Belding shuffleboard club looking to expand interest By Alex Freeman | on June 02, 2018

The Belding shuffleboard club meets twice per week at Demorest Field in Belding. Pictured above are, from left, Howard Jackson, Carl Olmstead, Nina Kipp, Ron Jackson, Jack Kipp and Sharon Olmstead. — Courtesy photo
BELDING — In its eighth year of existence, the Belding shuffleboard club is looking to show the community how great of a game shuffleboard can be.
Given its simple nature and easy-to-understand rules, the game of shuffleboard makes for a perfect pickup-and-play for all ages. However, the game has a competitive aspect to it which will keep participants going and continuing to perfect their technique.
Belding Shuffleboard Club Secretary Eva Mae Lake said the club has a nice mix of competitive and casual players, and it’s often a game whose difficulty gets overlooked.
“There’s strategy to it. People think it’s a real simple game, you just push your little disc down there, but there’s a lot of strategy to the game,” Lake said. “And if you’re a competitive person, the strategy kicks in more. If you want to play for fun, a lot of our people do as well. Probably half of us play when we go to Florida or Arizona or wherever we go in the winter time, we play all winter long.”
Each meeting, the club plays three games, where they draw for team partners and courts before each game. Lake said the games take about 45 minutes to play, as they play 12 frames per game.
The club currently meets twice per week to play at 6 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday. Lake said the group’s main goal is to increase interest, so they are open to schedule flexibility.
“If there’s interest of another time or (different) evening or whatever, we’re there to accommodate. We’re just out there waiting for somebody to show some interest.” she said.
First-timers are welcome to show up at the scheduled times, but Lake said they would prefer players to come in with a knowledge base first. The club will offer lessons, but only as interest permits.
“There’s a way to hold your cue and a way to approach when you’re shooting. That’s why we prefer lessons because there is etiquette,” Lake said. “You really shouldn’t be walking on the courts when the beads are on the court … there’s more to the game than just pushing your disc down the court.”
Lake said she hopes to expand the game and the club as much as possible, stating that it’s not just a game “for old people.”
“We’d like to interest all ages, we’d like to get younger people involved,” Lake said. “I also thought it’d be nice to get some church leagues going too, but right now we just don’t have the time to recruit.”
The club currently has about 30 active players. There is a $10 fee for club membership, which goes toward upkeep of the shuffleboard courts in Belding.
As for why she plays, Lake said she enjoys the game due in part to the social aspect it brings.
“We enjoy the social part of it and it’s free apart from the club dues, which are for the whole year,” she said. “It’s not like golf, it’s very inexpensive. It’s just a relaxing, fun game. It’s not a physical game, so if you’re handicaped or can’t be walking around like in golf, it’s nice for all kinds of people really.”
Lake said that spectators are welcome during the club’s games, and it’d be a great opportunity to get acquainted with shuffleboard for anyone who is potentially interested in joining the club.
“There’s a spot if they want to bring a lawn chair to sit (and spectate). And we have four picnic tables there, so there’s a place to sit even if they don’t bring a chair,” Lake said. “But if they want to come and watch, they’re more than welcome and we’d like that, actually.”
The shuffleboard courts are located at Demorest Field on the corner of N. Demorest and W. Ellis streets in Belding by the little league field.
For more information about the Belding shuffleboard club, contact club president Howard Jackson at (616) 225-8089 or secretary Eva Mae Lake at (616) 794-1722.

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