Lawn bowls is a popular outdoor sport played by people of all ages around the world. It is a game that requires skill, strategy, and a steady hand. The aim of the game is to roll your bowl as close to a smaller white ball, known as the jack, as possible. Players must also try to prevent their opponents from getting their bowls closer to the jack than theirs. Lawn bowls can be played individually or in teams, and the number of bowls and ends played varies depending on the format of the game.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the rules of lawn bowls, including the equipment needed to play, how to place the mat, and how to score the game. We will also explore some common variations of the game and discuss how long a typical game of lawn bowls lasts. Whether you are a seasoned player looking to brush up on the rules or a beginner eager to learn more about the sport, this guide will provide you with everything you need to know to get started playing lawn bowls.
Basics of bowls
The objective of lawn bowls is to roll your bowl as close to a smaller white ball, known as the jack, as possible. You want to get one or more of your bowls closer to the jack than your opponent.
How to play bowls
A coin is tossed to decide which team bowls first. The first bowler places the mat centrally, and the first bowler rolls the jack to whatever distance they like.
The jack must be at least 25 meters from the mat and must stay out of the ditch. Once the jack has come to rest, it is placed centrally by the marker with the help of the bowler.
Teams alternate taking shots, and each member of the team will take all of their shots before the next one takes over. When playing any shot, the player bowling must always have one foot on the mat.
Any bowls that are in play can be moved by another shot, and they stay active to where they finish.
Any bowl that finishes in the ditch is considered out of play. Once all players have finished their shots, the game is scored.
Equipment needed to play bowls
The basic items needed for a game of bowls are the jack, bowls, and mats. The jack is a small ball used as the target in the game. Bowls are larger balls that players use to roll towards the jack.
They weigh no more than 3.5 pounds and are weighted on one side which allows them to curve. The mats are made of rubber and are roughly the size of a door mat. Two mats are required for a game, one is placed at either end of the green.
Scoring and winning
The winning team gets one point for each bowl that is closer to the jack than their opponent’s nearest bowl. The winning team gets to roll the jack for the next end.
The team who has received the most points (or “shots”) after all the ends are played is the winner.
Lawn bowls is a versatile sport that can be played in a variety of formats. Each format varies in terms of the number of players, number of bowls per player, and number of ends played. In this section, we will explore the different formats of lawn bowls.
In singles, there is only one player per team, with each player using four bowls. The game is typically played to 21 shots, with the first player to reach 21 declared the winner.
Singles is a great format for those looking for a more individual experience, as it relies heavily on the skills of one player.
Doubles is a format in which two players form a team, with each player using four bowls. The game is typically played to 21 shots, with the first team to reach 21 declared the winner.
Doubles is a great format for those who enjoy teamwork and the challenge of working together to achieve a common goal.
In triples, there are three players per team, with each player using three bowls. The game is typically played over 18 ends, with the team with the most shots at the end of the game declared the winner.
Triples is a great format for those who enjoy a balance of individual and team play.
Fours is a format in which four players form a team, with each player using two bowls. The game is typically played over 21 ends, with the team with the most shots at the end of the game declared the winner.
Fours is a great format for those who enjoy a high level of teamwork and strategy, as it requires coordination and communication among all four players.
In addition to these traditional formats, there are also variations that can be played, such as “first to X” number of shots, highest number of ends won, highest number of sets won, and two-wood games.
Each format offers its own unique challenges and rewards, making lawn bowls a diverse and exciting sport for players of all levels.
Now that you know the rules, grab your bowls and head to the green for a fun and challenging game of lawn bowls!
Here are some answers to common questions about the rules of lawn bowls.
What are the different types of shot in bowls?
There are 2 main types of shots in bowls. The forehand and the backhand.
The forehand: a forehand shot is played in the same direction as your dominant hand. So, if you are right handed you would roll the bowl to the right of the jack, so that it bends in to the left.
The backhand: a backhand shot is palyed in the opposite direction to your dominant hand. So, if you are right handed you would bowl the bowl to the left of the jack so that it curves back in to the right.
Both are reversed if you are left handed.
These 2 types of shot can be played with a variety of different weights to achieve different results. Some common weights you might play are:
- Draw: this is where you roll the bowl so that it stops just as it reaches the jack. This is also known as “drawing weight”
- Yard-on: this is where you roll the bowl so that it will stop a yard behind the jack. This is often played if you want to play a safety shot behind the jack in case it moves. This can also be played if you want to hit an opposition bowl out of the way.
- Drive: this is where you roll the bowl as hard as you can. This is the most aggressive shot you can play in bowls, and is played when you want to remove one or more opposition bowls away from the jack
Can you hit the Jack in bowls?
Yes, you can hit the jack in a game of bowls. If you hit the jack and it remains on the rink, then this becomes the new target, and the score is taken against the bowls closest in it’s new place.
What happens when the Jack goes into the ditch?
If the jack goes in the ditch then it remains in play. Bowls are measured to where the jack lays.
Any other bowl that ends up in the ditch is considered out of play (unless it is a toucher - expalined below), so bowlers have to be careful that they don’t add too much weight.
What is a “toucher” in bowls?
A toucher is when a bowl hits the jack. To be a toucher the bowl must hit the jack directly when it has just been bowled.
A toucher is marked with chalk (either a chalk stick, or more commonly a spray on chalk), leaving a white mark on the bowl.
What are the rules for placing the mat?
The mat must be placed by the bowler about to roll the jack. The mat must be placed centrally and squarely in line with the rink markers, with the front edge of the mat being at least 2 meters (6ft 6in) away from the ditch and the front edge no more than 25 meters (82ft) from the ditch.
How long is a game of bowls?
A game of bowls will last between 1 and a half hours and 3 hours, depending on the format. Singles will be on the shorter time frame and Fours taking much longer.