Lawn bowling is a sporting game that is played on a flat green surface called a green. The game uses two different types of balls.
The main balls are called bowls. The second type of ball is called a jack, and it serves as the target ball as players try to roll their bowls across the green toward it.
Lawn bowls feature a fairly simple objective, but there’s so much more to learn about the game, including:
Lawn bowls are believed to have existed since medieval times, and they were first played in around London, where players used stone bowls, the same stone bowls used as weapons at the time.
In fact, the all-time oldest existing bowling venue still can be found at the Southampton Bowling Green in the United Kingdom.
Once King Edward III came to power in Britain, he banned lawn bowls because he thought people were spending too much time playing the game. He wanted them to spend their time practising archery instead.
For hundreds of years, the ban on lawn bowls remained in effect throughout the land. It wasn’t until the 19th century that it was lifted. Up until this point, the game was secretly played by wealthier individuals on their private properties.
Everything changed when the Scottish Bowling Association formed in 1882. Shortly after that, the Australian National Lawn Bowls Association was established.
Lawn bowls initially were introduced in Oz by British colonists, but it was never considered a formal game until the association was established. Ever since then, lawn bowls has continued to gain popularity in Australia, and the trend continues to this day.
The rules of lawn bowls are very simple to follow:
- A coin toss determines which team or player goes first.
- The first player to bowl will put down their mat. They will take the jack and roll it forward on the bowling green. It must travel a minimum of 23 metres.
- Each player will take turns trying to bowl their bowl as close as possible to the jack. The closer to the jack their bowl stops, the more points they receive.
Lawn bowl players need to practice a certain etiquette during the game. While these may not be written rules of the game, all players are expected to behave accordingly.
- When another player bowls, remain idle near the head. Do not walk on any other nearby rinks because other players may be using them.
- Compliment your opponent when they make a good play.
- Bowls should be rolled across the surface, not dropped.
- Step onto the mat with your left foot first. Once you bowl, you leave the mat from the right.
The first thing you will need to play lawn bowling is a smooth, flat playing surface. If you live in an environment that is too dry or hot, and therefore rocky, sandy or dusty, you should use an artificial surface instead.
The traditional way to create a bowling surface is to find an outside field and cut its grass very short.
The bowling green should have a length of at least 31 metres and a width of 8 metres. The ideal dimensions are 40 metres in length and 60 metres in width. It all depends on how many people you have playing.
The bowl balls should have a diameter of at least 11.5 centimetres, but they can be as large as 14 centimetres. The weight limit on a bowl is 1.5 kilograms. Bowls are made from either hard plastic or heavy wood.
It is important they are hard and durable balls.
The jack, in either yellow or white, serves as the target ball. It only weighs less than 300 grams, and it has a diameter of less than 6.5 centimetres.
Finally, bowlers need a mat to lay on the green. They step on the mat to release their bowls.
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