Many people across the world have their first encounter with a bocce ball court during childhood. Some of us may have walked home from school passing public parks, seeing the people gathered around the court. They would make jokes and laugh in between ball tosses, making outsiders secretly intrigued.
To children, these types of bocce ball courts seem huge. However, bocce courts in public parks are actually much smaller than regulation size courts. Yes, bocce court dimensions are determined by rules — just like with any sport. And yes, this ancient game has certainly earned the right to be called a sport. However, like most other sports, playing bocce ball is also simply good fun!
With that in mind, we’ve decided to bring you this article explaining what a bocce ball court typically looks like. Aside from the average bocce ball court size, we’ll also talk about the minimum amount of space you need in order to set up a bocce court. If you’re interested in any of those things, stick around and let us take you into the magical world of bocce ball.
Those of us who had the good fortune to walk past a bocce ball court on our way to and from school have an image set in our minds. The long rectangular court has a short wooden border on all sides. The fence is typically a bit taller, about as tall as your knees on the short sides of the rectangle, to prevent the balls from bouncing away.
There are 5 lines dividing the court into 6 areas. One of the lines splits the length of the court in two. The others lie closer to the short sides of the court. Usually, the players wait for their turns just outside of the short side of the court. We want to do our best to avoid catching a bocce ball with our shins.
Finally, the surface of the court is often made of finely-milled stone, which allows the balls to pick up speed as they bounce. However, many people also play bocce on different surfaces, as we’ll discuss a bit later. For now, let’s talk about bocce ball court dimensions.
As we have mentioned, a bocce ball court is essentially a long rectangle. However, your own bocce ball court dimensions may be different than someone else’s. Essentially, you can proclaim any surface to be a bocce ball court. Still, if you want to stick to the bocce ball regulation size, you’ll have to find a stretch of land that’s about 91 feet long.
Barring that, you can also try to stick to a similar ratio and make the court 1:5 or 1:7. So five to seven times longer than it is wide. But really, you can make your own court as long and as wide as you want it to be. After all, bocce ball is for everyone!
Still, if you want to stick to the official bocce ball court dimensions, no one will stop you. The standard bocce ball court is 13 feet wide and 91 feet long, or 4 by 28 meters. Admittedly, the 1:7 court is a bit of an odd ratio in comparison to the majority of other sports arenas. But since Ancient Romans came up with it, we’re inclined to let it slide.
Now, there is one more pressing issue here.
As we have said, you can pretty much make your court any size you like. Why not make several? You can have a court for you and your friends, and make a smaller one for your kids. In fact, there’s even a bocce ball variant for people with physical disabilities that uses adjusted bocce court dimensions. Boccia, as it’s called, is played on a court measuring 6 meters wide and 12.5 meters long, or 19.6 feet wide and 41 feet long. So, you see, you don’t even have to use the traditional elongated aspect ratio if you don’t want to.
Since we’ll go into more detail on how you can set up your own bocce court later, let’s see if you can fit a bocce ball court in your backyard. The answer, of course, is yes. As we have been saying, you can make your court any size you’d like it to be.
However, if you prefer playing on the bocce ball regulation size court, there are some options you can consider. If you want to stay in your backyard, you can just go for an 8 to 10-foot court. On the other hand, you could also strategically position the court. Make sure you’re using your yard to its fullest potential and play around with the positioning. We recommend using sticks or chairs to mark where your court will go. You can also move them around to find the perfect spot before you start transforming your backyard into a bocce court.
There’s another thing you can do if you want to bring bocce ball to the whole neighborhood! If your street doesn’t get a lot of traffic or if you can close it off for a day, you could create a temporary bocce court. Obviously, your street should be pretty flat for this, so you can’t do it if you live in a hilly area. However, if your neighbors are into it and you want to bring a little fun to the community — go for it!
If you still don’t think you have the space to play bocce ball around your neighborhood, there are plenty of other places where you can play.
If you’re near a body of water that has a nice sprawling beach, you should consider yourself fortunate! Many people can attest to the benefits of playing bocce ball on sand. Firstly, you get to have some good old-fashioned aquatic fun while you’re waiting for your turn to toss. And secondly, the slight slope toward the water seems to make the rounds even more exciting! However, you should still try to find a vaguely flat area if you don’t like having to chase the balls into the water. In addition, you’d probably have to play a throwing game since rolling will be practically impossible. But still, that would add a really interesting element to the game.
As always, you’ll be able to use any bocce court dimensions you prefer. One bocce player from South Carolina used a simple 1:2 ratio and set up a court that was 8 by 16 yards. However, the size and the occupancy of the beach are factors you should consider.
So now we know that sand is a surprisingly good surface for bocce ball. But what other options are available?
Well, as we have hinted earlier, the standard surface of a bocce ball court looks deceptively simple. It typically consists of reddish compact particles, similar to the surface of a tennis court. But making a standard bocce ball court surface is actually pretty complicated, as we’ll soon see.
For now, we can talk about some other surface materials you can use. Basically, the world is your oyster, as always. In fact, oysters can also be a part of your bocce ball court. We’ll discuss why oysters are a crucial part of many bocce ball courts later in the article.
