Updated: May 29, 2015
Bocce Ball Set Reviews:It's really not fair that bocce ball isn't televised around the world, with millions of fans breathlessly awaiting the next move. What we really need is someone to popularize it for the masses, a Tiger Woods of bocce. While it may not be the next soccer of the world, it does have its devoted following, particularly in Europe and South America. It is also prevalent in areas with large Italian populations - Italy was home to the very first bocce clubs. Bocce is a sort of lawn bowling game that tends to produce enthusiastic and ardent players, whether they are playing in tournaments or in the backyard with family and friends. Whether you are an old pro at bocce or you have just discovered this great game, you will need excellent equipment to make sure you're getting the full bocce ball experience. Good bocce ball sets will last for years and increase your enjoyment of bocce, bocci, boule lyonnaise, petanque, lawn bowling, or whatever you call it. This is your guide to the best bocce ball sets.
Bocce Ball - Bocce ball has been quite popular for centuries, and it is said that the ancient Egyptians were the first to develop the game, using polished stones as boccia. It is loved fanatically by people all over the world; in fact, including its variations, it is the third most-played sport in the world, and many are pushing for its inclusion in the Olympics. Recently, bocce has popped up in an unexpected, and yet immensely popular, way. It is being played at wineries all over California's wine country. Many of the top vineyards have a bocce ball court so guests can enjoy a glass of fine wine and a fine game. How do you bring bocce from the wine country to your home? With a great bocce ball set. Choosing the Right Bocce Ball Set - Thanks to the popularity of bocce ball, you will have an easy time finding sets. And because the game involves simple equipment, you will find these sets to be relatively inexpensive. Beginners and casual players should buy a set that includes all the equipment necessary to start playing immediately, while those with more expertise may want to pursue more specialized tools. We'll start with great beginner sets.
*One marker ball. The marker ball is tossed from one end of the court, and the game is played by trying to toss the bocce balls as close to the target as possible. The marker ball is also known as the jack or pallino and measures from 1-inch to 1 3/8-inches in diameter. The jack can be any color, as long as it is visibly different from the bocce balls. Yellow or white jacks are most common.
*Four bocce balls. You are trying to get as close to the jack with these as possible. They are made of plastic or wood, which are great for younger players, steel, or brass. Your set may come with either four balls, which is enough for one player, or eight, which is enough for two. They will be colored differently to distinguish one player from the other. If you have more players, you will need four balls for each.
*Measuring tool. With this, you will measure the distance between your bocce ball and the marker. It can be hard to eye this accurately - especially if you are playing with ultra-competitive, cut-throat bocce ball players. This is not an absolute necessity. If your set doesn't come with one, you can use a ruler or measuring tape. It is nice to have an official and convenient measuring tool, though, so if you can get a set with it, do.
Sounds easy enough. You will also want to pay attention to the weight of the bocce balls. This is pretty easy as well: if you're a beginner, choose a set that is labeled "beginner." You can get intermediate sets or professional sets, and there are sets with smaller balls that are ideal for children. The choice of bocce ball sets will really depend on three things: your skill level, the amount you are going to use the set, and your budget. The top brands include Park & Sun, Halex, Pro Set, Trademark Global, Spalding, Franklin, and St. Pierre. Park & Sun make the most popular sets that retail for about $50. You can find them at places like Sports Authority, Target, Walmart or even online at Amazon. You can browse the best selling bocce ball sets online here. The Halex and Park & Sun sets are the most popular and receive the best reviews from owners. Look for bocce ball sets made in Italy, but even the ones coming from the US are pretty good these days.
Best Bocce Ball Set for Beginners:Beginner sets typically have lighter balls, so they are good for families with children, as well as those who want to play a casual game now and then. A great set to try is the Halex Select Series Bocce Set. Halex is a respected name in the home game industry, making a selection of quality bocce sets, dart boards, croquet sets, and more. Their Select Series Bocce Set has 4 red and 4 green bocce balls. They are 100mm and made of composite, so they are lightweight and compact enough for smaller players while still having a satisfying heft. The jack is 40mm in diameter and colored a bright, easy-to-spot yellow. This set is designed for use on virtually any surface - so you don't need a court of crushed oyster shells. There are instructions and the option for 2 different scoring patterns. A happy owner and Amazon reviewer said that she bought this set for her family to play on Thanksgiving. They had a great time; she would definitely recommend the set for those who want to have "fun and frolic," rather than those who want serious competitive play. This wonderful beginner set is $30 on Amazon, a great price for hours and hours of family fun. Beginners may also like Halex's 90mm beginner set or the fun 100mm water-filled bocce set. Both are a little less expensive, and both are ideal for children. Again, they are not intended for serious, competitive play, but they are intended for serious fun. See all the Halex bocce ball sets here.
The Next Step Up: Bocce Ball Sets for the Advanced Player - If you have gone a little beyond the backyard-with-the-family level, you may want a set that can keep up with your progress. Try the Franklin Sports Advanced 113MM Bocce Set. Like Halex, Franklin is a respected name in the sports equipment industry, and you will find quality in the Advanced 113mm Bocce Set. The set comes with 8 - 113mm solid molded bocce balls in red, blue, yellow, and green. A 40mm white jack is included, as is a great hard-sided messenger-style carrying bag. This is a great set for the post-beginner. You can find it for just over $45. Another great intermediate set to try is the Premium Vivace 113mm Bocce Set. This set verges on the professional, and experts wouldn't mind playing with this great bocce set. The 113mm bocce balls are made of high quality resin, so you will have extreme durability. The set includes 8 bocce balls with glossy translucent finishes, the jack, instructions and rules, and a carrying bag. It costs about $86, but will last for a lifetime of use. The Vivace set was a top choice of BocceBallSets.net..