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Getting started with lawn bowling is fairly simple especially when you begin in a welcoming environment where other players are helpful and willing to answer your questions. The following will give you a basic understanding of how the game is played. For more details on the terms and signals employed look to those sections of this Website. Additional information and a complete set of rules can be acquired from the Bowls Canada Website.

Lawn Bowling:

Lawn bowling is one of the most flexible team sports.  One of the easiest to learn well enough to enjoy yourself, lawn bowling is also demanding enough to offer a continuing challenge to learn and improve.  It is less time-consuming than activities such as golf, fishing, tennis, slow-pitch, or other summer sports.  It requires less than two hours per game on average.  One of the few sports where you can choose your level of competition lawn bowling ranges from purely social and recreational play to highly competitive games on many levels.  It offers affordable, healthy outdoor exercise and competition and is suitable for participants of all ages.

Bowls Canada Boulingrin has produced a video, which can provide an introduction to the sport. Click on this link to see the introductory video! A separate video is a starter towards technical excellence!

The Ontario Lawn Bowls Association suggests an alternate video, which serves as an introduction to the sport!

Object of the Game:

The object of the game is to roll a bowl as close to the white (sometimes yellow) jack as possible.

The Play:

First a small white ball called a “jack” is delivered down the surface of the rink and centred.  Then standing on a mat and going alternately, players deliver (roll) their bowls, the aim being to have their bowls come to a stop as close as possible to the “jack”.  The trick is that the bowls are biased, and, therefore, do not roll in a straight line, but curve toward the jack as momentum is lost.  The bowl curves either way, depending on which way it is held during delivery.

When all the bowls have been delivered, an end of play is completed and the shots for that end are counted.  One or more points are scored by the team whose bowls are closer to the jack than those of their opponents.

Lawn Bowling involves offensive and defensive strategy to play the game, and has the added challenge that the jack is movable and can be displaced anywhere on the rink by a delivered bowl.

A game consists of an agreed upon number of ends, and usually takes about two hours to play.


Teams can consist of singles, pairs, triples, or four players.  The number of bowls delivered in each of these situations is as follows.

No of Players            Number of Bowls

Singles                                    four
Pairs                                       four
Triples                                    three
Fours                                      two

Signals are exchanged between players at opposite ends of the rink informing teams about the position of bowls and the jack and suggested strategies for deliveries.

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