Anything can be used as the surface of a bocce ball court. A ground stone surface or some type of natural soil is best, of course. However, people play on sand or pebbles over cement, and even grass!
There are several ways you can go about making a bocce court on grass. Firstly, you may completely take the grass off the area you’ve chosen as your bocce court. Then, you can create a genuine bocce court from scratch, following the step-by-step guide we’ll provide.
However, if you want to avoid losing a strip of your lawn, you can also play directly on the grass. In that case, we’d recommend finding a fairly level area and keeping the grass short. Also, you could set up temporary or permanent curbing around the perimeter of the court.
And, if you think that you’d like to try playing bocce ball on grass, there’s also one more grass alternative to consider.
If you’ve ever had the chance to play bocce ball on a public bocce court, you may have been playing on synthetic turf! Plenty of companies sell fake grass that you can basically slap onto any surface, although concrete is best. However, with a concrete base, you’d probably be limited to rolling, rather than throwing balls.
There are many different types of grass you can use for bocce ball available online. Still, synthetic turf will never grow out, and you can be sure that it’s level. And, if you aren’t sure if you could play on turf, you can try it out at the nearest public bocce ball court.
Which just leaves us with one question...
The short answer to this one is: naturally! Bocce ball is an all-terrain kind of sport. However, every terrain has its own demands. With concrete, the biggest worry is that the balls will bounce off into another dimension. We exaggerate, but it’s true. You’ll need to adjust the rules of the game for every new surface.
So if you’re playing on sand, you’ll want to throw rather than roll. Conversely, on concrete, you should put less force into it and roll. Additional adjustments might be needed, depending on the concrete bocce court dimensions as well.
Now that we’ve thoroughly dissected the ground upon which bocce players walk, let’s talk about the other parts of the court. What kind of materials would you need to get in order to make your own bocce court?
Well, that depends. Many professional courts, for example, have concrete curbing walls. They might also have wooden bumper boards affixed to the inside of the wall and even a water drain. In addition, professional bocce ball courts can also have 3 or 4 layers of materials making up the surface of the court. There’d be the sub-base, which is the ground, followed by the base of the court. The base is typically the thickest layer, and it’s essentially 3 inches of pebbles or ground rocks. That layer is topped with a leveling course to make the surface as flat as possible. Finally, the surface layer consists of about an inch or two of crushed igneous rock mixed into a gypsum binder.
Well, we can’t all be professional builders. Some of us just want to play bocce ball without all of this fuss! And fortunately, we can. You can swap out pretty much any of these elements. Instead of the concrete curbing, you can use wooden planks and stake them into the ground to make them as sturdy as possible. Furthermore, instead of the layers upon layers of rock, you can opt for one of the surfaces we mentioned before.
Knowing that, let’s get building!
Whether you’re setting up a professional court or simply want to play around in your backyard, you’ll start with prep work. Calculate the bocce ball court dimensions you want and see if they’ll fit inside of the area you’re working with. Then mark them off with chalk, spray paint, twigs — whatever’s the most convenient. If you’ve already gathered your supplies, whether you’re using sand, crushed rocks, wood or concrete, you can also use those to set up the perimeter.
And now — more prep. Clear the area you’re going to be working with. If you’re planning on playing on the grass, you can simply cut it and set up the curbing. However, if you want something more similar to the real thing, keep working on it. Take the grass off the area you’re working on until all you’re left with is dirt.
You’ll now want to level the area as well as you can using a laser level. Don’t worry if you’re not very thorough — you’ll be able to flatten it further with the other layers. Once you can see the bumps, rake over them and distribute the dirt off the higher areas toward the dips in the ground.
Finally, it’s time to set up the curbing. If you’re working with wood, it should be fairly easy to do. Just pick up some 2x6 boards at the home improvement store. You can fix them into the ground using foot-long wooden screws or even stakes.
Then, you can lay down 2-3 inches of the base rock and top it off with crushed granite. Rake through everything again to make sure that it’s level. At this point, you could use oyster shell flour to harden the surface and keep it bouncy. See? We told you oysters would come into play. You can find oyster shell flour at most feed supply stores, and you’ll want to keep it nearby since you’ll also need it for court maintenance.
However, you can do all sorts of things with the surface. After the rock and gravel layers, you can put down pressed sand and leave it at that. You can either stop there or add turf on top. The best part about bocce ball is that there are many bocce enthusiasts everywhere! So you’ll be able to find numerous tutorials online on how other people built their bocce courts.
It’s the most reasonable question anyone could have asked, and the most complicated one as well. Of course, building a bocce ball court will cost as much as the materials you use. So it could basically cost as little as $30, the amount you’d pay for the wood for the curbing. However, according to the owner of Boccemon, a company that sells the oyster surface material for bocce courts, the court might cost anywhere from $7-$14 per square foot, depending on the materials you choose. So a small 8x4-foot backyard court may be upwards of $200.
Ultimately, you’ll have to get creative. But we promise, once you have your own bocce court, whatever it ends up costing, it’ll be the best thing you’ve ever made.
And there you have it — a complete guide to bocce court dimensions and the materials you can use to make one. We hope that you’ve learned something new and are planning your DIY project right now. Just remember to pick up enough materials for the bocce ball court size you choose, and you’ll be fine!