Hey, I don’t claim to be a bocce pro.  Heck, I’m not even a very good player – but no one loves the sport more than I do.  My contribution to the game is in having interviewed many of the top players and then assembling the information into a concise, easy-to-read book.


What I’ve created is comparable to what others have done for softball, soccer, and other sports.  This Blog is a forum for bocce lovers.  I’ll spout off on what I know about various bocce related issues and ask for readers’ feedback and disseminate those views in future issues.

A word about ads.  Like any entrepreneur, I’d like to turn a profit from my involvement with something I really enjoy.  But, for now I’ve decided not to accept paid ads.  If I pitch a product here, it is something I have personally investigated and deem beneficial to our readers.

Mario (The Bocce Guy)

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New Website

Announcement for all the Bocce Lovers out there!  Our new website is up and running…Check it out by clicking on the photo.

NewWeb (4)b

I’ll try adding more content here as we transition to new and better things.  We will keep you posted of what we are doing either here or on Facebook.

Bocce Family

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Ken Waldie Bocce Tournament

On May 9th we held our 13th annual Ken Waldie bocce tournament at the Sons of Italy.

11200993_10206656387347904_5213938138575041766_oSpectators looking on until it is their turn to play:

11020641_10206656387427906_4985335765514302481_oSecond place winners go to Havana Rollers.

906058_10206656387547909_1180909230506349978_oFirst place winners go to Team Vinny:

11090857_10206656387867917_5267073391800627734_oOur Brackets for the day:

20150509_161257-1To see some videos we posted and follow us here: Facebook – Author

Or go here to friend us: Facebook – Personal

And if you would like us to host a tournament for you in the New England area feel free to get in touch with us.  We also do book signings and give bocce lessons.  Call us at 978-686-8679

Play Bocce!
The Bocce Guy

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Order of Sons of Italy

A nice magazine that we have been subscribed to is called:
Italian America magazine

It is the most widely read quarterly for people of Italian heritage
in the United States.

We have been reading it for many years now. The Italian America magazine
is a full-color magazine that is printed quarterly.

The nice thing about it is that it is written in English.  It is the official
publication of the Order Sons of Italy in America®, the nation’s largest and
oldest organization for men and women of Italian heritage in the United States.

We plan on putting a small advertisement for this coming summer issue.  It is
going to look something like this:

Final - inside cover (Blog)

Check it out if you have time…

Play Bocce!
The Bocce Guy

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Nevins Book Fair

On October 4th the Friends of the Nevins Library sponsored this event for us local authors to promote our books.  Each author was given three or four minutes of talk time in front of the group.

1aHere I am talking a little bit about the Joy of Bocce.

2aGuntis Goncarovs, historian and author of Convergence of Valor: The Men of the H.L. Hunley, had lots of interesting things to say about the evolution of the first submarine used in battle, its sinking, and most recent recovery.

2b Setting up our table to display all our bocce paraphernalia to promote the game.  The new, fourth edition of the book Joy of Bocce is on display.

4dThese antique bocce balls, probably date back more than half a century ago.

5eBefore the event, beautiful stained glass windows adorn our venue.

6gSitting at the bench with my wife… observing the aged, 100+ year old tree that was soon to be cut down.

7gThis old tree dates back to the Civil War era.  The beautiful, historical landmark in the town of Methuen had been rotting away for years.

8hUnfortunately, as more and more termites had been eating its way through, it was scheduled to be cut down.

10bcdAll the local authors pose for a group photo.  As it turned out, we had a good afternoon even though very few books were sold.  OK maybe none.  Truth be told, we gave it our best shot.

Play Bocce!
The Bocce Guy

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Connecticut Corporate Outing

This week’s photos were taken on a nice grassy area by the beach in Connecticut for Kirkland Event & Destination Services, Inc.  Kirkland’s the outfit that contracted with me to run the bocce portion of this corporate event for Hartford Steam Boilers Inspection and Insurance Co.  Visit Kirkland’s web site at

They are a first-rate outfit that I can recommend without reservation.  Back in 2013 we ran this corporate outing for the Hartford Steamboiler’s group.  Enjoy the pictures:

1A few hours ahead of schedule we set up two bocce courts.  Notice the yellow sand-bags are there to keep the white tape in place when high winds prevail.

3High on the veranda we get a beautiful aerial view of our courts and the surrounding area.

2cWhen everyone showed up I discussed the rules and how the tournament was played.  Here, I was giving a few strategy pointers before game time.


