What is Lawn Bowls

Lawn Bowling (or bowls), is perhaps the oldest of all ball games. It was played in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome and spread to Europe by the 10th century.

The modern lawn Bowls is an outdoor game in which players roll bowls (about 125mm in diameter) over a flat surface called a lawn bowling green.

The object is to get as many bowls as possible nearest a target, a smaller ball called the jack which must be rolled a minimum of 23m.

Bowlers must stand with at least one foot on a mat placed in the centre of the rink. The front edge of the mat must be no less than 2m from the ditch.

The bowls are rolled alternately by the opposing players toward the jack that is a maximum of 64mm in diameter, and weight not more than 285g for outdoor play. (For indoor play the maximum diameter 67mm and weight 453g.)

Each bowl nearer the jack than any bowl rolled by an opponent scores a point.

Bowls are termed “dead” if they travel less than 14m from the mat, come to rest outside the rink, or go into the ditch without touching the jack.

Bowls that touch the jack on their initial roll are called touchers and they remain “live” bowls and therefore potential scorers wherever they finish including the ditch, but not when they come to rest outside of the rink.

An end is completed when all bowls have been delivered.

Matches may be played for a certain number of ends, usually 13 to 25, or until a particular points total is reached, usually 25 or 31 points in single games. Matches may be played by either individuals (singles) or by teams of two, three or four players (pairs, triples, and fours) sometimes called rinks.

The game is played mainly in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Israel, Hong Kong, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Malaysia and to some extent in the United States

Lawn bowling is also played indoors on artificial surfaces.

The green, on which the game is played, must be at least 31m long and not more than 40m long in the direction of play, surrounded by a ditch not less than 200 mm or more than 380 mm wide and the depth is between 50mm and 100mm. The green and ditch are enclosed by a sloping bank, a minimum of 230 mm above the level of the green, the face of which shall be non-injurious to bowls.

The green is divided lengthwise into rinks, not less than 4.3m or more than 5.8m wide.

Bowls and Jack

A set of four bowls must be of the same colour, diameter, and weight and the diameter shall be not more than131mm or less than 114mm and the weight shall not exceed 1.59kg. Originally, they were made of wood (lignum vitae) but now are made of a synthetic composition and are biased slightly on one side so that they roll with a curve.


In Singles – each player has four bowls
In Pairs – there are two or four bowls per player
In Triples – there are two or three bowls per player
In Fours – each player has two bowls