Login Pop-up

+27 21 887 3158 Login
Tuesday, March 20, 2018

bowls (4)

The Van Der Stel bowling club is a very vibrant bowling club. The facilities are right up there with the best in the Western Province and Boland.


JANNIE MALAN 072 625 0431 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ROLBAL

(Member since 1978 and regular WP player)

In 1978, when I first played bowls in Stellenbosch, the Club had only one green and its clubhouse was much smaller. From what I can recall, member numbers were lower than at present and the game was definitely more formal – the dress code being an obvious example. Eventually, the Club’s greens were expanded by a second green and the clubhouse was also enlarged.
There are a few differences between the game of the early 1980s and the bowls of today. One being the almost total absence of players under 30 years. There were no under-21 tournaments or squads. Towards the end of this period, some tentative steps were taken to create an under-45 squad in the Province. Then, large numbers of older people played and the game had no need to find members in other age groups. A second difference was the colour of the bowls – just black and brown, and mostly Henselites – in contrast to yellow, pink, a mottled finish, etc. that are used today; brand names being Drake’s Pride, Taylor and Henselite.
“Tabs-in” was on Wednesdays and Saturdays and always in white, while practising players often wore whites also on other days. Club tournaments were played only on a Saturday. The two- or three-day “classic” games that have become so popular in many clubs today were seldom on the calendar. The Hottentots-Holland tournament (now the 9s tournament), played over two successive weekends, was an annual competition that included Vlottenburg and all clubs currently in the Hottentots-Holland basin.

The surface of the Club’s single green was reasonable, but definitely not up to its current excellent standard. Rinks were demarcated by a line of fishing tackle drawn between them, so an umpire was never needed to determine whether a bowl was in or out of a rink. Sometimes, when the jack had moved off-centre, this line obstructed a bowl delivered wide into the adjacent rink. So, the scrapping of these lines was an improvement. The practice of marking the centre of a rink where the jack is to be placed at the start of a head is another aspect that speeded up the game. However, the fact that the game of bowls requires players to stand as spectators for quite a while is a negative aspect of the game that discourages prospective bowlers.
And so, while bowls has changed marginally and some of the codes have eased over the past 30 years, none of these changes have resulted in the

game losing its distinctiveness. But, in my opinion, the changes have added value. This means that we should continue to investigate further changes to the game that will make it more accessible and attractive to people who have not yet played. But, in closing and having made this comment, perhaps the greatest difference between the Club in the 1980s and that of today is that the current Stellenbosch bowlers make a greater effort to promote and market the game, and also to welcome new players into the Club. This provides energy and momentum and makes the Stellenbosch-Van der Stel Bowling Club a great place in which to enjoy the game. And, may it remain this way for the next 70 years. We are indeed privileged to play the game on the beautiful bowling greens of this great Club!

(Presidente van 2001-2003)

ot ongeveer 2003 het die mans- en damespelers onafhanklik gefunksioneer. Die twee groepe het elk hul eie president en uitvoerende komitee gehad en het hul finansies apart bestuur (natuurlik was die damesafdeling beter georganiseer!). Die spelers het op sosiale dae ook apart gespeel, maar een dag per week het hulle saamgespeel.

Vir spel was die dames se kleredrag streng voorskriftelik: wit rokke of rompe tot onder die knie, en selfs ‘n onderrok moes deel uitmaak van hul sportdrag! Slegs bare beige sykouse was toelaatbaar, met bruin of wit skoene. Geen juweliersware, behalwe “studs,” is toegelaat nie – dus geen hangende oorbelle nie. Die wit hoed met die Klub se band was verpligtend. ’n Speler moes selfs die hoed tot by haar motor dra wanneer sy die klubhuis verlaat! Tydens spel is geen geselsery op die perke toegelaat nie.

