The Joy of Bocce Weekly
 In This Issue: Vol. II, Issue 19 - May 12, 2003 
•   Notes from the publisher
•   Bocce product of the week
•   Readers’ feedback
•   Non bocce product of the week
•   Photos of the week
•   Tournament update
 Notes from the publisher
The FREE weekly Ezine for bocce aficionados everywhere
Volume 2, Issue #19 May 12, 2003
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2003

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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).

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 Readers’ feedback
{Publisher’s comments in brackets}

John Canty from Massachusetts writes...

"Earlier you featured a court topping that you had applied and were waiting to gauge the feel and stamina of this product. I am now looking for such a product and am interested in your opinion then access to this product and at what cost? Any help would be appreciated. My court
is small, only 50' x 5'."

{John alludes to the top dressing of Har-Tru that my bocce buddies and I applied last fall. The preliminary report is a good one - see This Week's Photos below for details and see more reader feedback below on the same topic. At any rate, a 50' by 5' court will be pretty inexpensive to resurface.}


Kevin (also from Mass.) sent a similar request...

"I am looking for info on court surface for a newly installed bocce court. It is 60'x12'. I need to add additional material over the existing stone dust. Any suggestions, and location and approximate cost, for such material would be appreciated.

{I had a stone dust court which played pretty well and drained beautifully here in Massachusetts. I wanted to "step up" to a faster surface, so we added a top coat of Har-Tru (the stuff they use on tennis courts) late last fall. As winter set in we decided to stay off the court until the spring - this would also give the material more than enough time to set up/cure. See This Week's Photos for my preliminary report on the Har-Tru performance.

Also, you can see how we did the top dressing installation at my web site by clicking on the button for Court Top Dressing or just by clicking the picture of the bocce court workers above.}


David Brewer of sends this...

"I noticed you have some of the courts we designed and built here in Northern California on your web site. As far as I know, Tom McNutt and us are the only contractors who specialize in this field.

We read your book years ago and it was an inspiration to investigate court design and construction. We have built 65 courts in the last three and a half years, including courts for John Madden, George Lucas, headquarters for, wineries, hotels, restaurants, public parks, retirement communities and private homes. One of your most recent courts on display on your web site (HERON HILL) is one of ours.
Check us out at"

{We are familiar with BocceBrew's excellent work. If David would be kind enough to send photos I'd be delighted to feature BocceBrew courts as the Photos of the Week. My guess is that readers would LOVE to see Madden's and Lucas' courts.}


Dick and Karen Gomez send compliments from Northern California...

"Thanks for the great newsletter and web site. I also have to thank you for your book, The Joy of Bocce. My wife read it at least six years ago, and it changed her game completely. She was a one night a week, play for fun, wine, and food type player, but after she read your book, she became more interested in the game, and has become a most excellent lagger. She's a tournament champion, and still retains her passion for the game (as do I)."

{What kind words - my first book on computers and education was a McGraw-Hill BOMC selection, but it never got such a favorable review. I'm proud and humbled that it could inspire some to take their game to the next level.}

View BocceBrew's web site

 Photos of the week
This week’s photo/essay covers two topics. It gives an initial review of my backyard bocce court’s new Har-Tru surface, and it details how we are managing our Monday morning bocce now that we have outgrown a single court.

Dealing with a high "players-to-court" ratio…

Methuen is in the northeast corner of Massachusetts, not exactly a hotbed for bocce. There are a number of leagues in the western part of the state (private club teams from around the Springfield area). And there are pockets of bocce activity in Central Mass. and around Boston, but California it’s not. Still, we take every opportunity to promote the sport, and virtually everyone to whom we introduce the game likes it.

Our Monday morning recreational bocce get-together started with a handful of players and has grown to more than twenty. We play one Monday at my home court and the next at Del Bracci’s, an eighty-seven year-old former National Super Senior Downhill Ski Champ. {When Del got to the final heat for the championship, his two competitors still in the running for the gold were former Olympians from Rumania. Del beat them both handily.}

Each of our two outdoor bocce venues has just one court. We like to play with eight players, four per team. We station four players at each end. While one end plays, the other coaches, cajoles, communes, or otherwise kibitzes until it’s their turn to roll.

When we grew to twelve players, we created three teams and made one sit out and partake of coffee and pastry while awaiting their turn. Sometimes we added another half set of balls, putting six players on a team, each rolling two balls.

When we grew even larger, we played games to six or eight points to shorten the “down time.”

This past Monday began our outdoor season at my home court and, with fourteen players present, we took a different tact. One group played on the Har-Tru surface while the other played on the side yard lawn. The winners on the lawn advanced to the court, and the losers on the court moved to the grassy venue. {See photos of the week.}

I had almost forgotten how much I enjoyed playing on the lawn, where “reading the green” comes in handy, and home court advantage really kicks in. I tossed the pallino off my chain link fence knowing full well that if I rolled my bocce ball directly at the closed gate it would carom off, rebound gently, and continue down the slight decline toward the object ball. And no one can outplay me around the exposed roots of my old willow tree.

