The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VIII, Issue 34 - October 12, 2009 
•   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 8, Issue #34 - October 12, 2009
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2009
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Greetings Bocce Gang,

My friend Ralph Bagarella and I made the trip to Burlington, Vermont on Saturday, October 10 to meet members of the Burlington Bocce Club and participate in their Vermont State Championship. I've added a couple photos to the Burlington Bocce Club web page of Bocce Venues that you can view here:

We had to hustle right back after the event as the Martignetti Family Charity Bocce Tourney was scheduled for the following day. And somewhere in there we had to get the weekly newsletter out. They tell me that keeping busy helps your mind stay sharp as you age. I'm all over it!

Note: Please add to your whitelist or address book in your e-mail program, so that you have no trouble receiving future issues!

Also, click "Confirm" at the end of this ezine to further ensure consistent delivery.

Did a friend send you this? Sign up to get your own here - - it's entertaining, useful, and complimentary.

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

Griffin Country Club (Georgia)...

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


We helped run another successful charity bocce tourney with the Martignetti family, raising $37,400 for the First Lieutenant Michael J. Cleary Memorial Fund. Lieutenant Cleary's parents were in attendance and they shared with the players how the funds are put to good use helping families who have lost sons and daughters serving our country. It was a very moving experience and one that made me and my bocce posse proud to have helped with this event.

Hats off to the Martignetti family for their tireless work helping to raise funds for worthy causes. Photos to follow next week, he said hopefully...


I played bocce with the Burlington Bocce Club (Vermont) this weekend and had a great time. The pattern is always the same when I travel the bocce circuit. First off, I keep my unblemished record for getting beat by the locals. Then, I always meet some really great people and learn about how bocce is going in their neck of the woods.

My friend Ralph Bagarella made the three-hour car trip with me and was my partner in the doubles tourney held at Burlington's Oakledge Park.

The park is right on Lake Champlain and has a beach area, tennis courts, bike paths and other recreational amenities in addition to three 80' by 11' Har-Tru surfaced bocce courts. I've added some photos to last week's pictures of the venue. Visit to view them.

Back to my unblemished record for getting beat by the reason for that is because I'm just not that good.

Another reason is that I don't think there is another sport where home court advantage is bigger than it is in bocce. When you travel to a new bocce venue you always expect to have to adjust to an unfamiliar playing surface. Courts have "personality", quirks, sometimes playing differently in one direction than the other.

We make regular trips to play the locals in the North End of Boston. During our first visits a couple years back, we got "spanked" pretty regularly. Hey, those guys play there daily and know every nook and cranny of the courts like they were their personal Thomas' English muffins. Nowadays we hold our own when we play there because we've become acquainted with some of those nooks and crannies ourselves.

In Burlington this past weekend, Ralph and I didn't play well. We faced a kind of double whammy. First, we had to adjust to the unfamiliar courts. But besides that, the locals play with large and heavy bocce. We always play with the international standard 107 mm and 920 g balls. Those used in Burlington are what Dr. Cordano calls "cannon balls". I like to hit quite often (probably more than I should), so I refer to them as "hernia-inducing" balls.

The tourney organizers said that we could use our own bocce, but we have a kind of unwritten rule that we play the way the locals play when we're guests.

Via email, the Burlington organizers say...

"In our play each player can use whatever size and weight balls they prefer. So in doubles there could be four different sizes and weights.

In baseball players use different weights for bats, within a certain range, and the same is true in bowling, pole vaulting, and a number of other sports. I see the need for a prescribed range, but not a one size and weight for all."

My answer...

"Yikes! Four different size balls! I don't think the comparison to baseball bats or pole vaulting is valid. What if each pitcher used his own size and weight ball? A range might make sense, but I'm not sure that different size balls should be used in the same game - if two players going head to head agreed to use 115 mm and 1100 g bocce that seems OK to me. But if one used one size and the other used another size I'm not so sure.

If I want to hit your point away and my ball is 10% bigger in size, I'll have a slight advantage in hitting the target (I might just "wing it" when a smaller ball might have missed it). In officiating we always want to ensure that both teams have an equal chance to win.

