Veterans Gardens use Colleoni Italian surfaces, the creators of the finest surfaces in the world.

Veterans Gardens use Colleoni Italian surfaces, the creators of the finest surfaces in the world.

Rules of Play

These are the rules for all leagues and tournaments played at Palisades Bocce Club.

Mission of Palisades Bocce Club at Veterans Gardens

The mission of Palisades Bocce Club is to adhere to the mission of Veterans Gardens.  To create a wonderful, inviting, inclusive home for everyone in our town to ‘belong.’  To belong to their bocce teams — and to belong to our fantastic bocce family in the Palisades of the most spectacular, loving, heartfelt, generous, fun people.

Our mission is to use the catalyst of this amazing game of bocce to gather Palisadians of all ages and all walks of life — to find reward, meaning and memories in their days in our town’s lovely gardens.

While we enjoy the competition of sports, we always give reverence to making decisions befitting of ladies and gentlemen.

Rules of Bocce

Palisades Bocce Club plays to the USA Bocce’s Official Rules of Bocce.


  • Veterans Gardens is the proud home of three bocce courts with the finest court surface in the world.
  • Bocce courts are open for play from sunrise to dusk.
  • Courts are available on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis. When players are waiting to play, please relinquish your court after you have played for 45 minutes.
  • Courts are for bocce play only.
  • Skateboards or any wheeled device are strictly prohibited.
  • Only soft-soled shoes are allowed; high-heels are not.
  • Please keep any food/refreshments away from the surfaces of the courts.
  • Please be respectful of your neighbors.
  • No amplified sound is allowed without permitted approval.
  • No alcoholic beverages are allowed.
  • There may be specific times reserved for permitted leagues, tournaments or private events. To permit the courts for an event, please visit the Park Office or call (310) 454.1421.


League Play Structures

  1. Sunset League plays on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, (with some make-up matches on Sunday afternoons).  Senior League plays on Tuesday late mornings.
  2. Leagues will include regular season matches, wildcard, playoff rounds, and the league championships.
  3. The Leagues have numerous Divisions; top teams in each Division make the playoffs.  
  4. League standings are determined by win/loss matches.  In the event of a tie in the standings, head-to-head matches are the determinant.  If neither of these measures provides a winner, there will be a one-game playoff!  


  1. Each team has a Captain.  The Captain is the primary contact with Carlyn Peterson (the Director of Palisades Bocce Club).
  2. A Captain’s responsibility is to share all league information with their players.
  3. Each week, the Captain is responsible for making sure that their team has at least 4 players that will be playing.  If the Captain’s team doesn’t have enough players for a pending match, he/she must contact Carlyn Peterson as early as possible – to mitigate the possibility of a forfeit. 


Games and Matches

  1. In league play, a match is either one game to ten, or the ‘best-of-three’ games  (the first and second game is to 6 points; a third game, if necessary, is to 5 points).



  1. Each team must have at least 6 players on their roster (but 8 or more is strongly recommended).
  2. Team members must be registered players in a given league’s season.         
  3. A team can add new players to its roster during the season.  
  4. Each team should have a snappy name that sums up how fabulous and talented they are.
  5. In a match, playing 6 or more players is the recommended number of players. 
  6. A team must field a minimum of 4 players for a match.  Yet, a team can play as many as 8 in a given game — and any number in a match.
  7. If a team has only 4 players for a match, two team members play on each end of the court (playing every other frame).
  8. If a team has 6 players (as an example), 3 can play on each side (with one player on each side in a given frame rolling two balls).  Or, if a team prefers, 4 players can play on one side with 2 players on the other side.
  9. Regardless of the number of players on a side, no player may roll more than two balls in a single frame.



