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A Beginner’s Guide to Lawn Bowls


The original Manual of Bowls Playing was published in 19th century Glasgow by cotton merchant William Wallace Mitchell. Fast forward a couple of centuries and you’ll find that lawn bowls is still very much alive and kicking!

What’s It All About?

In lawn bowls the target is clear – get your bowls as close as possible to a small white ball called the 'jack'.

Lawn bowls is played on greens measuring 38.5m x 38.5m. The green is divided into sections called rinks.

Players take it in turn to bowl and when all the bowls have been played, competitors or teams get one point for each of their bowls that is lying closer to the jack than the opponent’s closest bowl.

Singles, Pairs, Triples and Fours competitions will all feature at Glasgow 2014, as well as Para-Sport events.

Why You’ll Love It

With plots, intrigue and surprise endings – lawn bowls is a thriller, not a snooze-fest. Tactics play a huge part in the game, along with razor-sharp hand eye coordination.

Lawn bowls is also a great leveller – prepare to see age and experience go head to head with budding contenders. And with a raft of young athletes joining the sport from around the Commonwealth, there are bound to be some surprises at Glasgow 2014.

Lawn Bowls Pub Quiz Round

  • Lawn bowls has been included on every Commonwealth Games programme, with the exception of Kingston 1966.
  • England has been the most successful team at the Commonwealth Games, with 18 Gold medals to date.
  • Today the sport is played in over 40 countries with more than 50 member national authorities.
  • The home of the modern game is still Scotland, with the World Bowls offices in Edinburgh.

Lawn Bowls Lingo

  • Draw shot – a bowl that reaches the jack.
  • Shot Bowl – the bowl closest to the jack.
  • Skip – the team captain.
  • Wick – occurs when the bowl in collides with a stationary bowl, causing it to change direction.

The Glasgow XX Commonwealth Games are now over. This website is closed and for reference purposes only. Some external links may no longer work. For the latest news and information, please visit the Commonwealth Games Federation website.