Anyway, I am very interested in the way different areas play the game and yet the game still thrives."

Later, I was reminded of something that happened to me years ago. I was teaching at Methuen High School and watched a varsity basketball game there one evening. After the game, when most of the fans had left and the custodians were cleaning the field house, I began to shoot some hoops with one of the players. I had a great coach in my formative years, had some natural talent, and became a very good shooter.

I won every foul shooting contest I've ever entered, once hitting 142 consecutive free throws, and a couple years ago in a shoot-out at the Massachusetts Senior Games, I made an unbelievable 15 straight three-pointers (I've never done that before or since). Now, closing in on age 62 and after nine knee surgeries, I can still shoot the rock, but I can't do much else on the basketball court.

Anyway, I was shooting around in the field house with this high schooler and was making everything I tossed up. I was used to making a high percentage of my shots, but this was ridiculous, with shot after shot swishing through the nets.

After 5 or 6 minutes of this, with the stragglers in the gym gathering near to ask if I was related to Larry Bird, I realized what was happening. I was shooting with a girls' basketball. That ball is smaller in circumference (an inch I think, and a couple ounces lighter), making for a greater margin for error. The rim is the same size but the ball that has to go through it to score is smaller.

OK, there may be valid reasons why the girls' basketball is smaller and lighter, but what would hoops be like if there was a range of sizes and weights to choose from?

It just seems to me that with all the different surfaces we play bocce on, all the different sized courts, all the varying rules, maybe the least we could do is all play with the same equipment. What do YOU think? Please REPLY.

Coincidentally, I got this email recently...

A common question...

"We've noticed that the commonly used 107mm bocce balls weigh differently from different suppliers.

Is their a standard weight for the 107mm set?

{My answer was...

Yes, if you want to meet international standards. The 107's are supposed to be 920g to meet the international specs. I think you might have to get Italian made balls like Martel or Perfetta to be sure you get these specs.

One of the bocce promoters I know made a deal with Eddie Bauer for sets of recreation balls. They are 107 mm packaged in a nice carry bag and very reasonably priced. But, they are about 1/2 lb heavier than the 920 g that is hopefully becoming the standard in America like it is elsewhere. I weighed several balls on a reasonably accurate scale. Perfetta, Cast, and Martel all came in at 2 1/4 lb. (sorry, can't do grams).

The EPCO weighed slightly over 2 1/4 lb. and the recreation ball from Eddie Bauer was over 2 3/4 lb.

The promoter wanted me to resell some of these Eddie Bauer sets, arguing that for recreational players, the weight doesn't matter. They just want an inexpensive set to play with in the back yard. He is probably right, but I'm not sure it's such a good idea to promote balls of a different size and weight from what many of us hope will become the American standard. What do you think? Please REPLY. }


New subscriber David Leighton-Kitchener, Director Texas Riviera Bocce Club of Corpus Christi, Texas sends a compliment...

"Delightful!!! So glad to get this little Publication ... and may it continue to grow, always. We're small too, but will be growing right along with you!"


Dr. Cordano writes...

"About the question about Har-Tru, this is sold by companies that build and maintain Tennis Courts. Welch Tennis Co. is well known.

Well maintained oyster shells court surfaces allow magnificent fast play, but require good maintenance and must be very well packed with heavy rollers, or even better with mechanical ones.

I played volo with brass balls (over 10 years ago) on beautiful oyster courts in Oakland, CA (don’t remember the name of the club, but players from beautiful San Mateo Bocce Club are the ones that took me to play there).

I don’t know if an indoor – outdoor knit carpet (about $10/sq yard) that allows same speed from both ends may resist winters up north, but here in Florida it works very well. The secret is just to prepare a well leveled and very well packed hard surface of good land fill or clay or a mixture of it and just lay over the rug.

The maintenance is minimal and just watch for possible grass, etc. growing along the boards. Every few months lift the rug and even the surface using a proper rake if necessary.

Make holes (every 3-4 feet) close to the surface on the boards for adequate drainage.

