Go Lawn Bowling!

The Curler’s Guide to Lawn Bowling

Prepared by Jeff Lawrence










  1. Throw the stone closest to the pin to score.

  2. In-turns and out-turns will move from a straight path as they slide down the ice.

  3. Leads throw first, Seconds throw next, Vices throw third and Skips throw last.

  4. Skip holds a broom to indicate the amount of ice that is taken.

  5. The sheet of ice is called a rink.

  6. The edges of the sheet are indicated by lines.

  7. Draw shots are slow.

  8. Take out shots are faster and intended to remove opponent’s stones.

  9. A wick shot will deflect off an existing stone.

  10. Stones may be raised into the house.

  11. The winner of the end will throw first to begin the next end.

  12. The pin, button and rings are fixed.

  13. Stones are measured by a large metal measuring rod.

  14. A curler pushes out from the hack to begin his/her delivery.

  15. The curler must release the rock before crossing the hog line.

  16. The rock must cross the far hog line or it will be removed.

  17. A rock that goes through the house is removed.

Lawn Bowling

  1. Roll the bowl closest to the smaller white jack ball to score.

  2. Inside or outside bias will cause the bowl to turn towards the smaller design as the bowl slows down.

  3. Leads roll first, Vices roll next and Skips roll last.

  4. Skip may place his/her foot to indicate the amount of grass that is taken.

  5. The lane of grass is called a rink.

  6. The edges of the rink are imaginary lines that run from markers at one end board to the other end board.

  7. Draw shots are slow.

  8. Runners are faster and intended to remove other bowls or to move the jack.

  9. A wick shot will deflect off another bowl.

  10. Bowls may be promoted towards the jack.

  11. The winner of the end will roll first to begin the next end.

  12. The jack is rolled and centred to begin the end. The jack may be contacted and moved by bowls. If the jack is moved outside the rink, the end is dead and replayed.

  13. Closeness of bowls is measured by a lawn bowling measure which is a retractable cable similar to a tape measure. For very close measurements, a set of calipers are used.

  14. A bowler stands with one foot on the mat to deliver the bowl.

  15. The foot must be on or directly above the mat while the bowl is being released.

  16. The bowl must travel a minimum of 14 metres

  17. A bowl that lands in the ditch is removed. IF the bowl that has been delivered has touched the jack, it is marked with chalk and called a toucher. The toucher is still in play and if it is knocked into the ditch it is still in play.  If the jack is knocked into the ditch it is also still in play. 

Small Symbol

Large Symbol

Lawn bowls have a biased shape. On one side is a larger symbol and on the opposite side is a smaller symbol. When you hold the bowl in your hand there are two possibilities. The larger symbol is on the left OR the larger symbol is on the right. As the bowl slows down, the bowl will turn towards the smaller symbol. The amount of turn is determined by the bias of the bowl, the height of the grass/turf, the amount of moisture on the grass, and the speed of the bowl. Bowl manufacturing companies make a variety of bowls with different degrees of bias.

Taylor Bowls Bias Chart

A bowl that is released smoothly and in a straight line will roll farther than a wobbly delivery. Every effort should be made to roll the bowl rather than throw or pitch the bowl. In order for the bowl to end up in the middle of the rink, the bowler must choose a target to the left or right of the jack and roll towards that target. The distance from the jack to the target is the grass. In curling it would be the ice. Each rink has its own unique characteristics which change with the weather and growth. One of the skills that a bowler develops is the ability to read the grass and determine the weight and grass required to complete the shot accurately.



Bowls      The lawn bowling club has sets of bowls for the beginning bowler to use. There are a variety of styles and sizes. Bowl selection is a personal choice based on your strength and the size of your hand. Generally speaking, if you can touch your middle fingers and thumbs around the fattest circumference of the bowl, that is a good choice. If you cannot, the bowl is too big for you. If you can touch easily, the bowl may be too small for you. You should try a wide variety of bowls before investing in your own personal set of bowls. Bowls range from $300 - $500 for a new set. Used bowls are much less..

Why do lawn bowlers wear white clothes? White clothes are not necessary. When playing in competition the members of the same team should wear matching outfits. Since white was an easy colour to match and cool in the summer months, it became the easiest outfit to accommodate that rule. Many team players now have several colours for tops and shorts that they can match. Smooth soled shoes are required to minimize the impact on the grass. Clay court tennis shoes are suitable but cross-training aggressive treads are not suitable.


For each rink a pair of mats, a jack and a pair of rakes or pushers are required. These items are stored in the shed beside the green. The jack is a small, white ball that is the target for the bowls. The mats are a rubberized material that is smooth on one surface and rugged on the other. The mat is placed smooth side down in the centre of the rink no less than 2 metres from the ditch. It can be moved further from the ditch.  When the jack is rolled to begin the end, it must travel at least 21 metres from the front edge of the mat.  If the jack rolls and comes to rest outside the rink or if it falls short, the lead from the opposing team will roll the jack.  If neither rolls are legal, the jack is placed 2 metres from the far ditch. The maximum distance the mat can be placed from the ditch is 23 m which is where the first hog line is marked. The rakes are used to round up the bowls at the end of the end and push them back towards the ditch just past where the mat will be placed. The Lead of the team that did not score in the end will be responsible for using the rake. The Lead of the team that did score will be responsible for placing the mat and throwing the jack. The Skip is responsible for recording the score. The Vice will do the measuring and relay the score to his/her skip. The team that scored will tap his/her shoulder to indicate that they won points equal to the number of taps. The team that did not score will tap his/her thigh to indicate that the number of points that the other team won.