MARIKA SBOROS: Zoo Lake club reimagines bowls to bring health benefits to a cross-section of Joburgers
Zoo Lake Bowls Club is now attracting players of all ages and races
Lawn bowls used to be a dying sport in SA until Divian Cooper flexed his muscles in Johannesburg. He knows that when most people think of lawn bowls, the image that usually springs to mind is elderly people dressed in white, wearing pedestrian hats and special shoes, moving slowly across carefully manicured greens. Cooper manages the iconic Zoo Lake Bowls Club. The three greens are carefully manicured, of course. But he is breathing new life into the sport and opened up the club to people of all ages and races. He is rehabilitating the reputation of lawn bowls to boost its health benefits. Gone is the predominantly Anglo-Saxon profile of lawn bowls in Britain. That’s where it all started and spread to English-speaking Commonwealth countries. Chief among those are Australia and New Zealand. Canada didn’t take to the sport, but it is popular in the US. And when it comes to the ratio of people to lawn bowls greens, Cooper says that SA may lead the world.