Note: In Uruguay most courts were made from oyster shells and were even faster than the synthetic surfaces of Palazzo, Highwood and the rest of the US. However, for your info the actual synthetic courts in South America
are unbelievably fast and speed is very difficult to control even by experienced players.

When I go every year to play at my ex-club in Lima, Peru, it takes me 3-4 days (of 3-4 hours practice) before I can be consistent, because the balls roll forever."


Oregon's Lou Ures appears to have drunk from the fountain of all bocce knowledge...

"It's interesting reading the questions and comments your bocce faithful pose on court surfaces. Let me share some of my experience in that department.

When I first began the planning of my backyard court I wanted it to be patterned after the courts in Martinez, California, where my bocce playing began. That consisted of an 80x12 court with a 5" decomposed granite base and a crushed oyster shell topping. Since I now live on the Oregon Coast it was critically important that because of above average normal rainfall I incorporate a good drainage system.

Without going into a lot of detail, that was accomplished successfully. Going into a little more detail let me explain the addition of the decomposed granite base. The court perimeter is 2x12 pressure treated sideboards enclosing the 15 yards of decomposed granite base. That leaves 8" of sidewall surface. At 35 dollars a yard the base ran around 500 dollars.

In my case let me stress and explain the importance of the decomposed granite. That material has a high drainage factor and I do not allow it to compact. That is, I rake the surface at least once a month to keep at least an inch or so of the surface pliable. Working in about 200 pounds of crushed oyster shell I have my playing surface when properly groomed. Now this again is very important. I have a 3'x3' carpeted drag with which I drag the surface before each session of play. I then lightly spray the surface and roll it with a 500 pound roller. Because of the mixture of decomposed granite and crushed oyster shell the rolling creates a thin crust that produces a fast playing surface. This grooming allows two to three hours of play.

But let me make very clear, these materials are what I was able to work with in this area and there are any number of methods our bocce faithful can successfully come up with."


Mrs. Danielle Colvert sends this...

"I am the principal of a small, Catholic elementary school in Leominster, historically Italian. I am interested in organizing a bocce tournament to benefit our school. Some of my local contacts, gentlemen who have played for 40+ years, look at me like I'm crazy. I know that you have been involved in successful ventures of this sort, and my family members who live in the San Francisco Bay Area have participated in similar events on the west coast.

Do you have some advice on how to set up a bocce tournament and convert these older gentlemen to the possibility it can work?"

{But of course, this is right up my alley...pun intended. Since you are nearby (Leominster, Massachusetts), we can help you run such an event. Others might view these pictures and perhaps follow the model... }


Mike Grasser sends more on the Pallino D'Oro...

The 2009 United States & North American Pallino D’Oro Championships Presented by Da Vinci Bocce L.L.C.

Location: Palazzo Di Bocce, Lake Orion, Michigan, U.S.A.

Dates: United States Pallino D’Oro
Friday, Nov. 20, 2009 – 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Saturday, Nov. 22, 2009 – 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

North American Pallino D’Oro
Saturday, Nov. 21, 2009 - 1:00-5:00 PM
Sunday, Nov. 22, 2009 – 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

Entry Fees: United States Pallino D’Oro - $100,

North American Pallino D’Oro - $75

Prizes: United States Pallino D’Oro – 1st $1,250, 2nd $750, 3rd $500, 4th $250

North American Pallino D’Oro 1st $1,000, 2nd $600, 3rd &400, 4th $200

Rules: Singles Play, Punto, Raffa, Volo. International Rules.

Format: United States Pallino D’Oro will be round robin play. North American Pallino D’Oro will be single elimination group play. Top 16 U.S. and top 16 Canadian players from U.S. Pallino D’Oro will qualify for play in N.A. Pallino D’Oro.

Points: All games to 12 points. Final game in both tournaments will be 15 points.

Hotel: The Crowne Plaza, 1500 North Opdyke Rd., Auburn Hills. MI. Call 248-373-4500 and ask for Anne Marie.

