Lawn bowls is a sport that can be played easily by everyone no matter what their age or ability.
Greg Kennedy is the President of the Australian Blind Bowls Association and lives in Ocean Grove, Victoria and is a member of Barwon Heads Bowls Club. Greg lost his vision 17 years ago as a result of Diabetic Retinopathy.
Greg has always been interested in sport of all types and prior to losing his vision was an AFL Goal Umpire. He also played golf, cricket and football in his youth. Greg and his wife took up Lawn Bowls six years ago and he says that bowls is one of the only sports where people with a disability are able to compete against people without disabilities with minimal modifications. Blind and vision impaired bowlers are allowed to have a director with them, use a monocular to see the bowls at the other end of the rink and use markers to show the length of the jack they are bowling to or the edges of the rink. Otherwise their game is the same as for all other bowlers.
The Australian Blind Bowls Association organises an annual national competition for blind and vision impaired bowlers from across Australia. Like many community sporting associations, the national competition had to be cancelled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the association also had to cancel a planned Trans-Tasman competition with New Zealand Blind Bowlers and to delay a world competition which was originally due to take place in 2021.
Greg said that most states also have State based blind bowls associations which offer regular social bowls competitions and other events. People of any age are welcome to play bowls which Greg assures us is easy to learn but hard to master and is dangerously addictive.