The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VII, Issue 40 - November 24, 2008 
•   Notes from the publisher
•   Bocce product of the week
•   Bocce news & 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 7, Issue #40 - November 24, 2008
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2008
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Hi bocce friends,

Sorry I missed my deadline last week and was unable to got the ezine launched.

No matter how much work on the newsletter I get done during the week, it always seems to come down to Sunday. And last Sunday was our Ken Waldie Senior Sports basketball kick-off. It took a good chunk out of my day and we topped things off by holding our annual Board of Directors meeting in the early evening.

But we are back and coming at you with new material from around the nation. If any of you are thinking of launching an ezine, I'd caution you to think carefully about making it a weekly. It's an awfully ambitious task, as one savvy reader warned me in the early stages of this publication (2002). A monthly is OK for some, maybe even bi-weekly. But if you want to come out every week, be prepared for some struggles and occasional disappointments.

Stay close and always be up front,
Mario Pagnoni (The Bocce Guy)

John Pirelli Lodge #1633, Beaver Creek, Ohio...

Bocce news & readers' feedback
{Publisher's comments in brackets...}

Debby Bussler sends this...

"On Saturday, November 15, 2008, Bocce USA sponsored an inner-league tournament at the Bob Whitlow Memorial indoor courts in West Frankfort, Illinois.

Six teams were entered in the single elimination contest which began play at 1 p.m. Several hot contests were played on the two courts during the afternoon, but, the last team standing at the end of the day was comprised of: Mary Lynn Whitlow, Betty Stipes, John Battioli and Frank Moschino. Prizes were awarded to the top three places."

{Looks like Bob Whitlow left his Bocce USA in good hands. Click the photo to visit the web site.}


Naples, Florida resident Richard J. Curreri is Secretary/Treasurer of the Southwest Florida Bocce Conference (SWFBC). He wrote asking for assistance creating a schedule for his bocce league. He had some parameters that were making it difficult for all things to fit...

"We want to play an eleven week schedule, where three communities will host three other communities each week. Each community will play three games a week. At the end of eleven weeks each community will play a total of thirty (33) games. 3 games (week) x eleven weeks = 33 games. We like to play each community three equal times within that eleven week schedule. Nine (9) communities can host three times and 3 (3) communities host two times in the eleven week schedule.”

{My first reaction was that I’d try to help, but I don't think you can always force a schedule to fit your arbitrary parameters. I think you have to work out a schedule and then see how many weeks it will take and how many communities have to host, etc. Then, whatever inconsistencies there are, you just live with.

When he told his group that I was trying to work out the schedule, he said "Everybody got excited saying that I had talked to the Bocce God”. But, in the end, Curreri did a much better job than I in making the schedule work. From now on I’m going to refer scheduling questions to him, the bocce scheduling god.

Anyway - what a great set-up for these lucky Florida bocce enthusiasts – 12 communities playing in southwest Florida, visiting different bocce venues and meeting new friends. The groups (all gated communities) are Bay Forest, Bonita Bay, Breckenridge, Carlton Lakes, Cascades, Copperleaf, Jamaica Bay, Lighthouse Bay, Pelican Landing, Spanish Wells, Village Walk, and Worthington CC.}

Says Curreri, "A lot of the community players are Snowbirds and they start to leave after April 1st. And none of them want to miss the Tournament. We have a perpetual trophy that the winning community gets their name engraved on and has braggers' rights for a year.

It’s great fun and camaraderie and friendly competition. We all get to see other communities in Southwest Florida, from Naples to Fort Myers."


Joe Brownstein of Waltham, Massachusetts asks a question we've been pondering for a while...

"I live in an over-55 community and we are considering putting a Bocce court in the basement of our club house. The dimensions will be 64’ x 9’. The floor is concrete and we are looking to put down a carpet for covering. What type of carpeting would you suggest?

{We always tell people Astroturf or a good indoor-outdoor carpet will work well, but almost any carpet will do the trick (try rolling a few balls on it as a test run before you purchase). But, we have trouble with the ball bouncing over the target sometimes and need to find some kind of subsurface material that might reduce the amount of bounce. The bouncing becomes a problem on raffa and volo shots. Not many volo players hereabouts (mainly, just me), but I find that when I hit directly in front of the target on our indoor field turf or Astroturf courts, my ball skips right over the intended target.

