Your online guide to indoor bowls, lawn bowls and crown green.

How to Play Bowls?

It doesn’t matter what variation of bowls you play, whether its indoor carpet bowls, outdoor lawn bowls or crown green bowls, the fundamentals of how you play bowls and win the game is exactly the same. Simply get your bowls as close as physically possibile to a smaller white ball known as the “jack”.

Bowls Rules

In the UK bowls is played both indoors and outdoors, but the rules of the game remain the same. These rules include:

  1. Matches take place on a standard bowling green (or rink) which is usually a square 34-40m long which is divided into 6 playing areas.
  2. Following a coin toss the first bowler must place the mat and roll the jack to the other end of the green.
  3. The jack must travel a minimum distance of 23 metres, and must be moved across the centre of the rink after coming to a complete stop.
  4. Each player then take turns to bowl.
  5. Any bowl that reaches the ditch is subsequently removed from play.
  6. Bowls that touch the jack before reaching the ditch remain alive and in play.
  7. If the jack is knocked by a bowl into the ditch the jack remains in play unless it is knocked out of bounds. In the event the jack is knocked to the side of the rink the end is classed as dead and is replayed.

About The Game Of Bowls

Like most games, bowls offers the opportunity for players to perform the best of their potential, and provides a source of great enjoyment for each player.

It appears to be a game that can be played in a calm and quiet way, where there does not seem to be too great a physical demand made upon any participant. It seems to be measured and methodical, deliberate and disciplined, as befits a game of great skill.

But this description can be misleading because, in the heat of competitive play, players will demonstrate a wide range of emotions. The game can provide moments of great joy or deep disappointment, euphoria or despair.

Bowls demands concentration and control, courage and caution, decisiveness and a delicacy of touch. It requests true sportsmanship and an honest appreciation of an opponent’s skill, without losing belief in oneself and the determination to win. It needs strict mental application with a tight control over any negative thoughts, and the physical and emotional strength to with withstand the pressure of a 3 to 4 hour game. It demands compatibility among players as well as trust and confidence in others’ directions and decisions. Finally, it requires total involvement.

It provides comradeship, friendship and a better understanding and acceptance of others. It can teach players to lose well and win well, and to be genuine in their congratulations, regardless of whether a winner or a loser. It can offer contact over a wide age range and promote a greater acceptance of individuals of different age groups. It can offer gentle relaxation or the excitement of intense rivalry.

Of course, other sports could lay claim to such advantages, but bowls has its own particular rewards, from the enjoyment of playing as an individual to the team involvement of the rink. It is recognised as one of the fastest-growing games in Britain, and perhaps that fact is the best advertisement for what the game has to offer.