Bloomberg Businessweek (North America)

Next Round’s on the Ground

- David Graver

Lawn sports always seem cheesy until you start playing and you realize that, since no one is actually good at them, they can’t help but be fun. Kids, teens and tipsy adults alike find themselves on a level playing field. The following chic choices incorporat­e premium materials that add a level of elegance to any affair while coaxing out the competitor in us all.

FRESCOBOL CARIOCA BEACH BATS

Although frescobol, or Brazilian paddleball, is popular along the sunny beaches of Rio de Janeiro, a shoreline isn’t necessary to enjoy the sport. All that’s required is a stretch of land, two players, two balls and two paddles. Here, the latter are handmade in Brazil from furniture industry offcuts, with water-resistant coating and hand-wrapped neoprene handles. $295

PINETTI BOCCE

In the perennial battle over whether Italy’s bocce or France’s pétanque is the more classy, precisiono­riented boules-style lawn game (both are derived from a game played in Roman times), this luxuriant metal, wood and leather set from Italian design studio Pinetti might just tip the balance. The bocce set, available at Artemest, includes enough balls for eight players and one wooden jack. $1,475

HERMÈS DOMINOES

Made in France by Petit H, an Hermès division dedicated to putting leftover leather to use in playful ways, this 28-piece domino set comes in a carrying case crafted from calf- and goatskin. When you order online, the color of the 2.5-inch leather dominoes will be a surprise, based on the material available. No two sets are the same. $4,875

ODIN PARKER WOODEN BOWLING

Transform your yard into a bowling alley with heirloom toymaker Odin Parker’s 10 wooden pins, made in Poland using soft wood sourced from suppliers certified by the Forest Stewardshi­p Council. The two bowling balls are finished with beeswax and polished with vegetable oil. $80

VILAC CROQUET

The toy manufactur­er Vilac began producing playful items from top-quality beechwood in Grenoble, France, in 1911. Its colorful croquet set, available at the MoMA Design Store, employs this wood for two stakes, all six balls and six mallets, which are at a length appropriat­e for anyone over the age of 5. $110

ELAKAI RING TOSS

With one perpendicu­lar acacia wood target, 10 sisal-rope rings and a durable carrying case, outdoor game maker Elakai’s handmade ring toss is sharp and sturdy. It’s also weatherres­istant—and has a lifetime warranty. $60

BADEN CHAMPIONS BADMINTON

Included in this portable package is a regulation­size badminton net (including 10 stakes, guylines and boundary lines), four tournament­quality rackets and three nylon shuttlecoc­ks. The net’s heavy-duty aluminum poles are easy to set up and adjust— and the rackets have excellent string tension. $90

SCHILTE SJOELBAK

In this tabletop version of that cruise-ship classic, shuffleboa­rd, you dispatch the pucks by hand. The 79-inch sjoelbak board from Schilte and the included 30 machine-tooled pucks are all crafted from European hardwood in the Netherland­s. $328

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