Die dames het nie teebeurte waargeneem nie, aangesien ‘n voltydse “huishulp” aan diens was. Sy was ook verantwoordelik vir die netheid van die klubhuis en het hulp verleen met “All Days.”
Die perke was swaar, want die prioriteit was ’n groen oppervlakte in teenstelling met die meer wetenskaplike benadering vandag, waar klubs se kundige perkemeesters ’n vinnige oppervlakte verseker.


Mr J L S Franzsen was the great force behind the founding of the Stellenbosch Bowling Club.
Excerpt from Mr Franzsen’s diary dated January 1939
“I will have to keep my promise that I would some day tackle the question of forming a bowling club.”
Excerpt 9 February 1939
...It appears the time has arrived for successful starting. I will act on my own as a one-man self-appointed committee and will probably get something done.”
Another excerpt mentions a visit to his friend

Prof C S Edgar with a view to ensure his interest in the formation of the club. Prof Edgar’s remark “You have given me a new lease of life,” was a great encouragement to Mr Franzsen. They travelled far and wide to obtain advice, wherever possible, on all the aspects of building a green. They inspected many different types of grasses until eventually Mr Franzsen took it upon himself to order grass from the farm of a Dr Reitz near Harrismith. The choice of grass has proved fortunate and extremely successful.

Prof Edgar later qualified for a permanent place in the history of South African Bowls by undertaking and completing the huge job of checking the English wording of the original Laws of the game.
The first notice of a meeting to establish a bowling club was signed on 21 October 1940.
As a result of the hard work of a number of gentlemen, in particular Mr Franzsen, the green was eventually opened on 12 December 1942. The first wood was delivered by the Mayor, Dr Cruse.


During the next 60 years a number of people contributed to the smooth running of the club.The ladies wore dresses, silk stockings, prescribed white shoes and hats with head-bands – this was strictly imposed. The men also had to adhere to prescribed clothing. Gradually this enforcement was released and players were allowed to dress more casually, but still within certain parameters.
Until 1973 men and women’s sections functioned as two separate entities. In 1975 Stellenbosch BC became the Van der Stel BC and part of the Van der Stel Sport Club.


An important and most significant development was the merging of the Van der Stel BC with Vlottenburg BC. The initial suggestion came from members of the Vlottenburg BC to their own executive committee. A meeting was held where it was obvious that the club was divided and this resulted in a rift.
A delegation approached Van der Stel BC, but two members of this delegation were opposed to this merger. This resulted in the formation of two opposing camps. A number of members joined the Van der Stel BC. The remaining members attempted to keep Vlottenburg BC active, but after a year they also joined the Van der Stel BC. A strong Stellenbosch-Van der Stel BC was formed in 2005. Membership annually averages about 80 players.
The first team to enter the Flag Competition had to start in Division 6. Winning ensured promotion to the next division. Success was eventually achieved when the club participated in the Premier Division in 2011/12 and ended in third place.
In 2008 a Business League was formed. Businesses, university personnel enter a team of four players who participate on four consecutive Wednesday evenings in February and November. In this way the game is introduced to 96 players.
Stellenbosch-Van der Stel BC is privileged to have beautiful greens and gardens. In 2010 a braai-area was built with an enormous financial input by Jan Smitsman and technical advice from Jannie Malan. This proves to be a great asset.
To name prominent citizens as members of the Stellenbosch Bowling fraternity, would commit an injustice to less prominent members whose contribution cannot be emulated.
The display boards in the club house will reveal the names of presidents and club champions as well as achievements on provincial and national level. The tabs of deceased members are “carried over” to a special board and this will validate the history of Stellenbosch.
The club is renowned for its ambience, genuine friendship and cameraderie. We are also extremely grateful to the many capable members who contribute their skills and expertise to the successful running of the club. 


Van der Stel Sport Club
Corner of Bergzicht Rd and Du Toit Road
T 021 887 3158
F 021 887 2156
Email: manager@vanderstelsport.co.za

Scroll to top