Contact: Michael B. Grasser, Owner Da Vinci Bocce LLC
248-505-4744 or


Joy of Bocce - Third Edition Update - Plan B

Plan A was to finish things up by the end of September and try to get the new edition in print for the holidays. This can actually be done with today's print-on-demand technology. Unfortunately, I'm only about half way through the editing and am still waiting for photographs from people who promised to send them. So, I figured...what's the rush? Let's take our time, do it right, and have a gala launch in the spring.

This also gives me time to seek out a publisher.


Lio Giannotti is running a charity event...

"I am heading up a Charity Bocce Tournament at the end of October. It is for a foundation call Italidea. Italidea is a not-for profit organization created in 1995 with the purpose of promoting and expanding the knowledge of Italian language and culture throughout. Working in close relationship with the Istituto Italiano di Cultura and with the Education Office of the Consulate General of Italy, Italidea organizes a variety of private courses and promotes several public and private school programs for the teaching of the Italian language, providing financial support for teachers' salaries as well as instructional materials."

{View the pdf file brochure here: }


Paul E Cunningham - President, Bocce-at-Sea Club - sends this...

"Perhaps you could tell the players in your tournament about the event that my club is promoting. This will be a lot of fun for those who can take advantage of it."



We should all be card carrying members. Every club should be affiliated. For the sport to gain the attention it needs we need to boast of many thousands of members. Download a USBF Membership Application here: . }

Las Vegas City Bocce League...

Photos of the week
This week's photos come courtesy of Gene and Bev Dictor who devised this unique combination of bocce and ten-pin bowling. Bocce purists, don't get nervous. The Kissimmee, Florida group loves traditional bocce and plays this Bowling Pin variation just one Saturday per month. {And they're enjoying it.}

Says Gene...

"Hi Mario - this is Gene Dictor, the creator of Bowling Pin Bocce, a fun and exciting game for people of all ages and even serious Bocce players. Attached are some Bowling Pin Bocce pictures. They say that one picture is worth a thousand words but you won’t be able to hear the excitement this game causes when you play it."

View this week's photos

Bocce product of the week
Bocce Court Maintenance Tools

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.

7' Drag Brush

Manufactured by Lee Tennis (makers of the Har-Tru surface material), 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 keeping players waiting very long.

Bristles are 4 ˝ inches of synthetic fibers and the strong but light-weight frame is aluminum. Retails for $169.95 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 $63.95 plus shipping.

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

Click to go to merchandise order...then scroll down to bottom of page.

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}

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.


October 17, 2009 - California - Sacramento - East Portal. RAFFA - 3 PLAYERS. Contact Vern Cooper @ 916-961-2404.


October 23 & 24, 2009. Illinois - Franklin Park (9230 Belmont Ave.). 4-person teams. Contact Lio Giannotti @ . View pdf file here:


October 23-25, 2009. Arizona - Surprise - Kokopelli Winery & Bistros Grape Crush Festival featuring a Bocce Tournament, Wine stomping competition, wine, beer, & food demonstrations, music, local vendors, kids play area, & art show by Arizona Art Alliance. $20 per 2-person team (part of fee goes to the Chamber of Commerce). Contact Melissa at 623-556-4810 or .


October 24, 2009 - California - Stockton I.A.C. RAFFA - 3 players. Western Sector Championship. Contact Romano Lotti @ 209-951-8256.


November 12-14, 2009. Nevada - Reno. Peppermill Casino. OPEN - 4 players. Contact Dana Shores @ 800-648-6992.


November 14 - 15, 2009. Nevada - Las Vegas International Open. 4-player teams - double elimination. Contact Pasquale D'Aliesio @ 602-569-9149 or . More info:


November 20 - 22, 2009. Michigan - Palazzo di Bocce. USA Pallino D' Oro and the North American Pallino D'Oro. Contact Mike Grasser at 246-505-4744.

November 21, 2009 - California - South City I.A.C.C. – RAFFA-2 WOMEN PLAYERS. Contact Alvaro Bettucchi @


December 5, 2009 - California - Stockton. I. A. C. OPEN – 4 PLAYERS. At least two women players. Contact Romano Lotti @ 209-951-8256.

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