What’s great about bocce ball ball is that if you have a bocce ball set, you can just about play it anywhere. However, if you’re looking to play competitive bocce ball, then adhering to the official court sizes is important.
In this post, we’re going to discuss the official bocce ball court size, the difference between an indoor vs. outdoor bocce ball court size, as well as recommended court sizes for unofficial play. You will also gain a better understanding of the court material you can use to build your own court and how you can maintain your bocce ball court to enhance its lifetime. Let’s dive in.
Bocce Ball Court Dimensions
The official bocce ball court dimensions according to the United States Bocce Federation are around 90 feet long and 13 feet wide. More specifically, the dimensions are 86.92 feet in length and 13.12 feet in width. This is the recommended court size for bocce ball tournaments and professional play.
While these dimensions are ideal even for casual play, you don’t necessarily have to use them if you’re pressed for space. Just like the game of shuffleboard, bocce also allows flexibility in terms of court dimensions based on the space available.
Backyard bocce courts are typically around 60 feet long and 12 feet wide. These are among the most common dimensions for casual play. Many city plots have a width of around 60 feet, so this court size would be perfect for most backyards. If you don’t have that much space, you can also go for smaller dimensions just as long as you clearly establish the in-bound markers and foul lines.
If you have to set up your court indoors, there are some differences between indoor vs. outdoor bocce ball court sizes, though largely the difference is due to space issues. Indoor bocce courts are typically smaller and you can find ones that are as small as 22 feet long and 6 feet wide. However, in some recreational centers and larger indoor spaces, you can even go for bigger court dimensions.
Markers and Lines
What makes a bocce ball court are the markers dividing the court into different sections. These will help in ensuring proper game play and enforcing the rules of the game. Regardless of your court size, you need to draw a centerline right in the middle of the court along the width. When the starting team throws the pallino, it should reach this line or it will be considered an invalid throw.
Besides the center line, there are several other lines and markers that you need to create a usable bocce ball court. The spacing can be adjusted according to your court size. These are:
The pointing foul line – Typically drawn 4 feet to 6 feet from the end of the court depending on court size. Players need to throw the pallino and the bocce balls from behind this line.
The hitting foul line – Typically drawn 8 feet to 10 feet from the pointing foul line depending on court size. Some bigger courts may have this line drawn around 16 feet in. This is the line from which players can throw their bocce balls to hit the other team’s balls.
However, the United States Bocce Federation requires that there be only line for both pointing and shooting. The recommended distance is 13 feet from the back wall. So you will need to keep these professional bocce ball court dimensions in mind in case of tournaments.
If you’re setting up a proper court, you will need to enclose it with a curbing that will prevent the balls from rolling away. This could be made of concrete or even with weather-resistant wood. It’s crucial that the curbing is firmly anchored to the ground to prevent it from moving in case it gets struck with a ball. It should also be at least 6 inches above the playing surface if it’s going to effectively contain the balls during play.
For concrete curbs, you will need an additional bumper board to prevent the concrete surface from scratching or damaging the balls on impact. The bumper board can be made from plastic, hard rubber, or weather resistant wood, whichever is most convenient for you. Some even install a hinged backboard additionally, which can lessen the rebound and prevent balls from disturbing other balls that are still in play.
As for the court surface, there is no official regulation stating what material you should use. It could be anything from a natural surface to an artificial surface, depending on what’s most convenient for you. There will of course be variations depending on whether you’re playing indoors or outdoors. Indoor courts would mostly have synthetic carpets, and the choice of material is a bit limited.
When it comes to outdoor courts, the options for court material are virtually limitless. Most people use clay, packed dirt, and crushed stone. But even the grass on your backyard would suffice for casual play. One of the top trends for court material these days is poured liquid, which creates a smooth playing surface that allows balls to move faster.
Whichever material you end up using, you need to make sure that there aren’t any obstructions on the surface that can interfere with the delivery of your bocce balls, but variations in the consistency or grade of the terrain are not included among these obstructions.
A proper bocce ball court is typically made with a concrete base that’s around 3 inches deep. This is then covered with around 2 inches of compacted clay-like materials that provide a smooth and leveled surface for playing. They then cover this surface with loose materials, which can be anything from sand to oyster shells. The court material you use really depends on how easily you want the balls to move over the surface.
Drainage and Court Maintenance
Since the court is going to be enclosed by curbing, it’s crucial that you prepare for rainy days in case of an outdoor bocce ball court. You don’t want rain water to collect without a way to escape, or your court surface will quickly experience water damage. You need to create a series of weep holes that will allow easy elimination of excess water.
These weep holes are typically an inch in diameter and placed about 1/8” to ¼” above the playing surface. You can place one every 6 feet to 10 feet around the perimeter of the curb. If there’s significant landscaping outside of the court, you need to take necessary measures to prevent the water from damaging this area. Try tying the holes together using PVC piping and then draining it to an appropriate location.
While excessive water can be damaging for a bocce ball court, you do need to properly irrigate the court surface as a part of your maintenance routine. You can hand water it or use sprinklers to make sure that the court surface receives sufficient moisture. The court surface needs regular brushing, watering, and rolling if you want to make it firmer and increase its life span.
We’ve thoroughly discussed the details of bocce ball courts with a main focus on court size and official bocce ball court dimensions. You also have a better idea of the materials you can use and how you can properly maintain your court to make sure that it lasts for years. Hopefully, these points will be able to guide you if you ever need to build your own court.