Lawn Bowling – Basics

The main objective in lawn bowling is to roll a biased ball and try to put the ball or place the ball as near the target as possible. Here the target is a small white ball whose shape is like a billiard ball. This ball is known as the jack or kitty. Before the match starts, the jack is rolled out on the field where the match will be played and it becomes a target for the game. Each player will roll the ball on the field and will try to place the ball as close to the jack as possible.

Lawn Bowling is basically an outdoor sport. At some places it is played in indoor venues but it is basically an outdoor sport. The outdoor surface on which the ball will be rolled is either natural grass or artificial turf. In lawn bowling, the bowls are biased and these are not round bowls as used in other sports.

So when a player rolls the bowl, it moves in a curved path. This forces the player to roll his bowl in an outward direction with an angle to reach the target which makes the game very critical because the scoring will depend on the player’s assumption and practice of rolling the ball.


The person who begins the game will roll the jack on the field in a straight line. Unlike the bowling ball, the jack’s movement path is straight line as it is unbiased. When the jack stops it becomes a target for the players. And the players while rolling the ball are allowed to hit the jack with their own bowl and can also move the jack.

So this little white ball is the center of the play. The players try to roll their bowl and place it near the target. And according to the placing the players are awarded points. A measuring tape is used to measure the distance between the ball and the jack. Sometimes the ball touches the jack and removes it from its original position.

Biasing of the Bowls

It is earlier mentioned that the balls used in Lawn Bowling are biased in nature. So, while travelling it follows a curved path. Initially to bias the rolling balls, the manufacturers used to insert weights in one side of the ball. But with the passage of time this rule has been changed and instead of putting weight in one side the biasing of the bowl is now produced entirely by the shape of the ball.

Biasing of the Bowls

Initially, by seeing the ball, one could understand which side the biasing is done but now players either have to dimple it in their hand or can observe the symbol on one side in order to determine the bias direction of the bowl. Earlier, the lawn bowls were made up of lignum vitae but it was costly. So now all these balls are made up of hard plastic composite material, which makes it cheap and highly durable. These balls were available in black or brown but now in the market these are available in various colors.

The number of teams can be three to four or more, so to differentiate between the balls, stickers are used by the teams. To indicate the biasing of the bowl, there is a circle mark on the ball and the side of the ball with a larger symbol within the circle suggests that the side is unbiased.

Types of Delivery

  • Draw − In this type of delivery, the ball is rolled to a specific location or position by trying to avoid any disturbance to the balls already in the head.

  • Forehand Draw − This is normally executed by the right-handed bowler. This delivery is called as finger peg delivery which is initially aimed to the right of the jack and when it rolls it curves towards its left. This shot is very tricky and widely used in the game.

  • Backhand Draw − This type of delivery is simply the opposite of forehand delivery. It is widely executed by the left handers. Its other name is thumb peg delivery. The same bowler can also bowl it from their right hand. Here the ball, after being rolled is curved towards the right direction, while aiming towards the left of the jack.


Whether it is a forehand or a backhand draw, the main aim behind the rolling of this ball is to get as close to the jack as possible. Lawn Bowls are also played by blind and physically handicapped people. Though they are blind or physically challenged but it has been proved by them that they are more skilful players than the normal ones.