Many of us bocce junkies will play anywhere, on any surface with any equipment and any rule variations. We just want to play!

In the next couple of weeks we will be evaluating three different types of inexpensive, portable outdoor courts, the brain child of Chris Pfeiffer. Chris is one of the “good guys” of bocce, contributing a great deal of volunteer time to Special Olympics Wisconsin. He's founded a company called Backyard Bocce to promote and market his invention.

Made of rope, nylon webbing, or vinyl mesh, the courts are purportedly easy to set up and take down, and serve to demarcate boundaries for playing on grass or dirt. They sound very exciting, but as always, I’ll withhold judgment until my bocce buddies and I get to try out the merchandise. Stay tuned.


The Har-Tru surface – preliminary evaluation

Del Bracci has what we call the “derringer of bocce courts” weighing in at about 9’ by 45’ with a stone dust surface. My 10’ by 76’ court was also topped with stone dust. (Fine stone dust is often a good choice for New England courts as it drains extremely well after heavy rains and melting snowfalls.)

Last fall I decided to “step up” to a faster surface. My bocce crew and I laid down more than 100 bags of Har-Tru (same stuff they use on tennis courts). To see how we did the job go to and click on the Court Top Dressing button.

We did the top dressing job in late fall and, as the rainy and cold winter weather set in, we opted to stay off the court until spring.

Throughout the winter I kept a close eye on the court and noticed that even though my court is built up higher than the surrounding terrain, water would puddle up after a storm. This was a concern, but the Har-Tru people assured me that once the material had time to “set” or “cure,” then it would drain well.

That seems to indeed be the case. After a rain storm there no longer are surface puddles. The Har-Tru surface plays true and fast...a lot faster than stone dust.

One end of the court seems to be softer than the other. We think that is because it gets less sunlight and hasn't yet cured as well as the opposite end. The Har-Tru people tell us to keep wetting and rolling it (using little or no water on the end that is sunlight deprived).

So, the preliminary word is in - Har-Tru looks like it is going to work out well for us. In a couple weeks, we should have the final verdict. A big test will be whether or not we can play Monday morning after a heavy rain on the previous day. My guess is that we are going to be "good to go!"

{Please send photos from different areas of the USA. The Joy of Bocce Weekly tries to feature photos from all over the country and from other countries too. I'd love to post your pictures here as "This Week's Photos."}

Check out this week's pictures...

 Bocce product of the week
Many top players believe that the best bocce balls in the world are made in Italy by Perfetta. Yes, we can get them to you via this ezine. The set is "official" size with four 107 mm red balls, four 107 mm green balls, one white pallino, and a well-constructed nylon carrying bag.

Click below to order the Perfetta Set @ $119.00 plus $14.00 shipping (recently reduced) anywhere in the USA. It’s not cheap - but it’s quality!

Don't forget T-shirts, mugs etc. with the striking Joy of Bocce logo

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

It seems like everybody I talk to is trying to lose weight.

According to the National Institutes of Health, an estimated 97 million people in the United States are classified as overweight. Our sedentary lifestyles combined with access to fattening foods have made this figure grow considerably in the last decade. When we’re overweight we risk developing serious conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Check out my company’s excellent entry into the weight management arena. Get healthy, get slender, get ready for summer.

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 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. Click the logo to the right to opt in if you do not already receive this ezine every Monday.

May 17, 2003 – 2nd Annual Ken Waldie Senior Sports Circuit bocce tournament. Indoors at Home Run Park, Lawrence, Mass. Four-person teams - $80 entry fee. Contact Mario Pagnoni @

May 17, 2003, Peninsula Social Club, San Mateo, California, Men's Raffa Tournament, 3 Players, Contact Adriano Undorte at (650) 591-3318.

May 24, 2003 - Memorial Team Handicap, Moses Lake, WA. Open Course bocce tourney. Limited spots available. Contact Jeff at

May 30, 2003, - 2nd Annual Bocce Fling, Phoenix Bocce Club, Phoenix Arizona, Open Rules. Arizona American Italian Club, Contact Denise Storace (602) 956-5104 or

May 31, 2003 – Fratellanza Italian Club (Open Rules ABA Sanctioned Tournament) – contact Gianfranco Sciacero at 510-525-5372.

June 1, 2003, Italian Picnic Bocce Tournament, Italian Benevolent Society (Italian Picnic Grounds, Sutter Creek, California. Open rules. Four person teams $25 per player. Continental breakfast and lunch included. Cash prizes. Contact Rick Wagstaff (916) 791-9127 or

June 8, 2003 – Lodi Bocce (Open Rules – wine & sausage) Contact Gary De Pauli @ 209-478-4299.

