First things first.

The decision to embark on a new sport or hobby always comes with a certain level of initial investment in the necessary equipment and of course membership of a club where you can participate. If you are considering becoming a first time participant of Lawn Bowls then your first task is to locate your local (or nearest) club and get in touch. Some Clubs advertise Free Open Days or Weekends in the local media where you are invited to go along and have a ‘have a go’. Club members are on hand at these events and will be happy to assist and advise. But if there are no opportunities like that in your area you can always get in touch with the Secretary of a club to arrange the best time to meet some players or watch a club match.

How much?

The cost of membership varies from club to club. Some require only an annual fee, some require an additional charge on playing, while others offer pay as you play deals. Once you have decided to get actively involved in the sport it is wise to purchase your own Bowls and invest in appropriate clothing and accessories. Your Bowls will be your biggest expense here.

How to choose the right bowls.

When choosing new equipment in any sport it pays to do a little research. We have decided to offer our own two-penneth-worth on what sorts of things you should consider when choosing your Bowls. Whilst professional players will have a selection of different sets of Bowls to suit different surfaces and conditions, most amateur players will have only one, so it is imperative that you choose wisely. You must base your decision on:

Where will you be playing – Indoors, Outdoors or both?

There is a world of difference in surface conditions between the two games and eventually you may decide to invest in two sets of Bowls to maximise control, so initially try to decide which game you prefer to start with. This will be extremely helpful, though not essential, when it comes to considering the next questions.

Size and Weight: the size of a Bowl determines the weight. Men will normally have a size 3 or 4, whilst the sizes that suit most women start at 00 and go through to size 2, but with everyone’s hands being unique it pays, if you can, to try out some Bowls at your local club to get an idea of the size that’s best for you. Alternatively you can visit a Bowls retailer, handle some Bowls, practice a swing, and see how they fit into your hand. Unless you are suffering from chronic injury and pain that restricts weight bearing then you will probably benefit from using the largest and heaviest Bowl that feels comfortable to handle, as Bowling with heavier Bowls is actually easier for both Indoor and Outdoor play.

Grip: there are different grip styles for Bowls and your choice here is important. You should look for a Bowl that feels comfortable but also firm and solid in the hand – if it feels like it’s slipping when you pull your arm back then try a different grip – or size.  

Bias: this is also very important as there are all sorts of Bowls with a wide range of biases. You have wide drawing Bowls, narrow drawing Bowls and everything in between. Retailers who have experience in the Indoor and/or Outdoor game will be able to advise which Bowls do what – whether they are best suited for Indoor or Outdoor play or indeed whether they might be a steady “all rounder” if you’ve decided to play both games but don’t want to rush into buying two sets. It should be noted however there is no one model that is suits both Indoor carpet play and Outdoor Greens so an “all rounder” is a compromise. Retailers with websites such as ours, “The Bowls Shop”, include trajectory charts in the description of each model, sometimes videos, all showing the lines taken by the various models, so a bit of research beforehand might be useful. 

Top tip

If there is one overriding piece of advice it would be to try before you purchase a new set of Bowls. The best way to do this is to borrow some Bowls from a fellow Bowler and practice some rolls because, for obvious reasons, retailers might not be too keen for you take a set away, particularly to try them out on an Outdoor Rink where they may be marked. If trying them out isn’t an option then get some advice from an experienced player based on them having seen you play and being able to see how you would benefit from a particular choice. Bear in mind all players have their personal preference and their suggestion may not work for you. The good news is most Bowls retailers, including The Bowls Shop, do part exchange Bowls, so if they’re wrong there’s an opportunity to trade them in for a model that later on you think would be better for you, but try to do this as soon as possible so your Bowls have more part exchange value. Finally you can also, of course, visit your local Bowls shop where advice will be easy to find.

The Bowls Shop Lawn/Flat Green Bowls – model descriptions, trajectories and recommended play:

 

 

 

AERO Bowls

Defiance, Groove, Maxim, Profile,

Quantum, Revolution & Sonic

 

 

 

ALMARK Bowls

Arrow, Sterling Gold &

Sterling Slimline,

 

 

 

 

DRAKES PRIDE Bowls

Advantage, D-Tec, Fineline, Professional & XP

 

HENSELITE Bowls

Classic 11, Classic TRL,

Tiger 11, Tiger & Tiger Pro

 

TAYLOR Bowls

Ace, Blaze, Lazer,

Legacy SL, Lignoid,

Vector VS