Once a part of the 1839 Mexican land grant to Don Francisco Sepulveda, Douglas Park, in which the Santa Monica Lawn Bowls Club now stands, passed through several hands before ending up, in 1904, as the property of the Santa Monica Land and Water Company.
The Santa Monica Land and Water Company later abandoned the land, and in 1915 the Hermann Film Corp. built (and soon abandoned) a studio on the site. In 1919, however, Donald Douglas moved into the abandoned buildings and created Douglas Aircraft Corp. He created the "Wilshire Airstrip" adjoining the property. However, in 1927 the airstrip was moved to Clover Field, and in 1929, the rest of the Douglas operation was moved there as well, leaving the site abandoned once again.
In 1931, Padre Park was created on the site; five years later, its name was changed to Douglas Park in recognition of Donald Douglas's success and connection to the site.
However, it wasn't until 1948 that the Santa Monica Lawn Bowls Club became associated with Douglas Park. The Club was formed prior to 1941 (the year it joined the Southern California Lawn Bowling Association) and was originally located at 163 S. Rockingham Avenue, the estate of State Senator L.C. Phipps. The estate contained a two-rink green open to members on Tuesday and Saturday afternoons.
In 1948, Marcellus L. Joslyn (pictured at left) financed the building of a lawn bowling green in Douglas Park and donated it to the city of Santa Monica. Later, Joslyn financed the building of the club house, which was also donated to Santa Monica on April 30th, 1949. Joslyn's philosophies were embodied in the following:
"No man amounts to anything by himself and one can only rise by the friendships and loyalties of those around him which can only be secured by thoughtfulness and courtesy and fairness."
Much of the early membership support came from the Holmby Park Lawn Bowling Club. To this day, many bowlers are members of both clubs. The clubs purposefully bowl on alternate days of the week to avoid competition for members.
In the 1970s and 80s, when the Douglas Green was being repaired and in less-than-playable shape, it was the nearby Beverly Hills Club that came to the rescue of SMLBC.
By the early 1970s, the club membership had grown to 42 bowlers. The club's success led Ferrell Burton Jr. to spearhead construction of a new green, paid for by a donation from the Marcellus L. Joslyn Foundation as well as a Senior Citizens' Grant. Unfortunately, that green was destroyed during heavy rains in 1982 and had to be reconstructed in 1983 - this green is the one still used today.
The green is comprised of a hybrid Bermuda Grass on an eighteen-inch bed of sand, all of which lies on a drainage field that empties, ultimately, into the city's sewer system. The drainage is good enough to allow bowling even during rainy weather.
The club has experienced robust growth since 2005 and has a roster approaching 100 members. In the past few years, there has been a noticeable increase in both younger people and women among the ranks of the club.
SMLBC is proud of the diversity of its members in all aspects: age, gender, backgrounds, interested, and so on. The club has an excellent mix of experienced players, including members of National Teams and newcomes, as well as tournament bowlers and those who enjoy the benefits of the club for the sole pleasure of social bowling. Members of the club strive to make new and prospective members feel at home, and encourage everyone to participate at a level that is comfortable to him or her.