Greenskeeper at Park Lawn Bowling Club for the past 11 years
By Pat Payton
It’s 49 years and counting for Larry McLellan.
The St. Marys native has been involved in all aspects of the sport of lawn bowling for almost half a century. He’s the face of lawn bowling in this town.
McLellan is the current president (third term) of the Parks Lawn Bowling Club, its greenskeeper, tournament chairman and sponsor chairman. He took over as greenskeeper 11 years ago when he retired. Previous to that, he was chairman of the greens for the club for several years. “I’ve been involved with the greens for quite a few years,” he noted.
McLellan recently received a prestigious award at the Ontario Lawn Bowls Hall of Fame awards dinner in Woodstock. He accepted the Ontario Lawn Bowls Association Greenskeeper of the Year Award for 2018.
“There’s 118 clubs in Ontario, and I was fortunate enough to win it,” McLellan said in a recent interview with the Independent. The winner is picked by the 11 members of the Ontario Lawn Bowls Association board.
“I’ve been preaching for years that our club has been among the top three or four in Ontario (when it comes to the condition and upkeep of the greens). When they phoned me in March, I had to ask twice,” he said with a laugh.
The provincial greenskeeper award has only been presented for the past few years.
What is the secret to having good greens for lawn bowling, McLellan was asked.
“You just have to stay on top of things,” he replied. “I’ve had good teachers down the road, and I’ve learned from them and just carried it over. If I have a problem, I ask or just go on the computer.”
For the past three years, McLellan has also been an evaluator for southwestern Ontario–covering an area from Windsor to Owen Sound. He’s one of four evaluators in the province. “Other greenskeepers ask me for advice,” he says. “I’m a consultant. They bring me in to look over a green and ask how I can improve it and bring it up to standard.”
Successful bowler as well
McLellan has also had a lot of success as a lawn bowler over almost five decades.
“I’ve won eight Ontario championships, in fours, pairs, trebles (triples) and mixed pairs last year,” he said. “Every time I’ve won in Ontario, I’ve went on to the nationals.” At nationals, he’s won bronze twice in pairs competitions.
Larry McLellan said he likes the competitive aspect of lawn bowling and the “great people” he’s met in the sport.
“Everybody has the sport that they like the best,” he said. “And I fell in love with this sport 49 years ago. It’s the competition.”