Do any readers have an idea about what could be placed beneath the carpet to minimize bounce? Please REPLY.}


The Federico Factor

Last issue's Federico Factor, referring to the fact that I was fortunate to have a great youth coach at an early stage of my sports development (baseball/basketball) prompted a lot of interest.

A couple USBF reps indicated they'd be happy to come to Massachusetts in the spring and teach my posse how to play. Dr. Cordano said he'd like to become our "Cordano Factor".

"You and any others that may attend the will get personalized advice on all aspects of the game including the tactical ones.

I can almost guarantee improvement if instructions are followed (particularly in pointing, raffa and in volo shooting and rules with the international game)."

The USBF's John Ross also says he'd love to combine a trip to the Boston area with a teaching/coaching session on bocce on the North Shore. So, look for more on this in the spring or early summer. Whatever I learn, I will be sure to pass on to the Joy of Bocce Weekly readers (with photos!).


Dr. Cordano also updates us on the Pan American Games...

"For the first time the Modality of Volo with the Brass Balls will be played in the Pan American Games to be held at my original Bocce Club (Circolo Sportivo Italiano) in Lima, Peru from December 2nd to the 6th.

There will be several types of competition: SINGLES; DOUBLES; COMBINATION (one against one by alternating rolling and volo shooting into a circle of 1m in diameter, that progressively is moved at further distance); PRECISION VOLO: shooting (a larger red painted target ball is placed in difficult positions close to a regular ball) at progressive farther distance and final modality is called RAPID VOLO shooting .

This last modality is simply spectacular and athletes run constantly for 5 minutes shooting to the target ball that is moved at progressively more distant positions. At the end of the court of 90 feet, a POLE of about 3 f. is standing with a small platform on top and a person at each end picks up the thrown ball and places it on the platform, so the running player doesn’t waist any time. He just goes around and shoots at targets placed on the second mat on the other lateral side of the court.

(See photos display here: )

There are players that throw as much as 61 TIMES in those 5 minutes and hit 59/61. To my knowledge the best has been 59 out of 59 and what tops all, is that those players must run A MILE and 1/8 in about 5 minutes!

Ladies also do it and are quite close in speed and effectiveness. Ten Countries have confirmed their participation: SUD AMERICA: Argentina; Bolivia; Brasil; Chile; Paraguay; Peruvian (my nephew Sandro Saletti Cordano will play); Uruguay; Venezuela.

North AMERICA: United States

Centro AMERICA: Dominican Republic and Cuba has still not confirmed.

This tournament may open a venue for the sport to become Olympic!

Mr. Bruno, President of the FIB (Federazione Internazzionale de Boules) will be present, as well as other world bocce authorities.

I thought this will make its way into the Ezine and I love to be a contributor for your success in keeping the bocce lovers up to date of what’s going on in the sport.

Will keep you posted with my connections in my old club and with the Peruvian Federation.

I spoke on the phone with Lima and they are giving the final touches to the new extended 90 f. courts. Believe it or not, they have placed the new surface (asphalt) over the old courts and my fellow American players may be inspired by seeing the names of Nanni (my brother); Umberto (my cousin) and Angelo (me) in a nice plaque on the wall. This plaque was in recognition of our contribution for playing for the Club for over 25 years at national and international level.

Note: This game is called by different names: Volo (mainly N. America and some places in Italy), Boules by the French speaking countries, and Zerbin in Italy, several countries in Europe and in South America.

The French have been “in charge” (Mainly) of that variety of bocce for many years and Mr. Alphonse Lagier Bruno has been its president for many years.

My comment is that 'some day' the 3 different bocce organizations of: Bocce, Petanque and Zerbin (Boules/Volo) will have to give up their individual desires to be the one at the Olympics and SETTLE and CHOOSE what is best for the SPORT.

Salomonic decision from my point of view is to choose: RAPID SHOOTING (brass balls) and DOUBLES of Punto-Raffa-Volo (to 12 pts. maximum).

