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Be the bowl

  • By Steven Benna
  • | 11:09 a.m. January 8, 2016
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
  • Strategies
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Executive: Alin Lozada, president and founder of Sarasota Wealth Advisory, a wealth management firm. He's also president and founder of Business Benefits Planning Group.

Diversion: Lawn bowling. It's similar to bocce ball: the bowler tries to get his bowls as close as possible to the jack, which is the small white ball thrown first. The difference is that in lawn bowling, the greens curve and the bowls are weighted to break a certain way. Lozada has been lawn bowling since February.

Network of bowlers: Prior to picking up the sport, Lozada, a Sarasota resident, drove past the Sarasota Lawn Bowling Club on U.S. 41, north of downtown, every day. He always told himself he would check it out. He finally did for a networking event and was immediately hooked, he says. One of the top benefits, according to Lozada, is “meeting a lot of people and making friends.”

Group effort: A lawn bowling match can be between two teams consisting of one through four bowlers per team. Bowlers are split into three positions: There's the lead, whose job is to get the bowls around the jack or to block it. There's the vice, who takes advantage of the lead's bowl positioning. Finally there's the skip, whose job is to roll around the bowls already in the lane. The skip is traditionally the best bowler, Lozada says. Lozada is usually a lead because he's relatively new to the sport, but he enjoys being the skip because it's strategic.

Chess match: Lozada likens the strategic elements of lawn bowling to a game of chess, but with teammates. “The key is communication,” he says. Telling teammates where to place their bowls and following directions are crucial attributes of a successful player. Additionally, “power does not matter. It's all finesse and touch,” Lozada says.

Hot attraction: Lozada estimates that about 90% of Sarasota doesn't even know the lawn bowling club exists, despite it being the oldest running sports club in the city. But with some increased awareness, he's confident people would want to join. “If they just knew about it, they would be here all the time,” Lozada says. “People love it.”

Eased mind: Lawn bowling is a great break from the business environment, and it's “totally different,” Lozada says. “Business is black and white. There's more grey area here. It's totally social and relaxing.” Lawn bowling can be a great release from business, he says, because it's a friendly place that also keeps players mentally sharp. There is, however, a natural competitive nature to the sport. Lozada, who used to play tennis, says lawn bowling has taken him “to a point where I barely even play tennis anymore.”

Fifty-fifty split: Since he picked up the sport in early 2015, Lozada spends about as much time at the lawn bowling club, where he's vice president, as he does at work. He's at the club for about 25 hours in an average week, and plays five or six times per week.

U.S. Open: With all the hours practicing and studying the game, Lozada has big goals in mind. One that stands out: He wants to play, and advance, in the lawn bowling U.S. Open in 2016 and 2017, an event coming to the Sarasota Lawn Bowling Club.

Anyone can qualify in the open tournament, and the club expects between 300 and 400 contestants, Lozada says.

Follow Steven Benna on Twitter @steve_benna


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