Learn how to play lawn bowls

Learning Lawn Bowls will change your life

learn to play lawn bowls

Bowls is a sport that anyone can enjoy and participate in.  It’s a game that doesn’t care about someone’s age; there are no age restrictions or limitations at all.   In fact, whereas many years ago, only senior players were seen on the greens, lawn bowls is now becoming increasingly popular in schools.   Bowls is also a game in which people with varying levels of ability limitations can compete openly against players with no limitations.   Lawn bowls is just an incredibly rare and wonderful sport is this regard.

It is entirely up to you how you learn.   If you want to get some coaching before starting to play socially and then competitively, that’s fine; most clubs have a list of available coaches.   Another way to learn, and one that I believe is more enjoyable, is to begin learning during your first social game.   You will discover that players enjoy teaching new players the game, whether they are on your team or the opposing team.   People you meet will want you to improve your skills and will look forward to playing a more serious and competitive game against you one day.

Once you’ve learned the basic rules, tips, and tricks, as well as how to avoid the dreaded ‘wrong bias,’ which occurs when your bowl curves in the opposite direction, you’re ready to play socially.   Please keep in mind that every bowler puts down a wrong bias at some point in their career; it’s a rite of passage, and you always remember your first wrong bias.   

Playing Lawn Bowls is for everyone and has an amazing history.

Lawn bowls has a fascinating history that dates back thousands of years.    It’s a game that the Egyptians used to play with stones shaped into biased balls.   Although lawn bowls was once primarily played by people who were nearing or had recently retired, the situation has changed dramatically in recent years.   There is a lot of money to be won on the more serious and competitive side of the game, and the biggest events will have prise pools in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  

Many young people play lawn bowls as a full-time job.  In fact, mid 2023, the highest ranked male and female players in Australia are in their 30s.  Elite level lawn bowlers will play this great game all over the world and make a very good living doing so.

The social bowls events are all about getting together with a mixture of like-minded as well as people that might be completely different to you.   It’s all about getting to know each other and have some great fun competing against each other.    Because of the very diverse age group that now plays lawn bowls, you’ll make new friends and build connections at all sorts of ages.   It can be very handy to be nice to any plumbers, electricians or carpenters you meet playing bowls.   Not so much about getting a bowler discount but if you do ever have an urgent matter and they have given you their card or contact details, there is a good chance they might prioritise coming to you home and sorting out your problem.


The work socialising should not be underestimated either.  For instance, if you are a tradesperson and have recently moved to a new town and don’t know anybody, playing lawns bowls is a good way for people to learn all about you and what you do.

Double check with your doctor that you will be ok to play lawn bowls.

warm up and cool down stretching with lawn bowls

If you do have one or more medical conditions, it might be a good idea to book an appointment with your doctor before you start playing.   It’s worth just having that peace of mind that your doctor is completely ok with you doing this.

Your doctor might offer some warm up and cool down stretches you should do before and after playing.

I think it always pays off to take up the option of getting some coaching from the club when you first start.  No just to develop skills and technique but also on how to play game the best way based on your body, mobility and strength etc.

Your coach will give you all sorts of tips on how to equip yourself your kit based on your budget.   They will be able to help work out the correct size bowl for you.

Bowling on a regular basis will increase your energy levels as well as the muscles in your legs due to all of the walking and stretching.  Bowling can help you lose weight, improve your core strength, and tone your muscles.   Bowling has a number of positive effects on mental health and overall well-being, particularly among older players. Lawn bowls is a great way to break up your routine, leave your problems at home, get some fresh air, and boost your spirits.   Always be sure to drink water before, during and after playing bowls to avoid dehydration.

Getting started with playing lawn bowls.

getting started with playing lawns bowls

Lawn bowls is a great way to spend a half-day to nearly a full day in some cases.   There’s plenty of walking involved, you’ll meet lots of people and if you become involved with the completion side of things, you’ll do a fair bit of travel and meet more and more people.    It’s sometimes a little expensive to get started, there’s the cost of the bowls, bowls bag, clothing & shoes and a few extra bits and pieces.   It could easily cost $1,000 or more sometimes but if you ask around at a club, there’s occasionally people selling all their gear for a bargain price.   You can even be very lucky sometimes when some bowlers might be giving up the game, they might be happy to let go of their kit very cheaply.  

There’s normally a notice board in each club and people selling their gear will put up a flyer on there.   You could also put up a flyer on their notice board stating that you are looking for a bowls set and clothing, shoes etc, put your sizes and your phone number and you could have some luck that way.

You can get lucky with garage sales too but I would recommend taking someone with you that either plays bowls or used to play as they will offer good advice reduce your risk of buying the wrong things. 

You will need the right size and weight of bowl for your hand, typically, you’ll do well with the largest bowl that you can comfortable fit in your hand but ask around at your local bowling club, there will be plenty of people there to offer advice.

You’ll also need to ask what type of ‘draw’ the bowl is, this is to do with the bias weight of the bowl.   My first set of Henselite heavies were my grandfather’s bowls and I would need to push them out into the next rink to get them to draw back into a spot somewhere near the kitty.   To put that into perspective, a lawn bowls green is divided up into rinks and each rink is between 4.3 to 5.8m wide.  These bowls would then make what’s called a ‘J’ draw and come in behind other bowls, it was actually amazing to do and to watch but not the type of bowl any person these days would like to put up with. 

Most players these days prefer what’s called a skinny draw or a skinny bowl, where you don’t need to push the bowl out too wide and are a lot easier to learn with.  If you can get a good cheap set of Drakes Pride or Taylor Ace or the newer of the Henselite bowls you’ll be in good stead.

Lawn bowls is fun and you will be amazed at just how skilful in this sport you can become over time. It can be great for you mental health, if you’ve recently lost your partner and are feeling a little alone and a bit down on occasion, consider giving lawn bowls a try.   You’ll end up with more friends than you could have ever possibly imagined and you’ll have to start writing everyone’s name down if you’re anything like me in order to try and remember them all.

 I recommend starting off with social bowls, most clubs normally have at least one social bowls event each week and you don’t need special bowls clothes or shoes and you can often use bowls that the club either lends out to people or you can hire just for the day.

Players are typically very friendly, they can get a little competitive at times but that’s only for when you’re playing, after the game, most people and their personalities are back in friendly mode.   If you have troubles bending down etc there are special gadgets for picking up bowls and even for the action of bowling you can buy so that you don’t need to bend down at any time.

Playing Lawn Bowls at Retirement Villages.

If you are thinking about moving into a retirement village, it is worth checking to see if they have their own lawn bowls green.

It can also be advantageous if they have a green that is covered by a roof.  For starters, the roof will protect you from the sun’s harsh rays, but it will also allow you to play lawn bowls all year round, regardless of the weather.

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[…] 9.    # Various Indulgences # – This could be for playing lawn bowls? […]


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