Top Bocce Ball Master Planned Communities in the Southeast

Big Canoe Bocce Ball

Trend setting Baby Boomers at retirement that have taken up the sport of “bocce ball” have discovered how easy and fun it is to play. Bocce ball requires patience and precision skills to succeed in this ancient game. Believed to have originated over 7,000 years ago with Egyptians throwing a round rock at a smaller one, the evolved version follows the same principle of play. The game starts when the selected team player throws the “pallino”(which is a small ball thrown first) which then becomes the target for the game.  Each game has a total of 9 balls, one small ball the “pallino” and 8 “bocce” balls with four going to each team.  The “pallino” is thrown first then each Bocce is played with the goal of placing it as close to the “pallino” as possible.  The object of Bocce is to get as many of the bocci (plural bocce) as close to the “pallino” as possible.  The competitor that gets the closest to the “pallino” scores a point.

The equipment for bocce ball is relatively simple.  There are 8 balls (bocci) approximately 4 inches in diameter that weigh about 2lbs. each and 1 “pallino”, which assimilates a pool ball.  The game can be played with 2 to 4 players and it is recommended to have a measuring tape nearby when the tosses get competitive.  Usually, the first throw is awarded by a coin toss with each team rotating throws until all balls have been thrown.  Only one team scores points during a single frame and each team can score up to 4 points if all bocci balls are closest to the target pallino.

Though it sounds complicated, the sport is easy to learn and a great social activity enjoyed by individuals of all ages and fitness levels.  It has become an increasingly popular past time for people entering their retirement years and builders across the country have taken notice of the surge of interest and have insured that this new sport is available in their communities.  We found six communities that feature “bocce ball” and have decided to rank them according to the programming that they offer in addition to the other fabulous amenities they all have to enjoy at retirement.

Several of the top master planned communities in the Southeast have noticed and added the amenity to the long list of health and wellness activities within their neighborhoods. 

BEST BOCCE BALL COMMUNITY - BIG CANOE IN JASPER, GA

First on the list is Big Canoe in Jasper, Georgia with over 150 bocce ball club members. In November, the Big Canoe Bocce Ball League crowned its fall season champion, the team Kiss Our Pallino team. After the competition, 70 club members met at the Lake Sconti clubhouse for an evening of fun and celebration. Big Canoe has 3 bocce courts at the Wildcat Recreational Center and keeps members informed on the club's dedicated website. There are two seasons, one in the Spring and the other in the Fall when tournaments are held. In addition to the tournaments, there is a “Bocce Camp” that is free for all attendees which is held prior to the Spring and Fall Seasons.  All players who join the league are required to attend to learn the game and to get an overview of league rules. During the season, there is “free bocce night” held on Monday evenings for neighbors to socialize and experience the fun that bocce has to offer.  Before the start of each season, the league offers these camps along with a potluck dinner to encourage folks to participate. There is a tournament for both seasons with awards given to the League Champions at an awards ceremony held each season.  The Spring 2015 season kicks off in March and the Fall Season starts September 1 and no experience is required to participate. 

The gated community of Big Canoe is situated on over 8,000 acres of land with 22 miles of lush forest hiking trails and is adjacent to Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area, a Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. Baby Boomers searching for a place to retire in Georgia would be wise to consider Big Canoe.  This best master planned community in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia, has the convenience of onsite restaurants, fitness and wellness amenities, a chapel for worship, all within the gates of this friendly neighborhood. Just outside the Big Canoe gates is a strip shopping center with an IGA grocery store, retail shops and a private school. From spring to summer, on every Saturday, local vendors cater to Big Canoe residents selling farm fresh vegetables, fruits, homemade cheeses, jams, jellies, baked goods, pottery to handmade jewelry at the Village Festival just beyond the gated entrance. There are more than 50 friendly social clubs at Big Canoe to ensure residents will always have something fun to do. 

