Bocce is a ball game that dates back to the age of the Roman Empire; it used to be a sport played on dirt. It required special skills to win the game on dirt, because throwing the ball to the target on dirt was not an easy thing to do.
The complexity of being able to roll the ball through the dirt to the set target turned many off from the game. The idea of dirt-free bocce courts made the sport interesting to all clans who wished to play the game, because they did not have the need to deal with the hefty task of playing in the dirt. The sport has survived to date due to leveled bocce courts. Eventually, it has continued to be one of the most liked backyard sport and people of all ages play this game. This game is played as a tourney, league or commonly as a social leisure. There are famed Bocce Champions as well.
The bocce ball game when played in specially designed bocce courts provide players with great recreational experience.
Materials Making the Court
The standard recommendations for building a bocce court consisted of lumbar, drainage and gravel. The bocce court has the backstops and sideboards made out of weather-resistant lumbar. The play area in the court is compacted with crushed stone dust, natural gravel or clay. A tiny fortune invested in an excellent drainage system enhances the playability and longevity of the leveled surface.
The materials used to build the bocce court can differ from one to another based on personal choice and convenience. However, there are recommendations about the choice of materials and commonly applied dimensions for the court.
The dimensions of the bocce court can follow the width range anywhere from 8 through 14 feet and the length can be somewhere from 60 to 90 feet. The recommended size for private backyard court has dimensions reading 10 x 60 feet. However, municipal courts or those meant for community bocce events, tourneys and leagues are set at larger dimensions at 12 x 76 feet up to 13 x 90 feet.
The game is all about rolling the ball. It is important for the court to be flat and straight to ensure complete roll of the ball with minimal or zero bounce. The goal is to create a court with zero bumpy surfaces. Coarse material renders the surface too loose eventually hindering free rolling of ball. Based on personal budget and project affordability, one might have to do the best to invest in materials that form a smooth firm surface.
Post-play dent restoration becomes difficult on surfaces formed with large particles. Downpour during heavy rain leads to stagnant water and drainage therefore becomes difficult. Therefore, the best recommended surface material is one that consists of small particles. Eventually, minimal upkeep restores playability.
Crushed Oyster Blends versus Traditional Options
Crushed oyster shells blend well with few other natural materials enhancing the quality of binding, therefore, providing excellent drainage. The traditionally recommended material is stone dust, but increasing number of luxury bocce courts, use oyster shells blend with clay to bring in premium leveling.
When it comes to using stone dust for the surface, the dust is supposed to be fines. Coarser particle size of the gravel will make the field bumpy. Clay is an alternative in regions where appropriate particle size of sand dust becomes unavailable.
In regions where heavy rain is common, the downpour can lead to standing water. Therefore, excellent drainage system becomes essential to restore playability of the court at the earliest.
Procure Appropriate Perimeter and Surface Materials
Procure pressure-treated (or) ground-contact perimeter rails of appropriate size or pressure-treated (or) ground-contact perimeter posts of appropriate sizes for the external perimeter as needed.
Buy contact points for the end walls in the perimeter rails with appropriate Trex decking lengths. Procure pressure treated or standard perimeter caps, fasteners, lag screws, washers, and square head decking screws to strengthen the structure. For setting the drainage in small courts, sleeve drain tubing that provides minimum of 60′ of 3″ perforation / corrugation is used. The corrugation size should be more for bigger courts.
Purchase limestone or class 2-road base as needed to fill the depth of the court base. The surface material for the field can be appropriate sized sand dust/gravel, clay, or oyster shell blend as per personal choice. The appropriate perimeter chosen for the court can vary considering the private or community usage targeted for the court. The quality of the soil should be favorable to digging and installing of postholes.
The Installation of The Bocce Court
The perimeter, the length and width of the field, are marked using the post or plank styles. In the plank perimeter style, it is a common approach to double up with the 2″ planks or by using 3″ or 4″ thickness straight lumbar. In the perimeter marking process using poles, posts are commonly dug in per 5′ or 4′. In both the post and plank finishes, capping improves aesthetics.
Cement surrounds are increasingly becoming common in environments that face extremes of climate. In such conditions, concrete perimeters work best. Wood or composite liner finishes in the inner regions of the concrete boundaries saves the balls from suffering constant abrasions. Setting the bumper in concrete with appropriate liners are a permanent solution to avoid abrasions.
Dig out the top soil to nearly 10″ in the perimeter and fill the area with limestone or class 2-road base. Drilling, driving nails, and appropriate centering ensures rebar support thus strengthening the structure. Good quality finishing at the fasteners is important, because if the fastener fails particles get in between the railing and repair gets to be expensive.
Back walls are set up for rebounding. Rubber fenders or sheet steel is the commonly used finish for the end walls in bocce courts. Trex decking is an alternative for better finishes as well.
Care should be devoted to creating a leveled court with the appropriate surface blends and tamping. Appropriate buffer placed in the court absorbs shocks created by overshot balls. Court markings and foul lines as needed are marked on the sideboard. Community-bocce-courts require facilities that permit the usage of wheelchairs by disabled people. The final stage of Installation involves setting up of ball racks and scoreboards. Glare-free lighting in place ensures playability after sunset.