Backyard Bocce
June 20, 2022 9:45 AM   Subscribe

From various searches, it seems that there's no standard size for a home bocce court, which isn't good for a SUPER casual player to be trying to lay one out. Big time Boccinos, if a court is shortened for space restrictions, should it be the same width as a standard court or does it get narrower to maintain a ratio (like a pool table)?

If I COULD have a 60' long court, should I? Have you ever played and thought "This court is too short?"

Is it important to the game to switch sides and throw towards the other end? Like, if I had the 60' court, one side would have a comfortable hang-out area and the other would be very tight. Would it be better to have a shorter court if that made both ends more comfortable?
posted by hwyengr to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
As far as I can tell there is not a standard or consistent set of bocce rules. Trying to learn the rules for a rec league bocce team last week led me to searching the web, and the 3 sets of rules I read all differed in various ways.

The league rules called for 50ft x 12', although initially specified xx by y paces. But there was a tree so we did like 40x12 and it was fine.

Use cones set for different size courts to see what works for you. If you are building a permanent court, I'd do a lot more research.
posted by TheAdamist at 12:37 PM on June 20, 2022

The bocce court in my sister's yard is probably around 25 feet x 4 feet across. If this is just for fun (and not for any kind of regulation play), you should probably just work within your size restraints and do whatever suits your idea of a good game.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 12:37 PM on June 20, 2022

Do you have a pressing need for an actual court?

When our gang goes camping, we use the entire campsite as a court. You can throw the pallino wherever you want, and you just follow it around. The ground is neither perfectly level nor smooth, but that just adds to the fun / challenge. (It's also fun to engage the youngsters as 'goalies' to prevent an errant shot from careening into the woods.) If you describe yourself as super casual then consider just wandering around your yard for your games. Adds in some variety and requires zero construction.

You can make a comfortable hangout area wherever you like. We have great fun trying to land the pallino near the picnic tables or the fire pit; wherever the non-players are congregating. The camper who got drunk last night and is still in their tent sleeping at noon? You're damn right we end up rolling in that direction. A lot.

That said, if you feel like you really want a court, I think it's fine to use whatever size you need. A regulation court is 90 x 13, but a quick search identifies sizes of 70x12, 48x8, and any range in between. So while it does seem like there is a basic "shorter = narrower" approach, there does not appear to be a standard. Maybe stake out some sample sizes in the spot you're planning to build it and play some sample games to see what makes sense and what short length starts to become less of a challenge.

Switching sides is purely a preference thing; the only drawback of not switching sides is you have to carry all the balls back to the 'throwing' end each round.
posted by SquidLips at 12:47 PM on June 20, 2022 [3 favorites]

I was actually trying to Google the dimensions of the bocce court in the public park near where I grew up but came upon this link. Among other things, it says, "While regulation Bocce courts are 91 feet by 13 feet, the dimensions of home courts can be whatever size fits into your backyard. Variations are acceptable provided foul lines for throwing, mid court lines for first throw of the pallina, and inbound markers are clearly established. "
posted by atomicstone at 5:00 PM on June 20, 2022

Response by poster: Yeah I saw that one too, but, like there’s got to be a dimension pair that just doesn’t work, right?

I’ve got a part of my yard that’s kinda underutilized and I want to turn it into a quasi-neighborhood park space, hence the court. But I’m also the type of person who builds something like this, then worries that it could have been better.
posted by hwyengr at 5:40 PM on June 20, 2022

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