These 2 modalities are of intense action and will be very acceptable for TV."

{Readers need to understand that these international styles of play could go Olympic some day, but Open Rules doesn't have enough countries playing for it to become recognized by the International Olympic Committee. The only places I hear of Open Rules play are in the USA and Canada. And Dr. C points out that a couple of those international modalities make for good TV, which is always a factor in the I.O.C.'s decision making.}


The Pallino D'Oro is Back

Da Vinci Bocce LLC Presents: The 2008 United States and North American Pallino D’Oro Championships.

Host Club: Ciociaro Club, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Dates: United States Pallino D’Oro
Friday, December 5, 2008, 12:00pm to 7:00pm.
Saturday, December 6, 2008, 9:00am to 12:00pm.

North American Pallino D’Oro
Saturday, December 6, 2008, 1:00pm to 9:00pm.
Sunday, December 7, 2008, 9:00am to 12:00pm.

Format: The top eight finishers in the U.S. Pallino D’Oro will compete against the top eight finishers in Canada's 2008 Pallino D’ Oro on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Both tournaments will follow Punto Raffa Volo International Rules.

Players must be members of the U.S.Bocce Federation or Canadian Bocce Federation to compete. Both tournaments to follow round robin format.

Cost: $100.00 U.S. Currency U.S. Pallino D’Oro*
$100.00 Canadian Currency North American Pallino D’Oro*

* Per player per event.

Prizes: $750.00 1st place, $450.00 2nd place, $300.00 3rd place, $200.00 4th place. Both tournaments. Trophies for both events, all four places.

Food: Buffet lunch Saturday at 12:00 noon included.

Contact Michael B. Grasser, owner DaVinci Bocce LLC.
Ph# = 248-505-4744, e-mail = .


Blast from the past...

It's fun to look at back issues to see where we were and where we might be headed.

Volume #3, Issue #36 - October 4, 2004

{This data is from a couple years ago, but interesting nonetheless.}

My web site has navigational buttons for Court Top Dressing and Har-Tru Info where surfers can type in the length and width of their bocce court as well as the number of inches of Har-Tru (tennis court surface material) they desire. I can then get them a price quote based on this information including shipping. (Don't get many orders since the product ships from Virginia, and, unless you are in a state that is reasonably close, the shipping cost might be greater than the price of the material.)

I thought it might be interesting to look at the sizes of courts people are seeking quotes for - listed below are the court dimensions and the number of people seeking quotes for that court size.

91' by 13' - one
90' by 13' - three
90' by 12' - three
90' by 11' - one
86' by 12' - two
86' by 11' - one
80' by 10' - one
76' by 13' - one
76' by 12' - two
76' by 10' - two
75' by 12' - one
73' by 12' - one
72' by 10- - one
71' by 10' - one
70' by 12' - three
70' by 10' - two
67' by 13' - one
65' by 12' - one
60' by 12' - eleven
60' by 10' - five
60' by 9' - one
55' by 10' - one
54' by 10' - one
50' by 5' - one
45' by 9' - one
44' by 7'6" - one
40' by 8' - one
36' by 9' - one

Courts seem to get longer as we move west. There are a lot of 60 footers on the East Coast which I think came about because of the influence of the now extinct International Bocce Association (IBA). They gained a foothold in the East and got bocce ball manufacturers to include their rules and court dimensions (60' by 12') with each set of balls sold. Hence the "official" court was a short one.

We've always recommended that people put whatever size court fits in their backyard and their pocketbook. The bigger the court the more the expense and the greater the maintenance required.

Still, larger courts have many advantages. If you aspire to play at a high level and compete internationally, you need to practice on 80 - 90 footers. Also, on short courts (60' or so), it is relatively easy to hit (raffa) an opponent's good point away. Maybe the target is 20 feet from the end board and your hitting line is 10 feet up - that puts the target at only 30 feet away. On long courts the target might be twice as far away - "a lot of green" as pool players say.

Also, if you play against anyone who has good volo ability - s/he can be really tough on 60 foot courts. In this case Bigger is Better is my mantra - 75 feet or so by 10 to 12 feet wide seems a good middle ground for a backyard bocce court.

