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Revolutionary bocce courts from NZ bring bocce to US resort

Picture a luxury golf resort set amongst sweeping beaches, tidal rivers, and wetlands teeming with wildlife. The surrounds at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina, might just be the most stunning setting for bocce ball anywhere in the United States.

The world-class resort is one of a select few that run bocce-themed team building events for corporates. Each event is played on portable Packabocce courts, designed by New Zealand company Packaworld, which are laid out on the resort’s Terrace Lawn, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Referees are on hand to explain the rules to participants, who compete in teams across multiple courts while enjoying delicious food and plenty of liquid refreshments.

“It’s a simple game to run but people have a great time,” says Jonathan Thompson, Recreation Program Manager at the resort.

“Guests can enjoy some friendly competition while getting to know their team mates and opposition - it's very social and our setting is perfect.”

Mr Thompson says bocce was played on occasion at the resort before the arrival of the inflatable Packabocce courts, but the older courts were cumbersome and harder to set up.

Back then, the resort team set up the court walls for each tournament using large wooden two-by-fours. The walls had to be carried out, drilled together with screws, and then painstakingly dismantled afterwards.

“The new Packabocce courts are easy to use, they look professional and clean, and they have reduced our set up and breakdown time dramatically,” Mr Thompson said.

“We bought five portable bocce courts at Kiawah but it’s a great solution for smaller resorts that want to run team building events as well. Even with just one court they would see a return on their investment very quickly.”

Packaworld chief executive Peter Roberts said it was fantastic to see the courts bringing bocce ball to luxury resorts, as well as restaurants, bars, sports leagues and cruise ships.

“Kiawah is a stunning setting for bocce ball and I’m proud that our portable courts are helping to grow the game there. Who knows, perhaps we will see the likes of Dustin Johnson or Rory McIlroy enjoying some bocce between rounds of golf at some point?”

Kiawah Island Golf Resort features five 18-hole championship golf courses, the world-class Roy Barth Tennis Centre, 500 houses and villas available for rent, and a five-star, five-diamond luxury hotel. Its iconic Ocean Course, designed by the famous Pete Dye, will host the 2021 PGA Championship.

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