HONORABLE MENTIONS

CURRAHEE CLUB IN TOCCOA, GA

Another fun-filled gated community with bocce ball courts and a new $2.5 million dollar Sports Club, is the Currahee Club in Toccoa, Georgia. This northern Georgia gated mountain community is spread across 1,200 acres and is situated on the beautiful Lake Hartwell. The community has two bocce ball courts for its residents. 

Currahee Club is a place where outdoor activities abound. Whether it’s relaxing on the community boat dock with neighbors, golf or a fun round of bocce ball, this enriching living space offers plenty of fun social clubs for a fulfilling retirement. Approximately 38 homes have been built of the 700 planned.  With several architectural styles to choose from, Currahee Club new cottage home collection starts in the mid $400k’s.

THE LANDINGS IN SAVANNAH, GA

Another playful community with bocce ball on their list of amenities is The Landings in Savannah, Georgia. Due to the increasing popularity of the game, The Landings recently added 2 dedicated bocce ball courts. Located on Skidaway Island, this Savannah neighborhood was established more than 40 years ago on 4,596 acres of prime Low Country real estate.  

The mixed bocce ball league formed only a year ago has grown 40% since inception.  Members can participate in bocce clinics, league play and tournaments. In addition to bocce, this picturesque gated community offers superb golf and tennis facilities, a state-of –the-art fitness center and 2 deep water marinas for easy ocean access. There are also 40 miles of walking and biking trails available for keeping fit and healthy in this prime location ideal for the ultimate in Lowcountry retirement living.

TELLICO VILLAGE IN LOUDON, TN 

Tellico Village located in Loudon, Tennessee is yet another great place to call home and enjoy the sport of bocce ball. Located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and on the western shore of Tellico Lake, this 5,000 acre master planned community has 8 neighborhoods that make up Tellico Village. Filled with small town appeal, Baby Boomers looking for an active lifestyle will find Tellico Village a trend setter. With a 26,000 square foot Wellness Center, 4 Har-Tu tennis courts, 8 new pickleball courts and an indoor heated swimming pool, staying healthy and well is fun and easy in this peaceful lakefront retreat. The amenities here are excellent and keep residents busy year round. The Tellico Village Yacht Club on Tellico Lake provides a perfect place to meet neighbors for waterfront dining after an exhilarating game of bocce ball. 

BRUNSWICK FOREST IN WILMINGTON, NC 

Next on the list is Brunswick Forest in Leland, North Carolina. Located just 10 minutes away from Wilmington, this walkable community offers its residents many options when it comes to activities, including bocce ball. Located near some of the most beautiful North Carolina beaches, this impressive neighborhood features many amenities as well. 

Folks who live in this development have the luxury of The Villages at Brunswick Forest which is home to retailers, restaurants and businesses making this living option all inclusive. The Community Commons features a glass enclosed meeting space with kitchen, event lawn, rose garden and fishing pond with gazebo. Whether looking for a traditional bungalow getaway, a single family home, villas, or townhomes, Brunswick Forest has multiple options available. And of course, bocce ball!

PALMETTO BLUFF IN BLUFFTON, SC 

The last community to review is Palmetto Bluff located in Bluffton, South Carolina.  When it comes to Lowcountry living, this gated community sets the standard for excellence.  With the appeal of majestic oak trees, rustic gas lanterns and the smell of the salty sea air, the historic region will captivate the senses.  There are 2 bocce ball courts at this community and the resort-style amenities found here are impressive.

Recognized with a long list of awards from travel and sports publications, Palmetto Bluff captivates visitors and many have chosen to call this resort-like community home across from Hilton Head Island. Besides all the first class amenities, Palmetto Bluff also has a town village which houses unique boutiques and tasty restaurants for the convenience of its residents. Join fellow neighbors for boating, tennis, golf, or horseback riding as it is a highly social community and many of the property owners are social club members. So for a life filled with fun, action and bocce ball, visit Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina for an active adult lifestyle at retirement.

We look forward to seeing more communities jump on the 'bocce ball' bandwagon. If there's a community we've missed, we hope you'll share it with us and our readers by leaving a comment.

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