The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. III, Issue 31 - August 16, 2004 
•   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 weekly Ezine for bocce aficionados everywhere
Volume 3, Issue #31 - August 16, 2004
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2004


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 $13.95 by clicking on the book image to the right.


I hope you will like this electronic newsletter. To be deleted from the list, you can Unsubscribe at the end of this issue. We will quickly and permanently remove your email address from our list (we'll be sorry to see you go). But, be aware that 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 (see Forward link at bottom of newsletter) 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).



Please send photos of bocce play in your neck of the woods. The cupboard is almost bare - email ( or snail mail (P.O. Box 608, Methuen, MA 01844) at your convenience - our readers will appreciate it.

What people are saying about The Joy of Bocce...

Readers' feedback
Readers’ Feedback

{Publisher’s comments in brackets}

Good news! I was interviewed last week by William Lee Adams of Newsweek. He's doing a piece on bocce and was especially interested in the phenomenon of beach bocce. I gave him a lot of info and turned him on to other bocce leaders in the USA.

Quite by coincidence I had previously been contacted by Peter Canelo and Allen Schachter, founders of the Fire Island Beach Bocce Association (FIBBA) of Fair Harbor, Fire Island. They wrote...

"As summertime residents of Fire Island, New York—the ultimate beach resort--we were inspired by pictures in your book of people playing bocce on the beach. But it took us a while to figure out how to play the beach game, and have fun doing it.

For over 5 years we have dedicated ourselves to devising an enjoyable and challenging way to play bocce on a sandy, sloping, hilly, and sometimes wet surface. We are now confident that with the right equipment, a portable rope court of special design, and with open volo e raffa rules the beach game can be just as addictive as flat court bocce. (Plus you get a good tan.)

This summer FIBBA has invited teams of well ranked bocce players from the Bocce Beach Restaurant in Ocean Bean, Fire Island; Il Vagabondo in NYC; and from the Long Island Bocce Club—all flat court bocce groups. The only team that gave us real competition (on the beach, that is) was the Bada Bing Club from Fairfield County, Connecticut.)

If any of your acquaintances or e-mail partners spend their weekends on Fire Island, by all means have them contact us there at 631-583-9175. During the week we can be reached at 973-746-7695. A beach team consists of 4 or 5 players (our Beach Bums include 4 men and 1 woman) and we play two doubles matches and a four-against-four finale. (Beach bocce players, by the way, tend to favor Pino Grigio, Sancerre or chilled sparkling wine.)

Let us know what you think of our conception of beach bocce. This, we truly believe, is a game that belongs in the summer Olympics."

{Sounds pretty good to me - These guys sound like they have their act together and would be fun to hang out with. I'll make a point to challenge them on their own turf. And when their new web site is finalized I'll be sure to promote it here.}


I have received many emails like this one from Simon Church of Albany, CA...

"How are your plans going for publishing the next edition of your book?"

and this one from John Wheeler of Washington, DC...

"What is the status of the 2nd edition of your book?"

{I have the galleys in hand for the new edition and, although there are still some problems with layout, they look fabulous. I think I am going to be very proud of this book when it is finally in hand (hopefully, sometime in September). I am painstakingly going through the text line by line making corrections and late changes. Some of the photos are a tad smaller than I would have liked them, but we had to sacrifice because of the low resolution of some of the digital pictures sent in from around the country. Overall, I think the publisher is doing a terrific job, and I am excited that we are getting near the finish line.}


Recently Guy Welsher wrote...

"I would like to know different strategies for the game of bocce. I have been playing for 5 years now and really enjoy the game."

I answered...

{I'm with you - I want to learn more strategy too. I wish some of the top players would write a book, or at least an article about bocce tactics. All I have learned and written about in my ezine and bocce is from interviewing
high level players.}

This prompted Matt DiPaula to write...

"I started to play bocce 15 years ago. I play in summer and winter leagues and play in tournaments. I don’t believe there is real strategy in bocce like there is as a trainer telling a fighter how to prepare for a fight. In bocce it is things that you pick up along the way, like observing how the pallino and the bocce ball roll down the court, how the ball bounces off of the side and back boards. It is the observing and remembering that is the so called strategy.

