Have you ever thought about taking up a new sport or hobby?

Lawn bowls could be just the thing! If you cannot take part in strenuous activity, such as rugby or racing round a football pitch – or do not like the idea of it – lawn bowls is a great sport to take up.

It is a game of skill and precision and is also an ideal way to meet new people and make new friends. No matter how old – or young – you are, lawn bowls is a fantastic activity to get involved with.

The aim of this page is to take a brief look at what lawn bowls involves and explain how to take up the game as a newcomer.


What is the aim of Lawn Bowls.

Lawn bowls involves delivering your bowls closer to the Jack, a small, white ball, than your opponent’s. The bowls used are biased, which makes them arc, making the game more skilful.

The game is played on an area of flattened grass, known as a ‘Field of play’ this is surrounded by a ‘ditch’. Typically, a green is split into 6 rinks. A game is played on one rink, but many rinks can make up a game also. Games can be played in the following formats; 


GameNumber of PlayersNumber of BowlsDuration of Game
Singles12 or 4First to 21 shots
Pairs2418 Ends
Triples3318 Ends
Fours4218 Ends
1 End = playing in turns in one direction along the rink.

Rules of Bowls

  • Which player or team to bowl first is decided by the toss of a coin, after which the first bowler (the lead) places his/her mat and rolls the jack down the green.
  • The jack must travel at least 23 metres to be “in play” and is moved to the centre of the rink once it comes to rest.
  • The players then take turns to bowl, with points being scored by each bowl that is closer to the jack than the opponent’s closest bowl.
  • Upon completion of an end play recommences in the opposite direction (i.e. from the end at which the jack previously rested).
  • Bowls that fall into the ditch are disregarded, however close the jack may be to the ditch, unless they happen to touch the jack before going into the ditch. In that case they are still classified as in play.
  • If the jack is knocked into the ditch though within the side boundaries of the rink it is still “alive” and in play. If it passes over the side boundary of the rink (whether in the ditch or not) a “ dead end” is declared and the end is replayed with no scores being counted.
  • It is permissible – and often quite amusing! – to strike other players’ bowls with your own with the aim of gaining a strategic advantage.

 How do I learn?

Avenue Bowls club host a number of Bowls Development Alliance (BDA) Level 1 & Level 2 Qualified coaches. Should you be a new member or existing member looking to improve your skills feel free to get in contact. Additionally, the club holds friendly session every Friday night with coaching given to new and existing members, should you wish to come and try the sport.

 Where do I start?

If you are thinking of becoming a first-time player, or just want to try the sport, please contact the club, Or feel free to come down and watch one of our many games held at the club throughout the week a schedule can be found here.

What is the Cost?

Avenue Bowls club offers a reduced fee for all first-time bowlers who join the club, as we understand starting any new sport can be costly. When you do start the club has limited number of bowls sets which people can use to try the sport out, but it is advised that you purchase your own set.  

Typically, second-hand bowls are a good start in purchasing bowls, which are readily available across the internet or from other players.

Buying Bowls

Some bowlers have lots of different bowls sets but the average player has only one set, so it is important to invest in something that will help improve your game, but you are comfortable to play with even in wet weather (typical British summer).

When it comes to buying bowls there are many different styles, colours and models you can choose from but there are some things that you need to think about:

Bias –The bias is how the bowls ach in and they range from narrow drawing bowls, right up to wide swinging bowls, so its important to try out a few sets before deciding on a set.

Size –It is important you choose one that feels comfortable for you. Here is a link to trying out which size would be best. 

Grip – The type of grip you choose is also important for play and you would need a bowl that has a firm but comfortable grip. The most important thing to do is ‘try before you buy’. This can be done at the club with our limited trainign bowls or asking to borrow other members bowls for a practice. 

Chris PooleBDA Level 2
Dawn ChapmanBDA Level 1
John HughesBDA Level 1
Nicola SimmondsBDA Level 1
Paul ChapmanBDA Level 1


Set up a marker ¾ away up the green, and for 4 ends look at how the bowl arcs. For the following 6 ends or so, move the marker to point along its delivery and see if you can consistently hit that mark 15-20 times in a row. (remember to practice both hands)

Please take time to view these nine coaching videos developed by Bowls New Zealand, which are the main skills required to play lawn bowls. For any newcomers to the sport, we recommend you master Lessons 2 and 4.                                                                                              

If you have anything specific that you would like to improve please contact a club coach who will try to help you.

Coaching New AGE

Roll with us. Try out a new sport today.