4bbIn the background you can see how the event was well-catered; providing good food and drink for the Hartford Steamboilers.

5fThis first-class event was put together by Heather Huebner, corporate events manager for Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Co.  As you can see, the moon was rising on one side…

6hhAs the sun was setting on the other.  If you would like us to run a corporate outing done in a similar fashion, feel free to contact me.

Have fun!
The Bocce Guy

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Bocce Fund-Raiser

Logan’s Bocce Bash

Here’s a fund-raiser that we put together on short notice that turned out extremely well.  Three-year-old Logan qualified for an expensive stem cell procedure in Dusseldorf, Germany which has had great results treating cerebral palsy. 

Logan21So, family and friends as well as local businesses mobilized for a good cause.  Feel free to copy the model as outlined in the photos below and run a similar bocce event for a good cause in your neck of the woods.  Special thanks to Greg Debrocke and Carmela Pagnoni for their photos.  Click here: Logan’s Bocce to see all the photos.

Logan1We set up the venue the night before.  Ten courts to accommodate twenty teams.  All play at the same time – no down time.  Four courts are our usual 12 by 80 footers made of vinyl fence posts and the other six are 12′ by 60′ templates from Backyard Bocce.  The venue is an indoor soccer field at the PhanZone in Hampstead, NH.


Make sure the sponsors get some ink and encourage people to patronize their establishments.  We need to support the businesses and individuals who support us.

Logan4Fresh fruit, bagels and creme cheese and pastry from Mann Orchards.

Logan7Gift baskets to raffle off are always a good idea.  We also sold raffle tickets for Boston Red Sox and Celtics games (got the tickets donated).


The Bocce Guy with his good friend Logan.

We used the Bobby Valvano charity tourney format and our old standby – color coded teams.  Click Color Coded if you want to see how the color coding works.  Also, see Back Issues, Vol 4 – issue 38 for details on the Valvano format.

We get everybody together, make some introductory comments and thank-yous, then explain how the day will play out.  With more than 125 people in attendance, sometimes we need a bull horn or megaphone.

Logan11These guys are ready to play – they gear up for this kind of thing, so…

Logan17Veteran player and major sponsor Ralph Bagarella (Latitude Sports Clubs) makes a roll.

Logan20With our charity tourney format, we are done and ready for lunch promptly at noon.

Logan22After lunch we draw the winners for our numerous raffles.

Event_check2The bottom line = 25K – that’s no typo.  What a bonus when we can use the game we love to help the people we love!

The Bocce Guy

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Synthetic Turf Bocce Courts

XGrass Worldwide Headquarters in Dalton, Georgia has some of the most beautiful type of astro-turf material on the board.  This is ideal for building Bocce courts for those that require very little maintenance all year round.  From the xgrass website:

Bocce is a game that has been enjoyed by people of all ages for centuries, with crude origins dating to 5000BC!  The modern game is played with eight large balls and one smaller target ball called the jack or pallina.  The object is for one or more of your team’s balls to be closer than any of your opponent’s balls to the pallina at the end of every set.

Synthetic TurfOne of the reasons Bocce continues to grow in popularity is that it can be played almost anywhere…your backyard, the beach, indoors, etc…  To some degree, as long as you can find a relatively flat surface where the balls can roll, you can play bocce.

“The ‘X-Grass synthetic turf bocce courts’ – these are excellent synthetic turf bocce courts!” — The Bocce Guy

However, as people get more serious, even bocce courts utilizing compacted rock, sod, sand are too bumpy or uneven to be adequate.  This has led many to look for solutions to creating the ideal bocce court – and synthetic turf is a proven favorite.

Enjoy the game!
The Bocce Guy

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Oyster shell bocce court

John and Andrea Ross built a fantastic oyster shell bocce court in 2001 so she could practice for the World Bocce Games.  Mario, from, and I interview John about his court.

“I had met John and Andrea for the first time this week at the US Bocce Nationals and we quickly became friendly.  Thanks for having me as a guest at your table at the Awards Dinner.” – Joe Bocce Quartarone


John, at Shady Oak Cellars, tells us his formula for building this type of court.  He says, “It is oyster shell flower and it is mixed with all purpose sand.”  Get a wheel barrel and add this ratio:

  1. one 50 pound bag of oyster shell flower
  2. three rounded shovels of All-Purpose Sand

The base of the court is six inches thick of crushed granite.

