Beginners Guide

A Beginner’s Guide to Playing Lawn Bowls

Port Perry Lawn Bowling ClubIntroduction:

Lawn bowls, a sport known for its leisurely pace and gentle competition, is a pastime that has been enjoyed for centuries. Its accessibility and simplicity make it an ideal activity for people of all ages. In this guide, we’ll break down the basics of playing lawn bowls, from understanding the equipment to mastering the techniques, and hopefully, by the end, you’ll be ready to step onto the green and give it a try.

Understanding the Equipment:

Before you begin, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the basic equipment used in lawn bowls.

  1. Bowls: These are the heavy, slightly asymmetrical balls used in the game. Each player typically has a set of four bowls. They come in various sizes and weights to accommodate different preferences.
  2. Jack: The smaller white ball is called the “jack.” It serves as the target that players aim to get their bowls close to. The jack is typically rolled or placed at the beginning of each end (round).
  3. Bowling Green: The rectangular, flat playing surface, or bowling green, is where the game takes place. It’s meticulously maintained and marked with a variety of lines and markers to indicate distances and positions.

The Objective:

The primary objective of lawn bowls is to get your bowls as close as possible to the jack. The team or player with the bowls nearest to the jack scores points. Points are awarded for each bowl that is closer to the jack than any of the opponent’s bowls.

Port Perry Lawn Bowling Club

Basic Rules and Techniques:

  1. The Toss: At the beginning of the game, a coin toss determines which player or team delivers the jack and the first bowl.
  2. Delivery: To deliver a bowl, stand on the mat (a designated starting point) and choose your line of play. Hold the bowl with both hands, placing your fingers inside the grip holes. Step forward with one foot as you release the bowl. The key is to maintain balance and follow through smoothly.
  3. Scoring: After all the bowls have been delivered, the player or team with the closest bowl(s) to the jack earns a point for each bowl in that position. The game is typically played over a series of ends, and the first player or team to reach a predetermined number of points wins.
  4. Bias and Weight: Bowls have a bias, meaning they are not perfectly symmetrical. This bias causes the bowl to curve as it rolls. Players must learn to anticipate this curve and adjust their aim accordingly. Additionally, bowls come in various weights, which can affect their speed on the green.
  5. Etiquette: Respect for fellow players, the green, and the rules of the game is crucial. Wait your turn, remain silent during your opponent’s delivery, and avoid walking on the green or crossing a player’s line of play.


Lawn bowls is a sport that combines precision, strategy, and camaraderie. It can be enjoyed at a leisurely pace or pursued with great competitive spirit. As a beginner, take your time to practice your delivery, learn to read the green, and most importantly, have fun. The more you play, the more you’ll discover the subtleties and joys of this timeless game. So, grab your bowls, head to your local bowling green, and embrace the art of lawn bowls.

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