If you are going to play exclusively on grass, try to avoid the smaller object balls. Small pallinos tend to be obscured even by closely cropped lawns. We often use a croquet or field hockey ball as the target ball when playing on grass.
Sizes are usually metric and designate the ball’s diameter. You’ll see pallinos that are 40 mm to 60 mm in diameter (40 mm will be lost in the grass, 50 mm or larger is better for lawn play. A field hockey ball is about 70 mm).
They come in all sizes – the one to the far right is a field hockey ball (white in color) that we use on grass. You can usually see that one even if you don’t mow the lawn.
One pallino that is catching on is made of stainless steel (second from the left in the photo above). It is 40mm in size and 280 grams. Because it has a lot more mass than more traditional pallinos, the stainless steel target doesn’t get knocked out of the court by a hard hit. This makes for a lot safer game for players and spectators.
Visit DaVinciBocce.com for stainless steel pallinos.
As with object balls, you’ll find bocce balls of varying sizes and weights. First off, the game is not originally an American one. The specs are generally metric. In international competitions, the standard is 107 mm and 920 g. The 107 refers to the diameter of a ball and the 920 is its weight (mass).
From what I understand of the process, it takes high grade plastic to manufacture balls to these specifications. Top players tell me that they prefer Italian made balls, indicating their belief that they are manufactured to greater tolerances.
The 107 mm and 920 g specs are those observed in true World Cup and international play. Italian manufacturers like Perfetta, Super Martel, and Salf, almost always supply the balls for these events which may be held anywhere in the world.
Recently, with the opening of fabulous venues like the Palazzo di Bocce in Michigan and Campo di Bocce in California, the USA has become an attractive site for world-class tournaments.
You’ll find bocce that are anywhere from 80 mm (might be good for children) to 115 mm (cannonballs). The weights vary just as much, with some approaching hernia inducing proportions.
It takes extremely high grade plastic to get balls to meet the size and weight specs of international standards while maintaining the requirements for balance and roundness.
These international specs (107 mm, 920 g) represent a good size and weight for most people. Small and light enough for even those with small hands to control.
Why shouldn’t we use what the top players roll? I recommend that you purchase a set that is as close to these parameters as possible.
The Bocce Guy