Good luck!
The Bocce Guy

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After a Thunderstorm

Bocce After a Thunderstorm

You’ve scheduled an event and a late-breaking storm has deposited 2 inches of water on your court surface.  If the sky has cleared and the weatherman thinks the area is safe from lightning, you just might be able to get the games in…{Photos by Clare Coco Photography – – click the first photo to visit her site}.

The summer of 2008 here in Mass. seemed to include one rainy day after another. (I thought I had moved to London.)  Those of us who run programs spent a lot of time removing puddles off softball and baseball diamonds.  The same technique can get your bocce court ready (if you don’t have good drainage or can’t wait for the court to dry out on its own).

Note: it’s best NOT to sweep the puddles as this will inevitably remove some of the infield/surface material and make the low spot even lower for the next rain storm.

One of the good things about the flooding is that we can see where the low spots are and perhaps fill them in later.  The photo reveals that the court is higher and drier on the right side.

Here are the main tools you’ll need: a puddle pump, empty buckets, and some stylish fishing boots.

First, pick what looks like the low spot and, using a pointed shovel, dig a hole for the puddle pump to sit in.  Don’t worry, we’ll fill the hole in later.  The depression allows water to more readily flow into the base of the puddle pump from where it gets pumped up and out.

Now we start pumping.  If you can plug in a sump pump, that might be even better.  But most of our ball fields are out in the middle of parks with no access to electricity.  So, the puddle pump makes sense.  If it works for softball and baseball, it will surely work for bocce.

Buckets fills up pretty quickly.  You’ll need extras.

It gets to be a lonely job.  Solicit help, unless you’re a control freak like me.

They advertise that these pumps move 18 – 20 gallons per minute, and I don’t doubt it for a minute.  You can order one at by clicking…Diamond Water Pump

Here’s the hard part if you don’t have a hose connected to the pump: you have to lug the buckets and dump them where the water won’t find its way back.  Time to recruit some “young pups” for help.

If you can’t find any “young pups” with strong backs to lug the buckets, use small buckets.

As the water level drops, you’ll need someone to push the water toward the pump.  Ace bocce pointer Tony Furnari uses the back side of the lute/scarifier to coerce the water to the pump.

Got most of the water off in under an hour.  Ready to move to Phase 2…

Next we spread a drying agent.  It goes by different manufacturer’s names…Pro’s Choice Rapid Dry, Turface Quick Dry, etc.  Not Kitty Litter, this is the same stuff they use at Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium.  If you get enough of the surface water off the court, a half bag (50 lb bag) should be enough. Look for these products on-line or at a John Deere or Lesco type company.

Here I’m using the 7′ drag brush to spread the Rapid Dry.  Most people use too much drying agent because they don’t remove enough water before applying it.

The “troops” waited patiently, entertaining themselves with mundane chores like consuming fine foods and imbibing choice beverages.  By the time the court was pronounced fit for play, they were more eager participants than ever!

Good luck!
The Bocce Guy

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Top dress your court

How to top dress your bocce court

A pictorial representation

See Joy of Bocce Weekly, Volume I, Issue #45 for full details.

After playing on my backyard stone dust bocce court for many years, I “stepped up” to the much faster Har-Tru surface.  With the help of my “bocce crew” we top dressed the court with an inch of the Har-Tru material which is used on fine clay tennis courts.

Initially concerned about drainage, I found that once the material “set up” or “cured,” it drained quite well.  The final test was when we had heavy rainfall on a Sunday and were able to play our regular Monday morning league the next day.  That’s when I knew I could endorse the product without reservation.

Begin by placing strapping (these are 8 footers) at one end of court, leveling them using transit.

Level the transit at the opposite end of the court.

Find someone like my friend Bill who knows how to operate that transit.

Determine a reference point for leveling and use this consistently as you work your way down the court.

Open the bags and dump the top dressing onto the court and over the strapping.

Begin the “screeding” process.

A trowel comes in handy for finish work.

Continue leveling and checking reference point with transit.

Workers might want surgical masks when working with fine particulates.

Continue down the court.

We all like longer courts, but at this point we’re thinking short isn’t so bad.

Carefully remove the strapping and fill in the space with more material.

A good “finish man” is worth his weight in gold.

We used two garden hoses to thoroughly wet all the material.

The heavier the roller the better (600 lb. recommended).

A tamper comes in handy for corners and edges.

Step back and observe the results – a job well done.

Our top dressing work crew – hey, you can’t beat the price!

Call or email me if you need some Har-Tru and I will get you a good deal.  Fill out this form on my Joy of Bocce website for faster results.

Have fun!
The Bocce Guy

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