P.S. I hope you print this, maybe some of the high level players will respond."

{I hope top players respond too! There is definitely a level of strategy and tactics to the game...leaving a ball short to block, moving the object ball to a new position...the best players have the physical skills and the cerebral skills to employ the correct tactics in any situation.}

Other outdoor games...

Photos of the week
This week’s photos come courtesy of Boccemon Tom McNutt who writes..."People have expressed interest in the maintenance issues related to oyster shell courts. In response to this I have taken some snap shots to visually fill in what my words may have left out.

Boccemon has found that five basic tools are ideal for our court owners.

#1 – Expanded Metal Sled
We recommend purchasing a piece of “expanded steel”. Dimensions should be approximately 18” wide by 5’ or 6’ in length. Bend the front 16” up slightly to create the appearance of a sled. Attach a piece of rope to each side of the upturned end of the sled, place your bag of bocce balls on the sled and drag around like a human “Zamboni”. The expanded metal will carve off the high spots and carry the extra material to fill in the low ones. Find this product in the Yellow Pages in your hometown wherever you would shop for dimensional steel or aluminum. This shouldn’t cost more than $10 or $15.

#2 – Landscaping Lute/Rake Combination
Purchase a 42” or a 48” rake with a flat edge for scraping on the opposite side of the rake. This is used both for scarifying the surface and for leveling purposes. This is not a required tool, but if one plans to maintain any semblance of “flat” you should have either a piece of expanded metal or this combination landscaping rake. Local hardware stores and nurseries should carry one of these sizes for around $35 to $50.

#3 – A Broom
Find one that falls somewhere in the range from 36” to 84”. After scraping off the highs and filling in the lows the court will look a bit rough. Sweeping with a broom breaks up some of the smaller clumps and puts a smoother layer down. I have seen folks use a piece of long shag carpet turned down so that the carpet strands sweep and smooth the surface. The ones I have seen are all smaller than 40” but they could theoretically be any size. Brooms range in cost from $20 to $150.

#4 – A Flat or Square Nosed Shovel
Once the court is swept there is excess surface that piles up at the court ends. This needs to be removed so that balls that should hit the back wall do! We hate having a ball stopped and then watch it roll back two feet onto the pallina because of an oyster “hill” protecting the back boards. This is sloppy maintenance. Put it in a bucket with a lid during the dry season and redistribute it during the wetter weather when the court surface is less workable. $7.50 to $25 will buy you a fine shovel.

#5 – Water and a good “fan type” spray nozzle.
Unlike most bocce or petanque surfaces, water is the friend of a well blended oyster shell court. Once the court is flat and smoothed you will want to re-bond the court. A light spray will do this. However, after going to the effort to restore the court a topical mist would be an insult to your labor. Get the top 1” of surface wet. Stop wetting an area when the water begins to pool. Let it drain (seconds) and continue spraying. Some styles of lawn sprinklers can be left alone to do the job, but it is always better to be there as the water is applied in order to keep your surface leveled and smooth. A good nozzle can run from $7 to $70.

The Boccemon’s Oyster Blend contains no clay so the drainage is as good as the court’s base. Bad base – bad drainage – bad court! Oyster is a great foundation for a court surface. The more you play the better the court gets. “Dents” like those made in clay courts take a circular motion with your foot to smooth. Not a trowel, clay, and water! My clients look forward to a hard rain as the courts will eventually start to hold some water during a good pour. Then with an inch or two of standing water the surface is agitated by the rain drops, suspending the fine powdered shell like creamer in coffee. When the water settles out an hour or so later the court seems perfectly flat and smooth.

The maintenance described above takes me about 30 minutes to perform and it’s done about once a month whether needed or not. If you are interested in a great surface for a bocce court look no further. Oyster is the king as far as we’re concerned and keeping our courts playing well is simple by comparison to any surface we know."

View this week's photos...

Bocce product of the week
Court maintenance tools - 7' drag brush & lute/scarifier

I’ve seen all kinds of home-made court maintenance brushes and scrapers. Two things have always struck me about them. 1 – they look like they are home-made and 2 – they tend to be HEAVY.

