: Vol I Issue 27 July 15, 2002 
•   Notes from the publisher
•   Photos of the week – bocce on the green
•   Readers' feedback
•   Non bocce product of the week – Held over for 2nd week - Plant Power
•   Henselite Bowls Measure
•   Tournament update
 Notes from the publisher
The Joy of Bocce Weekly
The FREE weekly Ezine for bocce aficionados everywhere
Volume #1, Issue #27 July 15, 2002
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2002

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 Readers' feedback
Publisher's comments in {brackets}

George Farruggio’s great photos of his Punto Gordo courts with the canopy coverings drew a lot of interest. David Beacco was kind enough to send this valuable information and links to sites that feature canopies:

“The canopies that cover the ends of those bocce courts are similar to ones that are for sale at our local Costco wholesale stores. They are 12 ft wide by 20 ft long for $179.00. Here are some links. I hope will help you find what you are looking for.”

{I like the idea of the shade and protection from the elements that the canopies might provide (especially here in New England), but am wondering if it will curtail or alter our volo attempts…maybe forcing us to toss lower trajectory volos for fear of hitting the canopy? It seems to me that a volo might be compared to a basketball free throw. You want a high enough arc for the ball to have a high percentage chance of passing through the hoop, but conversely, the higher the arc the greater the distance the ball must travel – you don’t want to make it a longer shot than is necessary. Can any top players out there help me out with this concept? Should we avoid canopies altogether or are they a good idea if they don’t extend too far into the playing area? Please REPLY}


Bob Whitlow of West Frankfort, Illinois tells us that “Bocce is alive in Southern Illinois. We have covered 4 regulation courts in Herrin for the annual Herrinfesta Italiano celebration in May each year. Besides daily play, local organizations also use the courts 15-20 times a year for fundraisers.”{This Herrinfesta looks like a pretty big deal. Here is a brief history from their web site at}

A brief history of the Festa:
Herrinfesta Italiana is the celebration of the heritage of Herrin, a Southern Illinois community. Our festival provides a sense of community spirit, as well as a homecoming for former residents and a welcome to travelers from all over the Midwest. Proceeds from the event benefit the Herrin Chamber of Commerce and the Herrin Civic Center, as well as a number of community organizations that participate in individual events.


Regarding bocce court surfaces, Thomas McNutt of Bellingham, WA offers this:

“I know that Field Turf has been replacing grass and "AstroTurf" type fields all over Washington and Oregon. I understand that it is also being used for surfacing high end tennis courts. The only red flag I have seen, having looked at, stood on (the surface), and talked with various reps, is that there is a trick to installing so be sure that it is done right and my understanding is that life expectancy is good... One great advantage I have seen is that you can choose long or short turf and fill between the "blades" with more or less fill in order to produce a harder or softer surface. This allows you to adjust speed of play to whatever fits your style. I think this is a great plus...and maintenance is comparatively nonexistent!”


Joe Saccone sends this…

“Caro Bocce Player :- I was just recently introduced to your "Joy of Bocce" by my son-in-law who resides in Maryland (sometimes in Virginia). Knowing that playing Bocce was a long time sport in my family, (and still is !) he felt that I would be interested in this book. HOW RIGHT HE WAS! I play twice a week at what is considered to be "State of the Art" Bocce Courts in San Rafael, California. We have eight courts, professionally constructed and maintained. We have league play every day and every night of the week using all eight courts. The afternoons and weekends are open to the public. If you are a real Bocce aficionado, you should come and pay us a visit.... you will be amazed at what you see !” {Now that I am recovered from my extensive knee surgeries, a trip to this venue is high on my list.}


The always positive Stan Young of Lincoln, CA sent this…

“Hey Mario, I got the 'Joy of Bocce' rule book last week and it is great and informative, just what this gang out here needed. It seems that a lot of folks play by different rules but this book clears up a lot of things. We appreciate it out here in Lincoln, California. By the way, we have 12 courses but they have artificial turf grass surface, a lot different then crushed shells that I learned on at the Fratallanza Club in Oakland. A lot different roll but fun. Great job on the book, Thanks Mario,
The Bocce bunch in Sun City, Lincoln.”

Check out one of the canopy links

 Henselite Bowls Measure

Bocce product of the week - Henselite Bowls Measure

I’ve been trying for some time to get this nifty measure in stock. My first shipment just arrived and I have just seven of these telescopic measures left. When these go, subsequent orders will hit the “back-order” file.