Click below to get a quote for Har-Tru top dressing on your bocce court...


Joy of Bocce 3rd Edition - Photos Needed

I’ve decided to do a third edition, re-doing almost all the photographs. I’ve got a great new digital camera and can re-take many of the shots. In addition, I’m asking readers to submit new pics – at least 300 dpi is the goal. I'm asking you and my friends like court builders David Brewer, Mike Grasser, and Tom McNutt to re-submit photos of their best courts. The new edition will probably not be much different in terms of text (although I may tighten it a bit – friends of mine say to me…”Leave it to you to write a book this thick on bocce”).

I'll need your help with this effort. Please submit high quality (300 dpi) pics (and permission to reprint) of bocce in your neck of the woods. This project will be my main focus for 2008 & 2009. Please help.

Getting your league to the next level...

Photos of the week
Eric and Susan Marttila sent this week's photos - great shots of their lovely backyard bocce court.

I visted them in Doylestown, Pennsylvania this past summer as I was "in the neighborhood" checking in on The New Jersey Invitational and the Mohawk House { }, which was putting in two bocce courts.

Eric sent a wonderful message that I don't mind sharing with you...

"Notwithstanding some torrential downpours at various times, we have certainly enjoyed a fantastic summer of bocce in Doylestown, Pennsylvania -- and have you to thank for much of it. We wouldn't have known an official bocce ball if we fell over one until you introduced us.

The delightful measuring device you generously gave me for my birthday is often employed with great relish amidst good-natured controversy . . . and your personalized scoreboard, red and green arrows greased with the oil of olives which are a staple of our gatherings, has been a godsend.

Attached are a few photographs of our court for your review. Although I never formally responded to your inquiry about the suggestion to charge for your ezine, be assured that I would be happy to pay for the privilege of receiving it.

If you are ever in the area, you are more than welcome to stop by and be our guests. The visit you paid remains a recurring topic of conversation. Whenever we players are faced with a particular bocce challenge, 'What would Mario do?' is frequently heard. It has even been suggested that we create t-shirts with that inscription.

We truly hope to see you again in the near future. Best wishes in all things. 'Stay close.'

View this week's photos

Bocce product of the week
Holiday gift ideas for the BOCCE LOVER in your life...

I've had some special items in my office for about 6 months now that I never put on the web site or in the ezine. Hey, I never said I was a good businessman.

Anyway, I've added them this week and listed them in order of price, so you can decide how much you want to spend and then maybe pick an item.

Two things I've never posted before are bocce ball bags with the Joy of Bocce embroidered logo and chamois (bocce towels) also with the embroidered logo.

Of course, I think an autographed copy of The Joy of Bocce would be a great gift. Make sure to think up a really cool inscription for me to include.

Click the link below to view the items...

Click for a holiday bocce shopping experience...

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}


Save $15 at with code KC-6983

Shop Today!

Shop Today!

Shop Today!

Tournament update
{chronological order}


Don't let the West Coast players hog all the space!


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.


Please consider designating someone as "official event photographer" and directing that person to send snapshots for us to reproduce as photos of the week. Our readers love seeing bocce action from around the continent.


December 5 - 7, 2008. Canada - Windsor, Ontario. Ciociaro Club. Da Vinci Bocce LLC Presents The 2008 United States and North American Pallino D’Oro Championships. Contact Michael Grasser at 248-505-4744 or .


December 6, 2008 – California - Stockton. Italian Athletic Club. OPEN, 4 players, including at least 2 women players. Contact Romano Lotti @ 209-951-8256.


March 12 - 15, 2009 - Florida - Cape Coral. World Series Bocce Invitational. $6000 first place guaranteed. New Veterans Park Bocce Courts. 3-player teams - round robin. Contact George Furlan @ 239-275-9968.


March 30 - April 5, 2009. Italy - Bavena. Women's Raffa World Championship. Details TBA.

June 20, 2009 - New Jersey - Franklin Twp. 3rd Annual Bocce Invitational at Colonial Park. Proceeds will support Operation Shoebox New Jersey and Boys & Girls Clubs of New Jersey.

Joy of bocce t-shirts, mugs, buttons, magnets, etc.

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