  1. Most of the time, a match is self-refereed by the teams on its court.  It is expected that teams will make decisions in a sportsmanship-like manner.  If an Official is present, and Official can overrule any decisions.
  2. USA Bocce Certified Officials or Professionals may be present to oversee and referee matches.  (Carlyn Peterson has passed a certification level as a USA Bocce Certified Official and Jimmy Dunne has passed the certification level of USA Bocce Professional).
  3. Certified Officials or Professionals may also designate Volunteers to be Referees for matches.  If a Volunteer Referee makes a decision (including which balls are closer), the decision stands.  
  4. The only person that can override a decision of a Volunteer Referee is a USA Bocce Certified Official or Professional.
  5. Any decisions made by any Referees are in the best interest of Palisades Bocce Club, and are intended to adhere to the rules of USA Bocce’s Official Rules and, if relevant, Palisades Bocce Club’s Local Rules.  It is imperative that players, at all times, respect that they are doing the best jobs they can, and are always respectful to them and their position of authority.
  6. If a Referee sees an infraction, the Referee’s opinion regarding the placement of balls (or any other matters) trumps all other player’s opinions.


Substitute Players and Guests

  1. A team can use substitute players for a match, but substitute players can’t already be on another team in the team’s league.  Substitute players can be any age.  
  2. A player can only be a substitute two times during a given season.
  3. A team must have two players present for any match (and can only have a maximum of two substitutes for a match.)
  4. Regarding substitutes, teams cannot intentionally ‘stack’ their lineup with top-level bocce players.  Substitutes are only meant to help a team that needs to field four players for a given match.  (Any exception would be at the sole discretion of an Official.)
  5. A team can only have enough substitutes for a match to fill their four-player minimum.  As an example, a team of three team members can’t play with two substitute players; they can only play with one substitute player.
  6. During a game, a team can add an additional player/or players — but cannot replace an existing player.  At the start of a new game, players can switch sides, and players can replace/substitute in for existing players.  
  7. During Wildcard, Playoff or Championship matches, teams cannot have substitutes from other Palisades Bocce Club teams or leagues (or from leagues at other local bocce clubs).

Timing of Games

  1. League games start promptly at scheduled game times.  Exceptions occur if the Referee allows a later start time due to particular circumstances.
  2. Regarding Overtime.  After 55 minutes after the start of a match, the match begins ‘Overtime.’  The teams then play two more frames after the existing frame.  The team with the highest score wins the game (if it’s a tie, one additional frame decides the game winner). 
  3. If, in Overtime, teams are playing ‘best of three,’ and teams tie in a second-game Overtime match, the 3rd game is decided in one frame.  (In this situation, a team can have any players on its team play in the 3rd game one-frame.)


  1. If the start time of a match is late for some unusual reason, the 10-minute clock starts once a new ‘start time’ is declared by the Referee.
  2. In a ‘best of three’ format, if a team doesn’t have at least 4 players 10 minutes after the start time, they forfeit Game 1.  A team forfeits Game 2 (and the match) at the 20-minute mark.
  3. In a ‘one game to 10’ format, if a team doesn’t have at least 4 players 10 minutes after the start time, the opposing team is awarded 5 points.  At 20 minutes, the match is forfeited. 


Measuring the Speed of Play

  1. In the interest of continual play and consideration of others, measurements should take place only if absolutely necessary.
  2. Please keep ‘team meetings’ to discuss strategy on a given shot to a minimum.
  3. Once the Referee measures, if the Referee declares a decision about two balls, or if both teams agree on a measurement between two balls – it can never be measured again unless the balls have been moved.  
  4. There is a clear distinction between a Referee ‘declaring’ which balls are closest — and saying that they’d ‘guess’ which balls are closest.  A ‘guess’ may be measured later.  
  5. If using a laser measurer, balls within .02 or less are considered a tie.  If using any other form of measurement, if it is determined that it isn’t possible to clearly determine which ball is closer, the balls are considered a ‘tie.’

  1. In league or tournament play, 5 minutes is allowed for a team to practice before a match.



  1. In Playoff rounds, there is no “Overtime.”   All matches are played out.



  1. Palisades Bocce Club’s Bocce Ambassadors are a committee of passionate bocce players selflessly driven to continue to evolve the culture, brand and activities of bocce at Veterans Gardens.
  2. Palisades Bocce Club’s Local Rules are the collective voice of the Bocce Ambassadors. 

Winning Team

  1. Winning team receives one of the highest honors in all of sports; getting their team name inscribed on the League’s “Bocce Cup.”
  2. What more do you want in life than that?


Please contact Commissioner Jimmy Dunne with your fantastic ideas.