Bowls Basics

What is Bowls?

Lawn Bowls is a strategic, sociable and fun sport, played on a large square of grass called a ‘green.’ The green is divided into playing sections, known as ‘rinks.’ Players deliver their bowls from a rubber or plastic mat which is placed on the green. Bowls are not perfectly round and are designed this way so that they travel along a curved path rather than in a straight line. The curve that the bowl takes is referred to as a ‘bias.’ The aim of the game is to roll your bowls closer to the ‘jack’ which is a small white or yellow ball that is the target for the game. Bowls can be played as an individual or part of a team, with formats of:
singles (1 v 1), pairs (2 v 2), triples (3 v 3) or fours (4 v 4).

Who can play?

Bowls is the sport for all! Lawn Bowls is a low impact sport that is extremely accessible and inclusive to all ages and abilities. It’s a game that can be played by the whole family, across generations and it’s inexpensive when compared with many other sports. Anyone can have a go at Bowls, no matter what their skill level is, and many clubs will have the equipment required to try the sport for the first time, just turn up in a pair of flat shoes!

Why bowls?

There are many benefits to playing lawn bowls, it can improve both your physical and mental health. You can play to any level you are comfortable with as most clubs offer both friendly ‘hat nights’ alongside their competitions. Bowls gets you outside, keeps you active and is brilliant for socialising, but don’t just take our word for it –

“It gets you, it’s addictive, it’s more difficult than you think but it’s so enjoyable… It’s a sport that can be played at all levels by all ages at all abilities and it’s fun!”

“It’s such a lovely mix of people from all walks of life, there’s no snobbery in bowls, it’s just lovely.”

“Give it a go, the first thing you will do is make friends and have a good laugh and banter.”

The thing I really like about my club is the number of women involved at all levels and the inclusive atmosphere from the members seen from rink night through to competitions

Find your local club…

With 821 friendly clubs affiliated to Bowls Scotland, from Shetland to Stranraer there is sure to be a club near you. Simply enter your postcode in our Club Finder Map to find your nearest club then get in touch and have a go!

Try Bowls

Over 250 Bowls Scotland clubs are registered as Try Bowls Clubs. Try Bowls Clubs are committed to opening their doors to their local community, they often hold open days, offer equipment to borrow and run coaching sessions for new members. Try Bowls Clubs are marked on our Club Finder Map with a purple pin, find out more about Try Bowls here.

More than just bowls…

The lawn bowls season typically runs from April to September. But many clubs offer social events, functions and activities year-round. Bowling clubs are often a hub at the heart of their community providing platforms to improve both physical and mental health.

Our club story with Abbeyview BC gives an example of the clubhouse being shared with a local dementia-friendly charity, Sporting Memories.

Bowls Mark

BowlsMark is our club accreditation scheme which provides a recognised operating standard for our affiliated bowling clubs. BowlsMark clubs follow practices to ensure they are safe, inclusive and follow good practice, ensuring sustainability for the future of our sport.
The three levels of BowlsMark clubs are marked with Gold, Silver and Bronze pins on our Club Finder Map.

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