June 8-15, 2003 - United States National Bocce Tournament - Highwood Bocce Courts, Highwood, IL - winners will compete in the WORLD COMPETITION in SWITZERLAND. Contact Mike Conti @ 847-692-6223.

June 13 – 15, 2003 – ABA Open Championships. Contact Manny Romo @ 925-754-4890.

June 14, 2003 – Woodland Park Lawn Bowling Club 6018 Whitman Ave. N., Seattle, WA – Open Rules – 4 player teams - $80 per team. Contact Greg Singleton @ 206-998-3268 or

July 11-13, 2003 Bocce Classic IX Tournament, John Pirelli Lodge, 2625 County Line Road, Dayton Ohio, contact

July 13, 2003 - Tempo Italiano Heritage Day Bocce Tournament - Villa Tempo Italiano, 440 Northampton St., Easton, PA, 18042 - Contact Tempo Italiano at 610-559-5570. $500.00 to First Place Team, $300.00 for Second Place and $200.00 for Third Place.

July 18 – 20, 2003 - World Series of Bocce held in Rome, NY. Big event played on 15 courts - 6 Indoor and 9 Outdoor. Close to $15,000 in prize money. First place around $5,000. Contact Dave Hilts @

July 26, 2003 - 1st annual Backyard Bocce/ Italian Community Center Bocce Tournament - McKinley Park, Milwaukee. The entrance fee = $100 per team (or $25 per team member). Sixty-four teams. All proceeds go to Special Olympics Wisconsin.

August 9 2003 - Mich. State Bocce Championship, Sylvan Lake, Michigan 3 players per team 2 bocce balls each. Round robin format. $200.00 per team. 1 alternate recommended. Open rules. $2000.00 in prize money, trophies and medals. Contact Mike Grasser at 248-505-4744 or

August 22-24, 2003 – 19th annual Wickliffe Italian American Club (Wickliffe, OH (east of Cleveland) Tournament. Contact Tony Continenza at 440-585-4600 or email

August 23, 2003 - USBF Western Sector Raffa Championships, Los Gatos, CA, Campo di Bocce - Raffa Rules. Contact John Ross (408) 354-0625 or

August 24, 2003 - 6th Annual Tempo Italiano Celebration Bocce Tournament – Villa Tempo Italiano, 440 Northampton St., Easton, PA, 18042 - Contact Tempo Italiano at 610-559-5570. $500.00 to First Place Team, $300.00 for Second Place and $200.00 for Third Place.

September 15-21, 2003 - World Bocce Championship, Chiasso, Switzerland, CBI International Bocce Tournament, Raffa. You must win the United States Bocce Federation, National Tournament to be held in Highwood IL in June, 2003. For more information see or contact Mike Conti (847) 692-6223 /

September 20, 2003 - Le Phare Des Alps bocce tournament – Valdese, North Carolina - $40 per four-person team. Contact T.R. Robinson at

September 21, 2003 – Sunshine Village Universal Bocce Bowl, Szot Park, Chicopee, Mass. Four player teams - $200 entry fee – includes t-shirt, lunch & dinner. Limited # of teams – 1st place = $600, 2nd place = $300, 3rd place = $200. Contact Rico Daniele @ 1-800-BOCCE54.

September 21, 2003 - Bruno Freschet Memorial Tournament, Peninsula Social Club, San Mateo, California, Open, 4 Players, contact Adriano Undorte at (650) 591-3318.

October 4, 2003 - USBF Western Sector Open Championships, Los Gatos, CA Campo di Bocce, Open (Four Person). Contact John Ross (408) 354-0625 or

October 7-12, 2003 - Volo World Championship, Nice, France, Federation International De Boules, International Volo Tournament. You must qualify at the United States Bocce Federation National Championship, held in Highwood, IL in June in order to qualify. Contact Mike Conti 847-692-6223 or

October 11, 2003 - Fall Open Tournament, Marin Bocce Federation, San Rafael, California, Open, 4 Players, contact Diana Pellegrini at (415) 454-4483.

October 25, 2003 - Raffa Tournament, Campo di Bocce, Los Gatos Bocce Club, Raffa, 3 Players, contact Bill Schlaefer at (408) 379-9409.

October 26, 2003 - 3rd Annual Tempo Italiano Fall Classic Bocce Tournament - Villa Tempo Italiano, 440 Northampton St., Easton, PA, 18042 - Contact Tempo Italiano at 610-559-5570. $500.00 to First Place Team, $300.00 for Second Place and $200.00 for Third Place.

November 1st, 2003 - Third Annual Big Ben Invitational - 2 person Punto, Raffa, Volo - International rules, two person teams - three balls each. Price not yet determined, big money potential. Contact Ben Musolf - Campo di Bocce 408.395.7650.


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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.
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