Revamped Bell, Lakeview and R.H. Johnson among primary U.S. Lawn Bowling Open sites

lawn bowling
The greens at the R.H. Johnson Recreation Center, 19803 R.H. Johnson Blvd. [Courtesy RCSCW]

Richard Smith
Independent Newsmedia

The Sun Cities’ selection as the site of the 2018 Bowls USA US Open, now scheduled for Friday-Sunday, Nov. 2-11, proved the catalyst in renovations at the Sun City Bell and Lakeview recreation centers lawns.

Lawn bowlers introduced the subject during a March 2017 Recreation Centers of Sun City meeting, though their concerns focused on Bell, 16820 N. 99th Ave., Sun City.

Both sites have two greens available and will host daily play during the international competition, said Len Hitchcock, past president of the Lawn Bowling Clubs of Sun City. The open will include some play at Fairway, 10600 W. Peoria Ave., and Oakmont, 10725 W. Oakmont Drive, recreation centers, both in Sun City.

“(The Sun City greens) will be at a super level and fast,” Mr. Hitchcock said.

Mr. Hitchcock said the host South Central Division expects more than 300 players for the open.

Paradise RV Resort in Peoria, Sun City Grand in Surprise and Sun City West also will host play. Mr. Hitchcock said R.H. Johnson Recreation Center, 19803 R.H. Johnson Blvd., green in Sun City West will join the revamped Bell and Lakeview, 10626 W. Thunderbird Blvd., Sun City as the main sites of US Open lawn bowling play.

The R.H. Johnson lawn in Sun City West features four greens that were laser leveled in April in preparation for the tournament. Work began in May 2017 at R.H. Johnson rec center.

“We had greens done a year ago. Our greens are the best greens in the nation,” Sun City West resident Bill Wilkinson, tournament director, said.

Brian Duthu, RCSC golf and grounds director, reported in June that work continues on the Lakeview greens to remove irregularities in the surface. June 28-29 saw a laser level of the latest top dressing.

Mr. Duthu also reported that the newly grassed Bell greens are filling in as expected and will be top-dressed and leveled throughout the summer.

All greens should be available for play sometime in August.

Since spring of 2017, RCSC staff, under the direction of Mr. Duthu and Superintendent Dennis Delaney, have worked with several local contractors to get the greens up to international standard. Wood Bay Turf Technologies and Turf Equipment Source are the contractors.

In May the Bell greens reached the grow-in stage. Both greens were fertilized several times to encourage root growth and begun to receive organic material to encourage lateral growth of the plant.

Once established, mowing will commence followed by a laser topdressing. All other lawn bowl greens have seen summer agronomic practices, including verticutting and aeration, according to Mr. Duthu.

Most of these bowling clubs hosted the 2017 national championships and are prepared for a larger undertaking this fall.

Six different events include singles, pairs and rinks for ladies and gentlemen. Already, the number of men’s pairs entries exceeded the 64-team limit and caused organizers to add pairs competition Sunday, Nov. 11, according to Mr. Wilkinson.

Entries for all events other than men’s singles officially close Saturday, Sept. 29, he added.


Richard Smith can be reached at 623-876-3692 or

lawn bowling
Lawn bowlers warm up prior to a 2017 tournament at the Bell Recreation Center greens, 16820 N. 99th Ave., Sun City. Since then, the greens have been upgraded. [File photo]

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