Summer is upon us and it’s the perfect weather to get out with friends and try some lawn bowls, but what’s it all about and how do you play?

The basics of lawn bowls

  • Rink: area in which play takes place, usually a flat, grassed area, bounded by boundary pegs
  • Centre line: the line down the centre of the rink
  • Jack: small white ball, rolled out along the centreline, the idea is to get bowls as close as possible to it
  • Bowls: the balls used by the player, up to four each, weighted on one side causing it to curve as it rolls
  • Mat: placed on the centre line, players stand on it to bowl

The bowling action

  • Stand on the mat, feet together, knees and waist bent slightly
  • Take ball in your preferred hand (right or left)
  • Step out with your opposite foot (left or right)
  • Take a small back swing
  • Bend down and roll bowl along the ground
  • Roll it out at an angle, so the bowl curves back towards jack (see basics)
  • Avoid dropping or bouncing bowl so as not to damage green


  • Draw shot: A slow, measured, finessed bowl trying to end closest to the jack
  • Drive shot: A harder, faster bowl used to try to knock other players’ bowls away.
  • Scoring
  • The player who has their bowl or bowls closest to the jack wins
  • Points are awarded according to the number of bowls closest
  • Players judge the distance and number by eye
  • If in dispute, a measuring tape is employed
  • If still in dispute, an umpire called in to resolve


Sledging is generally frowned upon in competition and social bowls, but can still happen and become quite heated. At Warringah Bowling Club, we respect and welcome persons of all genders, races, and sexual orientations. Just remember, you will be having a post-match drink with your opponent so it’s best to remain friends!


For barefoot bowls, you can wear whatever you feel comfortable in. As long as you are either in barefoot, or you have completely flat shoes. No heels or boots are allowed on the greens. In the summer, make sure you slip, slap, slop!

In game refreshments

Glass is not allowed on the greens or around the greens. You do not want to stand on broken glass with bare feet. We can give you plastic glasses (we have plastic wine glasses and champagne flutes too!) and you can certainly enjoy this on the green.

Have more questions?

Please contact the Bowling President at, or simply come in and ask.


Warringah Bowling Team abides by the conditions of play as outlined by Bowls NSW.