game of lawn bowls is very simple to learn but can take anyone years
to perfect. Games are played in a gentlemanly and ladylike fashion, with positive
support and comments for all players.
goal of the game is to get more of your team's bowls closer to the
jack (the small white ball) than your opponents on each "end" played.
A typical game is 14 or more ends, with an overall running tally
being kept at all times to establish the winner.
bowls come in sets of 4, the maximum number of bowls you will roll
in one end of a game. (Only 3 bowls each are used in triples and
2 in Rinks - as quadruples is known). The big surprise of the game
is when you first pick up a bowl, and feel how heavy it is. Notice
that all bowls come in sets with different pictures on each set
to identify who the owner is - which is very important when you
come to scoring. [See Equipment and Glossary for more details].
the bigger surprise is when you try to roll it and see it doesn't
go straight! Wow. These bowls are not round. They are weighted to
one side and have a built in natural bias. So you always roll the
bowl on its smooth areas (areas without emblems or markings), with
the small emblem on the side to which you want it to curve. How
much it will actually turn is a factor of how fast you roll it (know
as "the weight"), where you aim it (known as "the grass"),
the condition of the green, and other bumps of nature. But you always
try to release the bowl smoothly aiming at a distinct point that
you hope will bring the bowl to rest at its best target position.
the whole bowling green is square, games are actually played in
assigned lanes (known as rinks) which are designated with small
markers on the edge. These also act as great reference points for
aiming when you roll. To protect the grass, different rinks and
different directions are used on different occasions.
are both forehand shots and backhand shots, and you will need to
learn both. But don't forget to check your emblems...to avoid the
embarassement of a reverse bias shot when your bowl will surely
take off into a neighboring rink.
singles play, it is just you against an opponent (with a neutral
spotter to help center the jack). In team play, the following positions
Lead: The person who leads off
Vice: The next person to play, and the Vice Skipper of the Team
Skip: The Skipper. Always plays last. Usually the most experienced
player who also guides most of the strategy.
skipper of whichever team "has the mat" waits at the far end, then
the Lead player, physically places the mat and has their Lead player
role the jack to establish its position for that end. The Skip aligns
it on a center line, with hand guidance signals from the Lead. After
that, teams alternate who rolls their bowls, starting with Leads,
then Vice. Once these players have all rolled, they change ends
with the Skips who in turn try to improve on their respective team's
scoring positions. You are allowed to roll your bowls however you
wish, provided you have at least one foot over the mat on release.
Most will find that the smoother the roll the better. So watch the
experienced players and see how smooth and consistent their releases
are, even if they can't get low down to the ground.
one bowl gets a bounce off another player's bowl, it is known as
a Wick. Hence the name of our monthly newletter. Skips often get
good at promoting their team's bowls to better positions around
all have finished rolling, the Vice's are in charge of agreeing
on the score. The bowl closest to the jack scores one point. Subsequent
bowls, of the same team, that are closer to the jack than any of
their opponents continue to count one point. As soon as an opponent's
bowl is the next closest to the jack, scoring stops for that end.
The losing Vice or Skip puts the score up on the blackboard or scorecard,
while the losing Lead rakes the bowls back. Simultaneously, the
winning team's Lead places the mat and prepares to roll the jack
for the next end.
This is but a brief summary....but all you need to get started.
The new member welcome pack will provide you lots more information
- of course, most of us just learn at a day on the green. And the
most valuable lessons come from joining games.
Download The Basics of Bowling.
One PDF page with diagram.