The Henselite Measure is a small metal telescopic device not much bigger than a ball point pen. In my book I erroneously referred to it as the Kenselite Measure because I mistook the fancy script H for a K. The measure is approximately 6 inches when closed but extends to a full meter. It is an ingeniously devised tool for inside measurement. People send me many photos of bocce players measuring for points with various tape measures. Usually they are holding one end of the tape at the pallino, then extending the tape over the top center of the ball being measured (or vice-versa). This is okay to get a general idea of which ball is closer, but for accuracy you need inside measure. Place the tape measure between the object ball and bocce ball and see how much tape needs to be extended between the two. The Henselite is for inside measure and for close ones at that (a meter or less). The player or referee first estimates the distance between the pallino and the two bocce balls to be compared. Then, he extends the appropriate telescopic sections to a length slightly less than that estimate. Next, he places the device between the pallino and one of the balls in question and extends it until it touches both balls. The head of the tool is equipped with a screw-top mechanism. Turning the top in one direction lengthens the tool, while winding in the opposite direction shortens it. This fine tuning makes for very precise measuring. Finally, the measurer places the device between the pallino and the other ball and compares. Care must be taken with this device, because you might easily disturb the positions of balls being measured if you are not careful.

This nifty device fits in and clips onto your shirt pocket. It even has calipers for checking those really close points. It is the perfect gift for the bocce aficionado in your life. Like our other measures, it retails for 19.95 plus shipping.

Click here to see more photos of the Henselite Bowls Measure

 Photos of the week – bocce on the green
This week’s photos are of outdoor bocce on the lawn in Atkinson, New Hampshire. I had almost forgotten how much fun it is to play on uneven grass surfaces where you have to “read the green”, toss high lofting shots uphill, or gentle finesse rolls downhill. I recommend mowing the lawn really short before playing – high grass can obscure the object ball. With high grass we sometimes substitute a larger croquet ball for the pallino.

{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 out This Week's Photos

 Non bocce product of the week – Held over for 2nd week - Plant Power
Non bocce product of the week - Plant Power {held over by popular demand}

{Hey, bocce's great, but I'm always on the look-out for all kinds of good products for my readers}

Plant Power is one of my favorite products. Like any self-respecting Italian, I take pride in my expertise as a vegetable gardener. Not a fertilizer, Plant Power consists of enzymes that sink into the soil and break down the complex organics that are already there so that the plant's root system can absorb them. The first couple of years with this product I did controlled experiments trying to keep all factors the same (amount of water, sunlight, etc.) except for the enzymes. The results were dramatic. I always got more fruit and larger fruit from the Plant Power samples. As a matter of fact, I had world-class broccoli that I promised my wife that I would pick one day after taking photographs to document the banner yield. When I awoke the next morning I was dismayed to find that the neighborhood woodchuck had devoured the entire crop. I didn't think one varmint could eat that much produce in one evening. It is my understanding that Plant Power has been tested by the UMass School of Agriculture, where it out-performed Miracle Grow by a substantial margin - and all of this with no chemicals or ingredients that may be harmful to Mother Earth.

Try an 8-ounce bottle for $10.95.

Also available - case of six 8-ounce bottles for $65.70.

Check out Plant Power - those tomatoes will be ripening soon

 Tournament update
Tournament update {chronological order}

Please - anyone running a tournament - do me a favor - put a notice near your tourney bracket board informing players that they can go to and "opt in" for my FREE Ezine on bocce.

July 27, 2002. All welcome to join us at Bowman Bay State Park for the Masters Bocce Open, hosted by the Seattle Luncheon Club and run by Open and Closed Course Bocce Association. Contact for further details.

August, 2002 - Chattanooga Southeastern Tournament. "The most scenic court in the South." For more information on the August tournament (and photos), click If you come to play this August, you'll get an added bonus - you get to meet me! I serve as referee for the games.

August 24 and 25 - IL PRIMO PENNSYLVANIA BOCCE INVITATIONAL, Scranton, Pennsylvania. August 1st = entry deadline.
The biggest bocce competition on the East Coast. Open Division as well as Novice with four-player teams in each (all roll one ball), and tournament is open to both men and women. Entry fee $30.00 per player for the Open Division and $20.00 per player for the Novice - ALL entry fees going toward cash prizes. Guaranteed minimum first place cash prize of $1,000.00 in the Open Division and $400.00 first place prize in Novice Division. Contact: Jim Cawley @ or call (1 800 229-3526)

September 8, 2002 - Sunshine Village Universal Bocce Bowl - Szot Park, Chicopee, Massachusetts. Four player teams - Entrance fee = $200 (fee includes competition, T-shirt, lunch and dinner for all players) - For more information call 413-592-6142. If you come to play this September, you'll get an added bonus - you get to meet me and my teammates from Home Run Park in Lawrence, Massachusetts.


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