The Comox Valley is home to several national sports champions, but few know of Vern Greenhill, who won the Canadian National Lawn Bowling Championship in 2009 and continues to bowl at the local club in Courtenay.
“I love lawn bowling,” Greenhill said. “It is a lifelong sport, it is inexpensive, it is very social in nature, and we have a great green right here in the Comox Valley.”
Greenhill is proud of his national achievement and remembers clearly the tournaments leading up to taking the Canadian championship, and then representing Canada at the world championships in Australia.
“The provincials were held in Victoria in 2009, and that is where it started for me. I played six games against 28 competitors and was undefeated,” recalls Greenhill. “From then on it was a year of bowling against people from all over B.C. and Canada. I was very nervous in the final game for the Canadian gold but I won 21 to 17. What a fantastic day for me.”
Greenhill went on to worlds in Norfolk, Australia in 2010, with 24 nations playing.
“I did not take the world gold but participating in it was an experience I will cherish forever,” he said. “Meeting lawn bowlers from all over the world and playing in such a unique location was wonderful.”
Greenhill started lawn bowling when he was in his 30s and regrets not starting sooner.
“I tell people to just get out and try the game. It is not hard, and if you are keen and practise you get very good.”
On Saturday, April 21, the Courtenay Lawn Bowling club hosts an open house between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. so the public can try the sport for free. Refreshments will be available with a free hot dog barbecue happening between noon and 1 p.m.
Coaches will be on hand to help those who want to give it a go. The club will provide the bowls (lawn bowling balls) and members will help explain how the game works. The club is located in Bill Moore Park on Kilpatrick Avenue in Courtenay.