Lawn Bowling is a very old game that is played most of the world over. The bowling green is approximately 120 feet square. The green is marked off into 8 rinks so 8 games can be played at once. The object of the game is to roll a ball (known as a bowl) toward a small stationary ball, called a jack. The jack is located about 75 feet away from the position of the player. The object is to roll one's bowls so that they come to rest nearer to the jack than those of the opponent. This is sometimes achieved by knocking aside an opponents bowl or the jack. At the conclusion of the End, the team that has bowls nearest to the jack are counted and recorded. The game continues for several ends which is determined before the game starts. The game sounds simple, don't be deceived though, it is not.
There are many variations of the game, you can have singles games, or teams of two to four players. There is no age limit. We have men and women members.
What are Bowls ?
Bowls are designed to curve as they roll, and are referred to as having a bias. Different bowls have more or less bias depending on the manufacturer and the model.
In the diagram on the right, theredline indicates the path of a bowl with a narrow bias. It curves only a little. Thegreenline shows how much curve a bowl has with a medium or regular bias. It curves a bit more. Finally, theblue line shows the path of a bowl with a wide or full bias. It curves a lot. There are advantages to each of the curves. Those with a narrow bias are straighter and easier to roll into tight spots. Those with a wide bias can go around other bowls. The speed of the greens is also a factor in choosing a bias.
The bias is created by shaping the bowl so that one side is slightly narrower than the other (something like an egg only much more subtleShaping) is done by the manufacturer and must meet stringent standards to be acceptable for tournament play. Regulations determine the minimum bias allowed, and the range of diameters, but within these rules bowlers can and do choose bowls to suit their own preference.
Bowls were originally made from lignum vitae, a dense wood, hence the nickname woods or woodies. Today, most bowls are made of a hard plastic composite material. They are available in a variety of colors, though the most common is still black. Each bowl has a unique symbol painted on its side (all four bowls in a set have the same symbol) that allows it to be identified during play. There are several sizes, and weight of bowls to choose from.
How are Games Played ?
One of the players places a mat at one end of the rink a minimum of 6 feet from the end of the rink and centered on the 14 foot width. The player then rolls the jack to the other end of the green. Once it has come to rest, the jack is aligned with the center of the rink and the players take turns rolling their bowls towards the jack. A bowl is allowed to curve outside the boundary of the rink while moving, but must come to rest within the boundary of the rink to remain in play.
Bowls that roll into the ditch, the sandy boundary around the edge of the 120 X 120 foot green, are considered "dead" and removed from the play, unless they have touched the jack. "Touchers" are marked with chalk and remain in play (referred to as a "live" bowl) even though they are in the ditch. Similarly, a bowl that has touched the jack is still alive if it is knocked into the ditch by another player's bowl.
If the jack is hit and knocked out of the rink boundaries, the end is the "end " is considered dead and must be played over again. After player has rolled all of their bowls, the winner of the end is determined by deciding which bowl that is closest to the jack. A team gets one point for every bowl is closer to the jack than the opponent's bowls. Games usually have between 10 and 21 ends. The next end is played going the opposite direction. This sequence is repeated until the required number of ends are completed.
What are Shots ?
There are several types of shots that can be made in a game of bowls. The most basic - known as a "draw" - is also the most important. A draw shot is one that comes to rest directly next to or close to the jack. For a right-handed bowler, "forehand draw" is initially aimed to the right of the jack, and curves in to the left. The same bowler can deliver a "backhand draw" by turning the bowl over in his/her hand. This causes the bowl to curve in the opposite direction (from left to right) once it's delivered. In both cases, the bowl is rolled as close to the jack as possible, unless tactics demand otherwise.
A "drive" is made by delivering the bowl with considerable force. The goal is to hit either the jack or a specific bowl out of play. When a bowl is delivered with a lot of speed, it has very little curve and is therefore easier to aim.
An "upshot" or "yard on" shot is made by delivering the bowl with only a slight amount of extra weight or strength. It should be enough to displace the jack or disturb other bowls in the head without knocking the jack out of the rink and killing the end. The challenge in all these shots is to be able to adjust the line, length, and speed of your delivery in order to achieve a desired result. Easier said than done!
Arcadia County Park 405 S. Santa Anita Ave. Arcadia, CA. 91006