Manufactured by Lee Tennis (makers of the Har-Tru surface), this court maintenance tool created for tennis courts works exceptionally well for bocce courts.

The 7-foot drag brush is light-weight and, even if you have a 13- or 14-foot wide court, you can smooth it over with just two passes. This is quick enough to do between games without players standing around waiting very long. Bristles are 4 ½ inches of synthetic fibers and the strong but light-weight frame is aluminum. Retails for $137.95 plus shipping.


This strangely named 30” wide device is actually two implements in one. It is an all-aluminum combination tool for scarifying, leveling, and removing loose court material.

Strong and sturdy, the tool is light enough to handle with ease and is excellent for spreading new material during top-dressing. The concave shape of the 30” wide blade allows the tool to “float” along the surface without digging in. Use the serrated edge to scrape material from high spots, then flip the tool over to rake and smooth that spot and drag the loose material to fill in a lower point.

Retails for $50.95 plus shipping.

The lute/scarifier and 7-foot drag brush should be all the maintenance tools a bocce court owner needs.

Click for more on lute/scarifier and 7' drag brush...

Non bocce product of the week
Glucosatrin is a nutritional approach for healthy joints and bones. Featuring special nutrients and herbs, Glucosatrin® helps relieve joint stiffness caused by overactivity and helps reduce overall wear and tear from growing old - or from being overweight. Each bottle contains 90 tablets. May just ease those creaky joints and help your bocce game!

Learn more about Glucosatrin...

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.

August 21, 2004 - Women’s Tournament - Open – 4 person team - So. SF IACC Orange Ave. Mem. Park South San Francisco, CA - contact Rose Viscuso @ 650-871-7732.

August 22, 2004 - ABA Volo Championships – 3 person team - So. SF IACC Orange Ave. - Mem. Park, South San Francisco, CA - MUST HAVE ABA CARD - contact Traci Malley @ 916-456-7169.

August 28, 2004 – ABA Raffa Championships - Concord Bocce FederationNewhall Park - Concord, CA - MUST HAVE ABA CARD – contact Traci Malley @ 916-456-7169.

September 11, 2004 - Santa Rosalia Tournament - Open – 4 person team - Monterey Bocce Club Charter House - Monterey, CA. Contact Peter Dentice @ 831-372-5400.

September 11, 2004 - Hilton Head Island, SC Chapter of UNICO 14th Annual Bocce Tournament sponsored by Fratello's Sausage Company - Open - 2 Person Team, Double Elimination - $35 Team Entry Fee - 1st Place Team $500, 2nd $250, 3rd $150 and 4th $100. Contact John Urato at 888-813-1684.

September 18, 2004 - Collinsville Illinois Italianfest Tournament - Glidden Park, Lebanon and Branch Street, Collinsville (located approx 1 mile from the fest grounds) - info

September 25, 2004 - XXIX Italian/American Games -Raffa – 3 person team - So. SF IACC Orange Ave. Mem. Park So. San Francisco, CA - MUST HAVE ABA CARD - contact Alvaro Bettucchi @ 650-871-9278.

September 26, 2004 - Bruno Freschet Mem. Tour. - Open – 4 person team - P.I.A.S.C. - San Mateo, Beresford Recreation Center, 28th Ave. & Alameda de la Pulgas. Contact Adriano Undorte @ 650-591-3318.

October 2, 2004 - Open, 4-person teams - Marin Bocce Federation - 550 B Street, San Rafael, CA. Contact Diana Pellegrini @ 415-454-4483.

October 9, 2004 - Jerry Belleci Mem. Tourn. - Open Rules – four-person teams - Pittsburg Bocce Federation, Buchanan Park - Pittsburg, CA. Contact Manny and Lydia Romo @ 925-754-4890.

October 9 - 11, 2004 - North American Bocce Championship, Montreal. Contact Mike Conti @ 847-692-6223 or

October 16, 2004 - Volo – 3 person team - So SF IACC - Orange Ave. Mem. Park, So. San Francisco, CA - contact Alessandro Bettucchi @ 650-583-9936.

Clubhawk Gold Measure - string instead of steel tape - precise - fits in your pocket

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